MSA vice presidential candidates discuss platforms on KCOU
All three vice presidential candidates are in favor of the proposed library fee.
Oct. 21, 2015
KCOU and The Maneater’s radio show The Student Voice hosted the three Missouri Students Association vice presidential candidates Oct. 21 to discuss their platforms.
Chris Hanner, Heather Parrie and Jonathan Segers sat down with co-hosts Jack Herrick of The Maneater staff and Kasey Carlson of the KCOU staff to discuss three main topics: the MSA budget, the role of the vice president and the proposed library fee.
Hanner is the running mate of Haden Gomez, Parrie is the running mate of Syed Ejaz and Segers is the running mate of Jordan McFarland.
A large part of the vice presidential duties includes working with and balancing the $1.65 million MSA budget, which comes entirely from student fees.
Hanner, who has served on the Budget Committee, said MSA is unaffected by the 2 percent cut in general operating fees that is currently affecting nearly every other department. The only thing that can affect the budget is if the Student Fee Review Committee would choose to cut the budget or if enrollment dropped.
Parrie said if she were faced with having to cut the budget, she would work with everyone involved in the budget process to find waste. Hanner said he would start by looking at organizations that could not sustain themselves as easily as others could.
Hanner said that if he could change something about the budgetary process, down the road, he would like to see a move away from the vice president handling the budget and instead create a treasurer position.
“Not many student governments around the nation do it in this fashion,” Hanner said. “With a treasurer position, you depoliticize the position a little bit (by making it a cabinet-appointed position) … and you could even work it out to where the treasurer would serve as the head of the budget committee as well.”
Segers said he thinks the outgoing administration should set the budget for the year so the vice president does not get “bogged down and overwhelmed with the first part of the term.” Hanner, however, said it would be unrealistic to change the budget time because the budget deadlines are set by entities outside of MSA.
The vice president’s role
Other than balancing the budget and making appointments to the Chancellor’s Standing Committees, the vice president doesn’t have any other defined duties. Despite having few explicit duties, the candidates plan to keep busy.
“I really would like to work more with our Senate,” Hanner said. “It is so hard to see executive members of MSA and our legislative cabinet. If we can start doing that, you’re going to see the communication between our two branches go up exponentially.”
Segers wishes to do more hands-on work with MSA auxiliaries.
“Going to the Craft Studio and making a pot, actually talking to a STRIPES member about what they do,” Segers said. “Actually going on an Alternative Break. Actually being the boots on the ground.”
In addition, Segers and McFarland’s platform calls for revamping MSA by changing the name to Student Government Association and holding elections in April instead of November. The outgoing administration would either have to have a four-month term or a 16-month term because of the change of election time. Segers said he thinks a special election should be held that allows students to decide whether a new administration steps in after four months.
Hanner said that while he does not advocate for changing the election time, he agrees that it would make more sense for the election to be in April because most Southeastern Conference schools have their elections in the spring.
The candidates also wish to play a role in making the Chancellor’s Standing Committees more transparent and holding them accountable.
“I think these committees are a really good idea in theory,” Parrie said. “But I think that there’s not a lot of transparency in them, and the student voice I think is so soft in those committees. Certain committees will have two students to 10 faculty members. How is that a representation of the student body? It’s not.”
Segers said that many committees rarely meet or sometimes not at all. He discussed the possibility of live streaming committee meetings to make the committees more transparent. Hanner said he would require committees to report to the vice president with the times they meet to make them more accountable.
All three candidates favor the proposed library fee of $5 per credit hour for the first year with a $2 annual increase over five years. The proposed fee would be used to renovate the libraries.
“Our library is in desperate need of renovations to keep us competitive with the SEC, the AAU, other schools in Missouri, and as far as I know this is the only place where the money is going to come from,” Parrie said.
Hanner said that there is a strong correlation between a university’s library and its ranking in the Association of American Universities, a group of 62 elite research universities. As of 2014, MU was ranked 32 out of 34 public schools in the AAU, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.
MU recently launched a $1.3 billion campaign called “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead,” but the candidates believe the money raised for the campaign will never reach the library.
“All the money that is generated through this campaign, it’s going to go to (renovating other) buildings first,” Hanner said. “We can never see it for the library and that’s coming from some top administration … I really do think (the library fee) is the library’s last resort, and it’s on us to save the library at this point.”
At 4 p.m. Oct. 28, Herrick and Carlson will host the presidential candidates on The Student Voice. Listeners can tune in online or on the radio at 88.1 FM.