SSFC lacks college diversity

CEHD and CSE have minimal representation in this year’s Student Services Fees Committee.

by Samantha Alisankus

University of Minnesota student government seeks a Student Services Fees Committee that’s representative of the student body to better distribute students’ money to groups and organizations.

But it doesn’t always work out.

This year, the SSFC includes minimal representation from two of the University’s largest colleges. Administration said members are chosen based on a number of factors, but one goal is selecting students to represent the demographic of the University.

The SSFC — which includes 15 voting and eight alternate members — is in charge of distributing student services fees to student groups and administrative units. For 2012-13, the SSFC allocated nearly $29 million to almost 90 student groups and University organizations.

This year, selectors from the Minnesota Student Association and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly chose the 23 members of the SSFC from more than 60 applicants.

The colleges with the highest enrollment at the University are the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Science and Engineering, according to the Office of Institutional Research.

This year, the SSFC includes nine representatives from CLA, none from CEHD and one representative from CSE.

“I can’t explain why that happened,” said Megan Sweet, the committee’s advisor. “We’ve had representatives from those colleges in the past.”

 Moses Chea, the Minnesota International Student Association treasurer, said the current makeup of the committee doesn’t concern him, but it could be improved.

“It might be better to have more diversity,” Chea said. “The committee should represent the diversity of the school.”

Overall, the SSFC has representation from seven of the University’s 17 colleges.

Chea said he believes it’s important for the committee to be diverse because a member’s viewpoints and affiliations can affect how they analyze each organization and assess its value.

It’s important to choose committee members that are reflective of the student population, since all eligible students pay the student services fee, Sweet said.

“We definitely take into account the overall composition of the committee,” she said.

Sweet pointed out that this year’s SSFC includes representatives from all undergraduate classes, graduate and professional students, transfer students and nontraditional students.

“I think it’s a pretty representative group,” she said.