Cents and sensibility

The Student Fees Committee and GAPSA must come to a compromise.

Last week, The Minnesota Daily published two letters to the editor about the Student Services Fees CommitteeâÄôs (SSFC) decision to deny funds to the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly (GAPSA) and three other groups because those organizations turned in late applications. The SSFCâÄôs letter said none of the student groups deserved a single dollar for next school year. GAPSAâÄôs response asked for a complete circumventing of the rules based on the organizationâÄôs importance to the student body. Neither sought middle ground or a reasonable compromise. First, the integrity of the SSFCâÄôs deadline must remain intact. But a landlord does not force a resident to move out if rent is three days late (as GAPSAâÄôs application was). A professor does not fail a student for a late paper. There is a penalty, but it matches the offense: a lowered grade or a late fee. The SSFC has a right to penalize late applications, but the penalty should be reasonable, not a refusal of all funds. Taking away a small percentage of funds for GAPSA and others is reasonable; eliminating all funds for turning in an application late is not. Second, GAPSA is a body of student government and crucial to the University. It is also, as GAPSAâÄôs letter states, âÄúa funding superstructure.âÄù Denying all funds for GAPSA is harmful to students and, frankly, ridiculous. University of Minnesota students need the SSFC and GAPSA to work out this issue in a reasonable manner that both retains the integrity of the SSFCâÄôs application deadline and maintains GAPSAâÄôs ability to function on behalf of students. An explicit and transparent appeals process also needs to be established to avoid problems like this in the future.