Funding proposals released

by Raiza Beltran

The student services fees subcommittees released their budget recommendations Wednesday, reducing the total fees budget $300,000 from last year and leaving the Minnesota Student Association with only 5 percent of their 1999-2000 budget.
Although most of the fees-receiving groups noticed little change from their previous fees allocations, the $16.8 million budget left three student groups searching for more funding.
Refusing to comment on the actual subcommittee recommendations or rationale, committee chairman Jesse Berglund said the recommendations for 28 student groups are not final.
“There’s always a possibility that this will change,” said Berglund, a College of Liberal Arts junior. “Public forum generally alters recommendations.”
There are three public hearings scheduled for groups to dispute the recommendations: March 1 at 3 p.m. in 313 Murphy Hall; March 2 at 11 a.m. in the Northstar Ballroom in the St. Paul Student Center; and March 3 at 10:10 a.m. in 10 Blegen Hall.
The three groups uncertain about their future are Crisis Point, Habitat for Humanity and the Minnesota Student Association.
Among the many surprises in the 38-page recommendation was MSA’s 95 percent funding reduction.
Dropping funding from $112,200 to $10,000, the fees subcommittee members wrote, “there is almost enough cash on hand to cover (MSA’s) entire budget for a year at their current level of activity.”
“It was a complete surprise,” said MSA president Ben Bowman. “I think it’s unacceptable, especially after the great efforts MSA has done for students. (The recommendation) is irresponsible.”
Bowman said he will appear before the fees committee in the public hearings to convince committee members to re-evaluate.
Crisis Point: Theatre of Danger and Opportunity is an all-student theatre collective. The fees subcommittee did not provide any funding for the group.
“I was in shock,” said Crisis member Megan Sanborn, a University graduate student. “It’s highly unfortunate to be singled out. We try hard to serve the campus.”
Sanborn said the committee might have misunderstood their financial report, and members will attend public hearings to explain.
In their recommendations, the subcommittee gave praise to the strong financial position of Crisis Point. “Crisis Point’s total reserves on hand is roughly equivalent to the amount of student fees they are requesting for the coming academic year,” subcommittee members wrote in their rationale.
Sanborn, however, argued the reserve money will be used for the remainder of the academic year, leaving Crisis Point unable to operate next year.
The fees subcommittee also refused funding to Habitat for Humanity, claiming the group did not embody “student service.” Habitat for Humanity, a student group that creates affordable housing, requested more than $52,000 in student fees.
“We do soup kitchens, volunteer work which follows under any fees- receiving groups,” said Habitat for Humanity treasurer Regina Kaus.
Student services fees subcommittee recommendations are available to the public in the Campus Involvement Center.
Raiza Beltran covers student government and welcomes comments at [email protected].