University graduate assembly select fees committee members

by K.C. Howard

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly met Monday night to discuss the selection committee’s slate for the Student Services Fees Committee and to approve the group’s 2001-02 fees request.
The 13 proposed fees committee members were selected for their ability to be impartial, regardless of personal bias and for their ability to uphold viewpoint neutrality.
Last spring’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling stated mandatory fees systems are constitutional if distributed on a viewpoint neutral basis.
Students sued the University of Wisconsin, arguing tht the institution abridged their First Amendment rights by forcing them to support student groups with ideologies they opposed.
This year, the selection process of the fees committee reflected students’ concerns by focusing on applicants’ ability to render impartial judgements.
“This year there are a larger than usual number of applicants who have a conflict of interest,” said Patrick Penderson, GAPSA representative for the selection committee.
However, all the applicants proved during the interview process that they were more than able to remain unbiased despite their involvement in other fees-accepting organizations, Penderson said.
The Minnesota Student Association will vote to approve the selection committee’s 13 prospects tomorrow afternoon in the Law Building.
Despite GAPSA’s attempt to create an unbiased fees committee, the selection process will not rectify all the complaints against the Student Services Fees Committee.
This coming year, GAPSA will request a $22,897 increase in funding, according to the GAPSA Financial Summary, but will probably receive the same amount that the fees committee has delegated to them for the last five years.
“We won’t get our extra funding,” said Paul Enever, who is on the GAPSA Student Senate Consultative Committee, adding that there are mathematical inaccuracies in the ways which the fees committee allocates money to student groups.
GAPSA has been requesting an increase in funding for the past two years to keep up with inflation rates but has been consistently denied.
“We had a surplus for the last couple of years, but now the surplus is gone,” said Benjamin E. Solomon, president of GAPSA.