Examining feasibility of MSA initiatives
The Maneater talked with the offices MSA candidates would have to work with to accomplish their goals.
Nov. 04, 2015
The Missouri Students Association presidential candidates listed the following as their top five concrete actions they would take if elected.
Top Five Initiatives
Provide education and awareness to all students in regards to the increase of their supplemental fees. We do this by making the myZou enrollment process more transparent in a way that shows every fee that is associated with every class.
Begin regular discussions and forums that include the LGBTQ Resource Center, Women’s Center, Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, Multicultural Center and the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center to allow students who have not been exposed to individuals holding marginalized identities to begin engaging in difficult conversations from which they can grow.
Select a coordinator within the Department of Student Services to begin implementation of our International Student Involvement Program. This program will match international students with students at this campus currently involved in programs they would like to learn more about.
Work closely with the Office of Disability Services to ensure our campus is accessible for students who may have any disability. This would be done by promoting and implementing a new accessibility policy that would include but would not be limited to the requirement of all university websites to be screen-reader friendly, requiring professors to use microphones in all large lecture style classrooms, and ensure all Department of Student Activities events are accessible to all students.
Collaborate with Campus Dining Services to give Tiger Pantry the ability to distribute individual dining hall swipes as well as the ability for students to donate usable swipes within dining halls during the biannual Swipes event by the Social Justice Committee.
Institute and work to implement mandatory Green Dot, Safe Space and Diversity Peer Education training for all MSA elected and paid officials, and encourage the same of the other Joint Session governments, and begin to work with ORG for the same.
Expand the Department of Communications and begin working immediately on the establishment of the Lean On initiative, with an action plan on place and social media strategy ready to be adhered to.
Working with Senate leadership, begin working on moving presidential elections to April.
Entrench transparency legislation in the bylaws for the Student Activity Fee breakdown and for the vice president meeting with Budget Committee during the budget process.
Begin preliminary meetings with the Joint Session governments to have the Joint Session Reform passed in the Spring 2016 Joint Session.
Meet with the Department of Residential Life, the RSVP Center, and the Vice Chancellor of Operations Gary Ward to discuss the implementation of a required Green Dot training for freshmen entering dorm life the next academic year.
Meet with the mayor to discuss the role of the student body in increasing the amount of affordable and convenient student housing.
Sit down with the Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council to determine how MSA can help encourage allyship in the Greek community.
Meet with Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin to discuss the campus climate as it pertains to race relations. This includes a critique of the new, required diversity training and a dialogue on where the university has dropped the ball.
Evaluate the MU Counseling Center and begin lobbying the university administration to expand counseling services.
Feasibility of initiatives
The Maneater talked to the offices candidates would have to work with to accomplish their goals.
Campus Dining Services
CDS Marketing Manager Michael Wuest said the price of dining on campus is decided by the UM System Board of Curators and the vice chancellor based on the Consumer Price Index, current inflation and other data. He said that they don’t know yet if there is an opportunity to lower the price, but it is difficult as seen by the rising of inflation.
Wuest said a program for donating swipes is impossible and that students can already swipe in whoever they want.
Wuest said CDS is planning to have one food truck on campus but there is no timetable for it yet. Wuest mentioned that they haven’t decided yet what type of cuisine the food truck will have but that they wanted to have a kitchen that gave space to any culinary option.
Wuest said no slate had talked to CDS about their ideas as of Oct. 28.
Director of Greek Life Janna Basler said each Greek chapter has to compete a “standards of excellence” program called The Foundation, which includes a section on risk reduction. Chapters must then choose between alcohol, drug abuse, hazing or sexual assault categories for education.
Basler also said the idea of creating a Diversity Peer Educators curriculum tailored to Greek Life is up to the individual chapters.
Basler said a now-defunct Greek recycling organization called “Greeks Going Green” was once set up but lacked full commitment.
Basler said no slate had approached them to talk about their proposals yet.
Counseling Center Director David Wallace did not comment on the specifics of campaign platforms, but said the center is currently working to expand services.
“We realize that our service capacity has been stretched this fall beyond the norm because students are in need, and we will do the best we possibly can to help them,” Wallace said in an email. “We currently have vacant professional staff positions, now being covered by temporary staff appointments, for which we will be recruiting and hiring this winter and spring to join us in the summer of 2016. We are placing a special emphasis on diversity in our recruiting efforts.”
Wallace also said the center is working with Student Health and Behavioral Health and the counseling centers on the other three UM System campuses to propose needs to the Board of Curators.
“We will continue to work closely with our campus administration, our campus partners and our students in providing the best services possible,” he said.
MU spokesman Christian Basi said he cannot speculate on election proposals, but administrators are always willing to work with student leadership to improve communication and transparency.
He said administrators have plans for the future including hiring a vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity, requiring diversity training for individuals responsible for hiring, conducting a campus climate survey related to race issues, and reviewing the multicultural certificate requirements. Faculty Council is also working with students to create a diversity course requirement.
“Our students and their parents, our faculty and staff, our alumni and community neighbors, and our visitors all deserve a safe, secure and inclusive campus environment MU has an obligation to each of our students in their individual pursuit of their own personal excellence to provide an environment that is supportive, rich in opportunity and safe,” Basi said.
The mayor’s office, LGBTQ Resource Center, Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, and Disability Center did not respond to requests for comment.
Taylor Blatchford and George Roberson contributed to this report.