In quest for fees funding, groups appeal SSFC final recommendations

At least seven groups submitted appeals Wednesday.

by Jenna Wilcox

University of Minnesota groups and administrative units had a week to decide whether or not to appeal the Student Services Fees Committee’s final recommendations.

Appeals were due by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Annie Chen, the appeals committee chair, said five appeals were submitted to her on time. Two other appeals were also emailed to her that appeared to be late, but Chen said she wasn’t sure if one was confirmed late.

Groups appealing were also instructed to submit them to SSFC adviser Megan Sweet, who didn’t know whether she had received any appeals.

Late appeals will be reviewed at the committee’s discretion. Groups and administrative units can also file written appeals to Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart by April 16.

Between the student groups committee and the administrative units committee, members spent about 18 hours deliberating and deciding how much money to allocate to the different groups on campus.

Some student groups that initially had their funding cut, including the Black Student Union, La Raza Student Cultural Center, MinnesoTap and the Ayn Rand Study Group, were recommended partial increases from the initial recommendations.

Stephanie Hornung, president of MinnesoTap, said the group was excited and grateful for the increase but still frustrated it wasn’t granted its full request.

Initially the group was recommended $7,775 — a nearly $56,000 cut from its original request — but after final deliberations, the fees committee decided to increase funding to $15,425.

Hornung said their request was so large because the group is trying to find a new practice space.

Three groups that were originally recommended no financial support saw their funding increase after they provided additional justification for some of their spending.

Kyle Kroll, chair of the student groups committee, said the most common reason the committee recommended more money was because groups more clearly stated the reasons for funding.

The SSFC recommended the Fraternity Purchasing Association receive $11,367 in student fees money, as well as $6,310 for the Interfraternity Council and $2,656 for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

It was the opposite for 11 student groups — including both student government groups — who found their funding decreased after the final recommendations.

Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow saw an additional $4,923 cut from the initial recommendations after the committee gave its application a second look. The group originally requested $199,125 but was only recommended $85,483.

Out of the 64 applications, Kroll said the committee spent the longest on CFACT’s because it was a large request that was made up of a lot of smaller points.

After the deliberations ended, there were only two groups recommended no funding at all.

Men’s Club Basketball and STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition requested $5,000 and $400, respectively, but neither group will get any funding next year.

Kroll said the committee had a hard time deciding what to do with Men’s Club Basketball’s application but couldn’t justify distributing student fees to the club because they aren’t open to all students — members must try out.

Club President Troy Beckman said the group will have to continue supporting themselves as they have done for the past two years. He said each player gives about $300 of their own money in order to sustain the club.

Kroll said the committee is stringent throughout the fees process because they have a responsibility to students.

“Students don’t want to keep paying more and more each year, and the committee understands that,” he said.

Administrative units

The two administrative units that were allocated less funding than requested filed appeals.

Administrative units are larger fees receiving units that include the Learning Abroad Center, the Minnesota Daily, Radio K, Northrop Concerts and Lectures –– which provides summer programming — the Student Conflict Resolution Center and Boynton Health Service.

Jacob Piekarski, president of the Minnesota Daily, said he filed an appeal Wednesday. The committee recommended a $250,000 budget sweep of the Daily’s fees request.

The Minnesota Daily covers the Daily’s fees request as a part of covering the entire fees process. Piekarski has no control over editorial content.

While Piekarski said he hopes for a reduction in the budget sweep, the appeal isn’t just a response to that recommendation.

“We would like to have our take on what happened heard, and hopefully that will persuade the appeals committee that there is merit to our argument,” he said.

Piekarski said the Daily’s appeal brought up concerns about the fees committee changing the original presentation date twice and the final deliberation time with only a 48-hour notice, among other things.

Cari Hatcher, director of marketing and publicity for Northrop, said the organization also filed an appeal.

The committee stayed with its original recommendation of $56,000 for Northrop programming for next year and $0 for 2014. The organization originally requested $75,000 for both years because some administrative units apply for a two-year period.

Rebecca Doepke, the administrative units committee chair, said the committee didn’t grant the full amount because there wasn’t strong evidence to suggest that enough students were actually attending the events.

Hatcher said the cut to funding will interfere with the program’s goals to book better-known artists and move toward year-round programming.