One-vote majority decided many groups’ fees funding

by Jens Krogstad

One vote decided nearly half of the fees committee’s final recommendations, according to its report.

Of the 35 student groups that applied for fees, a single vote decided the funding recommendations for 14 of them.

The close votes are a large increase over last year’s committee recommendations, when a single vote decided one group’s funding.

A number of initial cuts were overturned, some of which student groups fees committee chairman Lindsay Brown criticized.

Brown specifically questioned the committee’s decisions to increase funding for two child-care centers and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.

“The fees committee recommended $2 million more than last year,” Brown said. “That rate is unsustainable.”

The committee’s majority rationale for funding the Community Child Care Center and Como Community Child Care stated that each organization provides programs that include all students and provides a valuable service to the University.

GAPSA received a recommendation of $450,000 after an initial $312,000 recommendation.

The committee voted 6-4 with one abstention, and the majority wrote the increase will help establish a travel grants program.

Two groups that received no money were decided on a 6-5 vote.

The committee cut The Wake student magazine from $59,850 to $0.

The majority rationale described The Wake’s performance as “too poor to justify another year of funding.”

It said the magazine failed to meet its mission to “create a site of community, creativity and discourse on campus” because it did not cover cultural and student events on campus.

The minority rationale stated The Wake should not receive its full funding request of $120,000, but deserves to be funded at current levels.

The committee also recommended $0 for the Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars after the group received $10,000 last year.

The majority reasoned because the group is a “nationality group,” it should fall under the umbrella of the Minnesota International Student Association.

Minnesota International Student Association President Sulieman Nader said the friendship association, which requested $12,000, will not receive the funding it needs because of the cut.

“We have $20,000 in culture grants, and that is for 15-plus groups. You do the math,” he said.

The committee significantly cut the Disabled Student Cultural Center’s funding recommendation with a 6-5 vote and one abstention. Brown cast the additional vote.

The majority rationale questioned the $11,000 in reserves the group amassed. It called the group’s decision to employ their executive members as student staff “unethical.”