U overrules GAPSA, leaves fees panel one member too full

The student organizations committee now has 10 members instead of the usual nine.

by Jens Krogstad

The University reinstated sophomore Mark Annis to the Student Services Fees Committee last month, overturning a decision by the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly executive committee to remove him.

GAPSA’s decision allowed junior Fahad Siddiqui, a fees committee alternate, to replace Annis.

However, when the University decided to keep Annis, it also allowed Siddiqui to remain on the committee. This left the student organizations committee with 10 members instead of the usual nine.

Fees committee adviser Aaron Asmundson said the additional member will not affect the fees committee process. The committee chairman, Lindsay Brown, will vote to break any ties. Asmundson said committee members will sometimes abstain from voting, which results in fewer than nine votes.

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

Asmundson said the decision to reinstate Annis was made because GAPSA’s vote had become controversial and could have obstructed the fees process.

“There was some concern that there wasn’t a reason given for (Annis’) removal,” he said.

Asmundson said GAPSA voted to remove Annis to get Siddiqui on the committee. The decision to remove Annis was essentially a random one, which GAPSA confirmed.

“They just wanted somebody off so Fahad would be on,” Asmundson said.

GAPSA President Todd Powell would not specify why the organization wanted Siddiqui over Annis.

An e-mail from student affairs director June Nobbe to Annis – co-chairman of the Campus Republicans – acknowledged that he felt he was removed because of his political viewpoints and that GAPSA denied this charge.

She also wrote that “this is a dispute the University cannot and need not resolve.”

Powell said the move was made after speaking with the University and that their decision was not forcibly overturned.

“The president’s office felt strongly about it, and we acquiesced to that,” he said.

Siddiqui is the Minnesota Student Association’s representative to the Twin Cities Student Union Board of Governors and has fees committee experience.

The fees committee chose its leaders and subcommittee leaders by a majority vote. It appointed Annis as one of the chairmen for the subcommittee that will hear GAPSA’s fees request.

The chairmen and women are: Lindsay Brown, chairman of the student organization committee; Sarah Reed, chairwoman of the administrative units committee; Mesut Akdere, subcommittee chairman of the student organization committee; and Annis, subcommittee chairman of the student organization committee.

The fees committee is split into two parts. The administrative committee handles larger organizations such as Boynton Health Service and has four members. The student organizations committee allocates money to student groups and now has 10 members.

The current format for the fees committee was adopted last year, and it was unclear if a situation such as Annis’ had precedent. Nobbe is out of town and unavailable for comment this week.