MSA fails again to designate new fees members

MSA must select members by the end of November.

by Cali Owings

For the third forum in a row, the Minnesota Student Association did not make a decision regarding the members of the 2010-11 Student Services Fees Committee.
After a joint meeting with the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, Forum Speaker Lauren Quick interpreted MSAâÄôs by-laws to determine that MSA and GAPSA were independent and could remove two members from the proposed slate independently.
After a formal inquiry from MSA representatives, the executive board reviewed the decisions of the speaker. It was determined that MSA has the right to review and approve the original slate, but will respect any removals made by GAPSA, Quick said.
The executive board decision was then presented before forum to be approved, but too few representatives were present to vote.
MSA has to take action regarding the fees committee before the last Tuesday in November, Quick said. However, there is not a scheduled forum before then.
Several representatives proposed an emergency forum for next Tuesday. MSA bylaws require 15 signatures to call an emergency forum.
The members of the committee will not lose valuable training time due to MSAâÄôs deliberations. Megan Sweet, adviser to GAPSA, MSA and the SSFC, said training of the slated committee members begins Wednesday.
The 2010-11 fees committee will operate under the new guidelines established by Vice Provost Jerry Rinehart after the process was reviewed this summer.
In a letter sent Oct. 29 to the Student Services Fees Review Committee, Rinehart outlined which committee recommendations will be implemented.
The review committee suggested student groups submit parts of their application before the final application deadline. However, Rinehart said that process would require too much additional staff support. Instead, student groups sign a letter indicating they understand the deadline for the application.
Additionally, student group leaders who have attended the mandatory information sessions required for all student service fees requests will receive two e-mail reminders before the deadline.
Student groups that receive final recommendations that are lower than their requested amount will have an opportunity to meet with the committee and hear the justification for the decision.
The new fees process also creates an appeals committee that will give student groups who submit a late or incomplete application a chance to have their requests heard.
Rinehart upheld the committeeâÄôs recommendation to remove rules regarding reserves and staff compensation. Previously, student groups were not allowed to put more than 10 percent of their budget toward reserve funds or more than 30 percent of their fees allocation toward staff compensation. Since these rules are now eliminated, student groups will have to justify how much they pay their staff and keep in reserves.
Rinehart proposed the fees process be reviewed every five years. In summer 2011 a task force will review new resolutions established by the Fees Committee and make recommendations to the vice provost about which resolutions should be kept for future years.