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Morris Students Speak Up on Behalf of the U of M

Posted by Jenna Ray on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

Students from the University of Minnesota, Morris are playing a major role in system-wide legislative efforts. At both the 2013 University of Minnesota Legislative Briefing and the Support the U Day Rally, Morris students demonstrated outstanding leadership efforts while advocating for a proposed two-year tuition freeze for resident undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota.

On Wednesday, January 23, Morris Campus Student Association (MCSA) President Dillon McBrady '13, Maple Lake, and Elizabeth Pappenfus '14, Farmington, demonstrated legislative advocacy at the 2013 U of M Legislative Briefing. McBrady and Pappenfus helped University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler illustrate the important role that state funding plays in supporting undergraduate education at the University. Noting their individual achievements and ambitious educational goals, President Kaler cited both students as examples of why funding education is "the right thing to do" and why "education is the pathway to prosperity" in his briefing speech.

On Thursday, February 7, approximately 60 Morris students joined University of Minnesota Regents and President Kaler at the State Capitol for the annual student-organized Support the U Day. There, hundreds of students from the five campuses urged legislators to support a proposed two-year tuition freeze for resident undergraduates. According to Zac Van Cleve ’13, Saint Paul, the aim of the rally was to "remind our legislature that funding the University of Minnesota is central not only to our individual success, but also to the success of our state as a whole."

One of the Morris students in attendance, Andrew Sletten ’14, Fergus Falls, reported to Jenna Ross of the Star Tribune how he hopes that by telling "a simple story about how in debt we are, how terrified we are about finding a job," students will inspire lawmakers to increase state funding for the University. "If any of that can stick here," he added, "I feel it's worthwhile."

The proposed tuition freeze is part of the University’s biennial budget request, which also commits the University to save $28 million in operating costs and meet performance and accountability measures. The request also provides $18 million in recurring funding to establish the Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) fund. Additional information is available online.