Early fees recommendations slash funding

Northrop, GAPSA and other groups saw recommendations far below their requests.

by Blair Emerson

The Student Services Fees Committee released its initial funding recommendations for 2014-15, suggesting that University of Minnesota student groups receive only about two-thirds of the funds they requested.

Dozens of student groups requested a total of about $3.37 million from the fees committee, but they allocated only about $2.055 million. Northrop Concerts and Lectures, which will provide programming when the auditorium reopens this spring, was recommended only about 31 percent of its $480,000 fees request.

The student services fees process allocates funding to University student groups and campus organizations. Two separate committees — one for student groups and one for administrative units — decide how funding is allocated.

Student groups committee Chair Benjamin Beutel said few student groups were recommended to receive their full fees request, but he added that the situation was similar last year.

Some groups’ requests didn’t say how they would use their requested fees funding, he said, so the committee didn’t recommend they receive it.

The student groups committee also cut many organizations’ requests for officer stipend funding, Beutel said, which was also an issue between groups and the committee last year.

Northrop had one of the biggest disparities between recommended and requested fees funding. The group originally requested about $480,600 but was allocated $150,600.

Administrative units committee Chair Tyler Ebert said that because the renovated auditorium won’t open until spring, the committee couldn’t validate the entire request without proof that it would use fees funding in a way that would be beneficial to students.

Despite the cuts, Northrop Director Christine Tschida said she’s confident Northrop will be able to function as planned when it opens in April.

Tschida said she’s disappointed the committee didn’t see Northrop’s full potential, noting that Northrop has already engaged students through events leading up to the auditorium’s opening.

“We’ve been very creative in showing all the different ways that Northop can be a part of student life without even having the building available,” Tschida said.

She said Northrop leaders plan to appeal their funding recommendation at public hearings Friday and have asked the Board of Regents to review their funding recommendation.

The fees committee said in its funding rationales that Northrop should reallocate its funding from events with little student impact to fund the programming for which it requested student services fees.

Student government

The Graduate and Professional Student Association was recommended to receive about 45 percent of its $392,115 request. The Council of Graduate Students, which split from GAPSA in the fall semester, was recommended nearly $106,000 of its $121,280 request.

The Minnesota Student Association, the undergraduate student government, was recommended about 90 percent of its nearly $178,000 request.

Other administrative units

On the administrative units side of the fees committee, many groups were recommended to receive all or most of their requests.

Boynton Health Service received nearly all of its nearly $8.7 million request.

“Boynton is in a good position. They are doing a very good job in light of their recently expanded mental health department,” Ebert said.

The Student Unions and Activities office was recommended the entirety of its roughly $5.5 million operational budget request.

The Minnesota Daily was recommended to receive $383,529 of its $505,000 fees request.

The committee said in its rationales that it was concerned the Daily’s return rate — the number of newspapers left on stands each day — was too high.