Power and the MSSA at MNSU

Should a handful of MSSA senators have the power to undermine the MSU Reporter? Should they be able to base that power on insinuation and the arrogant misinterpretation of facts?

These and a several other questions have been brought to light by this year’s MSSA budget process.

Many of you fellow students have been sucked into the controversy over the eight Gold Passes held by the Reporter. What you haven’t been told is why these passes are not only needed, but one of the most cost-effective and efficient elements of the Reporter’s budget.

There are seven students who work as ad-reps for the Reporter. Together they bring $236,000-plus into the Reporter’s budget. This amounts to approximately $29,500 dollars each. In any real-world setting, this would be considered far more than enough reason to justify the cost of the use of a Gold Pass parking permit.

Instead SAC, and a group of our Senators, have decided this is an unreasonable cost, and that these student workers should have to walk back and forth from the free parking lot instead. Let’s play with the math a bit here to help you all understand what this means.

Assuming these students only have two classes, one morning and one afternoon, this would amount to four 20-minute walks each day, 80 minutes total out of approximately 6 hours of available work time. Realistically, this suggestion undermines their time available by just short of 25 percent. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is also going to decrease the number of clients they can connect with and the amount of money they can raise by the same factor. In real numbers, by attacking this expenditure of just over $1,000, the SAF and the Senate can effectively undermine nearly $80,000 worth of funding from the Reporter. This is an unacceptable micro-management of legitimate business decisions by underqualified individuals based on petty and selfish concerns blown totally out of context.

To further build its case, SAC and this clique of senators looked at the left-over papers in the Reporter paper racks. They again made an incorrect value assumption of wastefulness based on belief rather than fact. This is an issue that concerns the Reporter as well, but previous cuts by SAC and the student senate have created this problem by reducing staff that could have effectively taken this issue on. Now, instead of student labor dealing with this issue, it has had to be written into a contract with the printer, effectively cutting one student employee. This contract now calls for random counts in all boxes once per month, instead of the weekly counts that should be being done. The result will be decisions being made based on incomplete data because this is, financially, the only option available.

Adding further insult to injury was the environmental concern over the recycling of unused issues of the Reporter. This rhetorical attack was based on the “we have to save trees” argument. The fact is that the Reporter is printed on recycled paper; no trees are killed to produce the newspapers, another responsible choice the Reporter has been carelessly attacked over.

These unfounded attacks upon this school’s free press by a few misguided, politically-active Senators brings up the question of the intelligence behind allowing this micro-managing of a student training business by totally unqualified students who are apparently either too lazy to do investigative research or are intentionally attempting to kill the MNSU journalism program, via killing the Reporter. Changes need to be made in the way MSSA evaluates the Reporter, and other student organizations, before these continuing attacks finally do kill one of our college’s greatest icons.

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