Fees are a public affair

The OSA shouldn’t receive student service fees money without oversight.

by Daily Editorial Board

The Office of Student Affairs received nearly $100,000 in student service fees money in 2010 without going to either fees committee to request the funding or justify its uses. Now the chairwoman of the fees committee has asked for more oversight. Such a move would be prudent: It is unacceptable that student fees money is being spent with such little public awareness.

OSA is not the only University of Minnesota department to use student service fees to fund its operations and capital investments. But other units request their funding and have their budgets and spending habits scrutinized by a fees committee. This year, among others, Boynton Health Service requested and was recommended to receive almost $8.3 million in student fees; the Aurora Center, $481,297 over two years; Recreational Sports, $8.5 million; Student Unions and Activities, more than $10 million over two years.

The Administrative Unit Student Fees committee also reviewed the budget of a handful of other University departments that receive fees, including the Student Conflict Resolution Center and the Learning Abroad Center. There is no reason OSA deserves less oversight than these other units.

WhatâÄôs more, should OSA be required to request its fees, it has very little to fear. Over the past five years, it is exceedingly rare for the fees committee to recommend dramatically less than full fees funding for University-affiliated bodies.

Simply put, every student group or University unit that uses student service fees funds should justify it publically. It is nothing but arrogance for OSA to suggest they should continue to skirt the fees process.