Some fees should be optional

Students shouldn’t have to fund organizations that aren’t working on campus-related issues.

In April, Vice Provost for student Affairs Jerry Rinehart voted to no longer give students the option to fund Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow. Because of his decision, instead of being able to check yes or no, students will be forced to pay the groups fees, adding $6.45 to the current $324.10 mandatory student services fee. While this doesn’t add up to much, there are plenty of reasons why the two groups’ fees were made optional in the first place that continue to be relevant.

The mandatory student fees that are chosen by the Student Services Fees Committee each year go towards student groups that are active primarily on campus, are essential to maintaining extracurricular options for our diverse student population and are beneficial to developing the student body in general. The Student Services Fees Committee chooses mandatory fee amounts for things like Boynton Health Services, Radio K, the Learning Abroad Center, University Student Legal Service and various cultural student groups, among others.

Because of a decline in funding caused by students choosing not to fund MPIRG and CFACT upon registering for enrollment, Rinehart assigned a student committee the responsibility to decide whether or not the fees should become mandatory. However, while Rinehart appears to have initiated a committee with good intentions of serving the student public, he ignored their recommendation to continue to allow students to choose whether or not they wanted to fund MPIRG and CFACT.

As the committee suggested, students should not be forced to fund organizations that aren’t going to work directly on campus-related issues but will be working on a larger, national activist agenda, paying staff salaries with much of the funding. With the continual increase in the cost of education it is irresponsible for the University to continue to enforce a low-standard fees process, tacking more and more onto student accounts.