Explicit fix for SSFC

Authority over student fees inevitably falls into administrative hands.

ItâÄôs hard to imagine that the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Student Services Fees Committee has ever been this interesting. In early February, GAPSA was informed it would not receive funding because of its late application. GAPSA President Kristi Kremers feels that âÄúa formal appeals process [for procedural disagreements] would be a huge step in the right direction.âÄù Kremers is right. On Friday, Sean Niemic, then chair of the administrative unit half of the SSFC was, according to SSFC Advisor Erich Martin, âÄúexpelled.âÄù Niemic disagrees, citing the committeeâÄôs failure to adhere to operating guidelines. Asked if an appeals process would alleviate some of the problems which have arisen, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart said, âÄúIâÄôm not sure.âÄù The Office of Student Affairs, which Martin explains âÄúoversees the fees process,âÄù had to take action to legitimize NiemicâÄôs expulsion. Rinehart explains that his office sought expertise from the Office of General Counsel to ensure that a key rule âÄúinterpretation Erich Martin had made was the correct interpretation.âÄù The vice provost may also invoke his authority over SSFC if GAPSA is not funded, although Rinehart says heâÄôs âÄúgoing to wait and see how the process plays out.âÄù While smooth SSFC operations are crucial, itâÄôs unfortunate that Rinehart and MartinâÄôs authority is so necessary in a process meant to allow students to allocate their own fee money. Undergraduate President Paul Strain feels that parts of the process âÄúleave too much room for authoritative administrative power.âÄù Kremers made a similar statement: âÄústudents really arenâÄôt in charge of the process.âÄù More explicit guidelines, especially regarding appeals, could allow the elected student leaders to guide themselves.