Student-fees group ceases association with Republicans

Raiza Beltran

Beginning next semester, members of Students Against Fees Excess will no longer associate with the College Republicans.
The 12-member student group works to promote fiscal responsibility among campus organizations receiving fees. Five members have been elected to the Student Services Fees Committee, a group responsible for determining student-group funding.
“There was a strong sentiment among members that the College Republicans had too much control over the organization,” wrote Matt Hoelscher, a newly elected SAFE officer, in a Dec. 3 e-mail message.
Mike Miller, a College Republicans member and Minnesota Student Association senator, resigned as SAFE president two weeks ago. He now serves as treasurer.
Miller said he stepped down because he was too busy, but other SAFE members said the decision followed concerns that his College Republican ties would be harmful to their cause.
Currently, fewer than half of SAFE members belong to the College Republicans. Previously, conservatives dominated the organization.
The cultural centers and student groups criticized the fees-committee slate, arguing SAFE members held too many spots on the committee. A motion to rescind the Nov. 16 vote approving the slate failed Nov. 30.
“We want to move away from partisan rhetoric,” said Tim Lee, the new SAFE president and fees-committee alternate. “We still have some Republican members, but we have made it clear that we will not tolerate strong-arm tactics.”
College Republicans Chairman Mike Franklin said SAFE should continue to advocate the student body’s best interest, not the best interest of the campus groups receiving funding from student services fees.
In January, SAFE plans to campaign against the excessive student- fees spending and lobby at fees-committee hearings.
“We want to demonstrate that there is a student group out there for lowering students’ fees,” Lee said. “I am most definitely not a Republican, and we are now planning a recruitment drive to attract new members from diverse backgrounds who share our goals.”

Raiza Beltran welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3221.