Student fees panels to be finalized today

Each February and March, the committee allocates about $18 million in student fees to campus clubs and services.

Jens Krogstad

This school year’s student fees committee will become final today after the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly decides whether to reject any appointees.

Student Services Fees Committee selectors chose the 13-member committee, along with seven alternates, last week. GAPSA and the Minnesota Student Association each have authority to remove up to two fees committee members.

In February and March, the committee decides how to allocate about $18 million in student fees for next year.

MSA’s Forum discussed the committee at its meeting Tuesday and did not remove anyone. A motion to remove junior Lindsay Brown because of anti-homosexuality remarks he made in an Oct. 10 opinions piece printed in The Minnesota Daily failed to win support.

Student Activities Office fees adviser Aaron Asmundson said selectors were told to emphasize diversity when forming the committee.

According to committee members’ applications, the appointed students are involved in a variety of University organizations.

Some are involved in non-mandatory-fees-receiving groups such as Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow and the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group. Some are involved in politically active groups, such as MSA, GAPSA, College Republicans and Students for Family Values. Other groups with members on the tentative committee include the Black Student Union, Twin Cities Student Union, Disabled Student Cultural Center and marching band.

Asmundson said any students who are members of fees-receiving groups will abstain from the decision-making process for those groups.

The applications asked students to demonstrate knowledge of “viewpoint neutrality,” one’s ability to ignore a group’s political or religious affiliation when allocating fees.

The term “viewpoint neutrality” comes from a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court case, University of Wisconsin Board of Regents v. Southworth, where the high court ruled that a university can collect student fees even if some students disagree with the viewpoints of the groups money is given to.

Committee member Amanda Hutchings is an executive board member of MSA and College Republicans, as well as vice president of Students for Family Values.

She said she will not vote if other committee members do not feel comfortable with her doing so, though she will remain active in any discussions about the group.

“I wouldn’t look at ideology. I would look at their impact and involvement at the University and their budget,” she said.

The committee is split into two parts. The administrative committee handles larger organizations such as Boynton Health Service. The student organizations committee allocates money to student groups.