Student group funding is biased

Conservative and Christian groups are doubling or tripling their funding.

by Andrew Heairet - University student

After reading the initial fees recommendations for student group funding published in the Feb. 28 Minnesota Daily, I am deeply concerned about the âÄúviewpoint neutralityâÄù of this yearâÄôs Student Services Fees Committee. While IâÄôm sure any reductions in funding for individual groups were âÄújustified,âÄù itâÄôs impossible to ignore that certain patterns emerge amongst the groups that will receive a lot of our money.
Most notably, the committee recommended that Students for a Conservative Voice receive almost triple their previous yearâÄôs funding (and a staggering 740 percent of what they received two years ago).
Another example is Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, a âÄúnonpartisanâÄù student group that has attempted to finance campus speeches by Michele Bachmann and Karl Rove (and, according to the Daily, wishes to spend more than $100,000 to bring George W. Bush to campus next year). The committee recommended that it too receive almost three times the funding it received last year. ThatâÄôs $282,450 for one student group!
Campus Crusades for Christ did well, about doubling last yearâÄôs funding. Compare these values to the overall student fee increase of 9.4 percent and the fact that many student groups that requested fees received nothing.
While it is possible that representatives from these well-endowed groups were able to justify how this additional spending would benefit the entire campus, it is the responsibility of the fees committee to justify these allotments.
Unfortunately, students are only able to voice their concerns about the process at two public hearings (both within four days of publication of initial recommendations). I urge students to ask our fees committee to justify its allocations at the final hearing at 4 p.m., today, in Coffman UnionâÄôs PresidentâÄôs Room.