Some disappointed by initial fee recommendations

The recommended fees varied by student group.

Initial recommendations for Student Service Fees left some organizations disgruntled about funding discrepancies after they were publicly announced Monday. While the African Student Association is content with being initially approved for $10,000, other large student groups, like the American Indian Student Cultural Center , are outraged about being approved for $12,500. The AISCC didnâÄôt receive funding for this academic school year due to application errors , and was only recommended for half of the $25,000 it requested for the 2009-2010 year. Larissa Littlewolf , an AISCC office employee and general member, was furious when she heard about the fee recommendations. Littlewolf said it was unfair that other organizations, such as the Black Student Union and Al-Madinah Cultural Cultural Center , were approved for almost five times what the AISCC was recommended for. BSU and Al-Madinah representatives both said they were satisfied with their recommendations in previous interviews with the Daily. âÄúWhat led me to being kind of pissed off about it was the stadium situation, where American Indian reservations donated so much money to the stadium,âÄù Littlewolf said. âÄúItâÄôs ridiculous âÄî the University can accept all this money, but doesnâÄôt do anything for the Native American community.âÄù The donation Littlewolf referred to was the $10 million donation from Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota for a plaza entrance at TCF Bank Stadium. In addition to the stadium donation, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota donated $2.5 million in scholarship money, which gives preference to Native American students. Hillel: the Jewish Student Center President Samantha Bass also said she was disappointed in the fees recommendations, calling it a âÄúbig shocker.âÄù Hillel normally gets close to the full amount it requests, Bass said, but Hillel requested $31,250 for next year and has been initially approved for a distant $3,400. Bass said Hillel believes there was a misunderstanding on the part of the fees committee, that it looked at HillelâÄôs national budget âÄî used to pay for buildings and staff âÄî rather than its service fees budget, which is used to fund programs on campus. âÄúTheyâÄôre separate budgets, and itâÄôs always been this way, and itâÄôs never been a problem in the past. For whatever reason, this committee did not understand that,âÄù Bass said. Emily Chen, chairwoman of the fees committee, said funding cuts to organizations like Hillel are due to events being too exclusive instead of benefiting the whole campus, as well as having carry-over funds. Chen said one the most important parts of the application process is the individual group meetings where the groups are allowed to explain their application and answer any questions. âÄúThe goal of our organization is to be fair to all the student groups,âÄù Chen said. âÄúWe have a neutral viewpoint in our decision process.âÄù Ahmed El-Mawas , president of the Middle Eastern Student Association, said it is frustrating trying to rely on grants to fund its programs when Student Service Fees donâÄôt come through or cover all costs. MESA requested $5,600 for next year, but was only approved for $2,500, the same amount it received this year. âÄúWeâÄôve been on this campus for four years, and every year our events keep getting bigger and bigger,âÄù El-Mawas said. âÄúEspecially this year, our number of attendance [at events] has risen exponentially.âÄù El-Mawas said he believes the group isnâÄôt getting the full amount requested since itâÄôs still a young group. Student Union and Activities Coordinator Erich Martin said all the groups were given a handbook and a detailed outline of the fees application procedure, and are encouraged to address their concerns at the hearings. Any discrepancies are to be discussed there, he said. The optional hearings will be at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday at Coffman Union, which AISCC, Hillel and MESA all plan on attending or sending representatives to. Final recommendations will be announced March 23.