Committee faculty want new process

Raiza Beltran

With each issue, the three faculty members on the Student Services Fees Committee raised their cards to vote. Although recorded, their votes did not count to the final tallies because they did not have voting rights.
After deciding the final funds recommendation, the fees committee might have to redo its budget process if University officials find the faculty members were inappropriately barred from voting.
“There’s no other way to interpret it,” said Tim Brennan, one of the faculty members. “The leadership in the fees committee was trying to prevent us from being part of the process.”
In a Feb. 25 e-mail to committee chairman Jesse Berglund, Jane Canney, associate vice president for student development, said University officials will review the professors’ voting rights after the committee makes its final recommendations.
“At that time, if administration decides that faculty were improperly denied the opportunity to vote, it will send the package back to the committee for another vote,” Canney said.
Professors Brennan, Rose Brewer and Jennifer Pierce, who were officially appointed to the committee Feb. 3, were made nonvoting members by Berglund for having missed the initial budget presentations, which started Jan. 31.
The three faculty members said they were excluded for a purpose.
“There has been a concerted effort by conservative students, particularly members of SAFE, to defund student groups requesting fees,” Brennan said. “They caught wind of the fact that faculty would be involved, and they didn’t want it.”
Berglund denied the charges, stating he was not informed of the newly appointed faculty members until a week after the budget presentations started on Jan. 31.
“This is a process that strictly adheres to the sound logical argument that people appointed late would hinder their ability to judge the fees-requesting group by the same criteria as other student members of the committee,” Berglund said.
However, Brennan said the fees committee knew as early as Jan. 3, and the professors could have joined the process from the start as members-elect.
“I wasn’t told of anything until Feb. 17,” Pierce said. “By that point in time, I had a teaching schedule and student meetings. We weren’t included in the scheduling process.”
Fees-committee members said they appreciated the professors’ contribution in the process but denied wrongdoing.
“I agree that there’s a breakdown in communication in the process,” said member Jared Christiansen. “If I thought there was a deliberate intention to deny faculty, then I wouldn’t have joined the process at all.”

Raiza Beltran covers student life and student government and welcomes comments at [email protected]