MSA Senate concludes 53rd year, urges student inclusion in college fee changes

Resolution 53-48 proposes the creation of an oversight committee that will gauge student feedback on fees implemented by MU colleges.

The Missouri Students Association Senate unanimously passed Resolution 53-48 to urge the UM System Board of Curators to include more student voice when changing student fees in MU colleges.

Hallie Thompson, the new president of the Graduate Professional Council, said Resolution 1314-06, a similar resolution, was passed in the GPC General Assembly Tuesday night, which proposed the creation of a committee that would be charged with oversight of fee implementation by MU colleges.

The proposed committee would also be responsible for hosting open forums to obtain student input on fees, which Thompson said was lacking in the past.

“The winning point of this resolution is that it would connect student governments to those mechanisms for increase in fees,” she said.

MSA’s counterpart resolution also claimed the College of Arts and Science recently assessed a $25 per credit hour fee, and said “student fees ought not to be used as substitutes for tuition increases.”

Senate also unanimously passed a new Board of Elections Commissioners handbook, which provides guidelines and restrictions in MSA’s presidential elections.

The new handbook seeks to deregulate parts of the election, such as the use of MSA auxiliaries — an issue that sparked controversy during the 2013 MSA presidential election.

BEC Chairman Derek Chung said he hopes the changes will boost competition and participation in the election.

Other legislations passed by the MSA Senate include Bill 53-36, which would create a travel budget for MSA/GPC auxiliaries. For some time, auxiliaries had to file a Contingency and Reserve request for trips.

Bill 53-47 and 53-51 were passed as the final C&R requests for travel funds.

The former, passed with two votes in opposition, would allocate $3,710 for the SEC Exchange trip for MSA’s executive cabinet and members of Senate.

The later, passed unanimously, would allocate $1,500 to Student Legal Services, for Steve Concannon to attend the Continuing Legal Education Conference, which he is required to attend every year.

Bill 53-43, which passed with one abstaining vote, was to remove a requirement for new committee chairs in the Department of Student Activities to have been a member of the department for at least one semester.

Senate also unanimously passed Resolution 53-45 to show support for the construction of rain gardens throughout Columbia.

Bill 53-31, a legislation to amend Senate rules, however, was tabled after only four votes were cast to discuss the bill.

Senate confirmed two executive cabinet members, both with unanimous support.

Sophomore Matt McKeown will replace sophomore Myles Artis as Chief of Staff. Prior to his new position, McKeown worked with Department of Student Services on projects such as Hey Day.

As chief of staff, he said he would like to help improve safety around campus.

“Safe driving, especially, is something I am passionate about and something that needs to get more attention on this campus,” McKeown said. “Luckily with STRIPES, we have a great program that helped cut down on people drinking and driving, but there are still many other forms of dangerous driving that we could work on.”

McKeown said he would also like to improve the communication between MSA and various campus organizations, as well as other schools in the Southeastern Conference.

Freshman Haden Gomez, who had previously served as MSA President Mason Schara’s deputy chief of staff, will replace sophomore Gunnar Johanson as the Director of Student Communications.

Gomez said while he would like to continue his predecessor’s focus on marketing and social media to reach out to students, he is also planning to improve MSA’s website.

“Right now, (the website) has a lot of lingo that incoming freshmen or people not in the association may not be able to understand,” he said. “I’m working to make it more simplified, so that if people want to get more information or get more involved with MSA, they know exactly where to go and exactly what we are talking about at all times.”

To celebrate Senate’s 53rd session, Senate Speaker Ben Bolin presented awards to distinguished members of the organization.

Four seniors — former Campus and Community Relations Committee chairwoman Alyssa Noce, former Budget Committee chairwoman Shelby Catalano, former Associated Students of the University of Missouri president Ben Levin, and senator Abbye Torgerson — were awarded the Outgoing Seniors Award for the time they have spent in the organization.

Senate Clerk Josh Boehm was awarded the Most Outstanding New Senator Award. Boehm replaced junior Jacob McKinley as the clerk earlier in the spring semester.

The Most Outstanding Senator Award was given to Catalano, who is currently serving as the Student Fee Review Committee chairwoman.

28 senators were present at the Wednesday session.

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