Panel funds child-care centers

The committee granted the centers’ funding requests but slashed fees for other groups.

by Jens Krogstad

After a week of sometimes raucous public hearings, the Student Services Fees Committee reversed some of its funding recommendations but stood firm on its decisions to cut others.

Two child care centers gained full funding, and the committee boosted its funding recommendations for the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the Black Student Union and Al-Madinah Cultural Center.

But some groups could not avoid the committee’s chopping block: The Wake student newspaper, the Queer Student Cultural Center and the Disability Student Cultural Center each received partial or full funding cuts.

The committee’s rationales and vote counts will be released today. With the changes in funding, it is likely that many of the funding decisions hinged on one or two votes.

That was the case with Como Community Child Care and Community Child Care Center, which received no fees money under the initial recommendations.

The fees committee not only restored last year’s funding to the two centers, it also granted them an increase.

Fees adviser Aaron Asmundson said any changes in funding decisions were probably a response to public hearings and not administrative pressures.

Como Community Child Care Director Jill Madsen said her group received money because one member decided to vote for them instead of abstaining.

“We’re obviously very excited we got full funding,” she said. “I really applaud the six committee members who saw the value in our organization.”

The Wake absorbed the hardest hit. The committee recommended no money to the group after it received $60,000 in fees last year.

The cut puts doubt on the newspaper’s future, but co-publisher James DeLong said the group is not done fighting and will attend the remaining public hearing.

“We realize it’s not the end, but it’s close,” he said. “It was a big blow.”

The Disability Student Cultural Center nearly received no fees money and was cut from $30,000 to $6,000.

The Queer Student Cultural Center also received a significant cut. It will receive a little more than half of what it they received in fees money last year.

After the group’s decision was announced March 12 during final deliberations, one of the center’s supporters ran out of the room crying loudly.

For the center, the cut casts doubt on the future of Alison Blomster, their executive director. The group might not have money to pay her, group officials said.

Fees-seeking groups have one last chance to voice their opinions on the committee’s recommendations.

Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart will preside over a final public hearing Thursday and has the power to modify fees recommendations before they head to the University Board of Regents for final approval in May or June.