MSA approves new committee amid protests

Tracy Ellingson

Five of last year’s members returned to the student services fees committee, despite protests from several Minnesota Student Association representatives at the organization’s forum Tuesday at Coffman Memorial Union.
The committee, which has 13 members, will start working on a proposal on how students’ fees should be dispersed to campus organizations.
MSA members accepted the entire slate of appointees with a 28-12 vote, with six members abstaining, after a half-hour of debate and questions to the three-member selection committee that nominated the fees committee members.
MSA representative and new fees committee member Bill Gilles expressed concern over the returning fees committee members. Gilles said that MSA’s selection might send a message to the regents that students do not mind increases in tuition because five returning members voted to raise student service fees last year. Last year the fees committee voted to increase fees to allocate more money to student organizations.
“The only conclusion here is that fees are going to go up, folks. That’s the only conclusion you can draw from this committee,” Gilles said.
Last year both tuition and student services fees increased at similar rates. However, MSA President Helen Phin said the two events were unrelated and the increase of one will not create a raise in the other.
“The fees went up because the fees committee last year felt that the increases were justified,” Phin said, “because the organizations that asked for money were doing good work, they were providing a service to campus and they needed the money to continue to do their good work.”
MSA Senator Shamez Babvani objected to the slate because he said he applied for a position on the committee and did not have a chance to interview.
In addition, Babvani, who is the General College senator, said he did not feel as though he was fairly represented by the chosen committee.
“Looking at the committee, I don’t feel represented, I really don’t, because there is nobody up there who is tied in with my interests,” he said.
Selection committee members and MSA administrative officer Karin Alexander said they accounted for every application they received from the Student Involvement Office, if they were handed in on time.
Academic Affairs committee chairman Corey Donovan said no individual on the committee is going to perfectly represent every student.
“I think when you get down to specifics, you can’t say a committee can exactly represent you, but you can say that it best represents students,” Donovan said. “I see this as a good committee that’s going to work hard to do the best thing for students because they best represent students.”