U groups upset over less funds

MSA’s suggested cut would get rid of the “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” concert.

Elizabeth Cook

The Student Service Fees Committee recommends to give money, cut money and deny money altogether.

With a more than $900,000 increase in funding from last year, four student groups might not see any money and two could see a drastic decrease in funding, while all but one administrative unit – The Minnesota Daily – might get the entire amount requested.

The recommendations for the 32 student groups and nine adminsitrative units could change in March before they are sent to Jerry Rinehart, the vice provost for student affairs, said Scott Johnson, the committee chair for the student group portion of the Student Service Fees Committee.

A final decision won’t be reached until June when the Board of Regents makes its decision.

The administrative unit requests, which are more than $22.9 million this year, are typically approved because they are professional-based funding, said Eric Butz, the committee chair for the administrative portion of the Student Service Fees Committee.

“They have better institutional knowledge,” he said.

Last week, two public hearings were held for groups to air their grievances and give thanks for the recommendations.

Minnesota Student Association members are up in arms about the suggested $31,539 decrease in funding from this school year.

This kind of cut would take away the “Lend a Hand, Hear the Band” concert and the MSA Express van service, said MSA President Max Page.

This was the first year MSA became more ambitious about playing a part in the roles of students’ lives, Page said.

“When we’re actually trying to do something, they cut us,” he said.

Johnson said the committee didn’t feel MSA’s projects were well-justified in terms of what students are getting for their money.

The safety terms of the screening process for MSA Express drivers wasn’t clearly laid out in their request, he said.

Also, when it came to the concert, the committee didn’t think students should have to work to hear a band they technically already paid for.

“If students are paying through student service fees, it doesn’t really seem fair to demand hours of volunteering if they’ve already paid,” he said.

And since there’s a limited number of students able to attend, it’s not open to everyone paying the student service fee.

The event is open to approximately 4,500 students, Page said, but that shouldn’t determine funding since no student group would be able to host an event for every student to attend.

The student group Clarion also voiced concerns about being denied any funding during the hearings.

This was the first time the group, which focuses on the health care profession, had asked for money, said Tracy Hanson the coordinating chair for Clarion.

The committee said the group was “fiscally irresponsible” because they requested $13,000 for food.

This is because many high-class members of the health care community come to talk at venues, and they don’t want to eat pizza, Hanson said.

There was also a mistake in their initial request and it looked like they were asking for $21,000 for an administrative fellow, who had nothing to do with their budget, she said.

Clarion was also accused of only focusing on the Academic Health Center community, while fees are expected to benefit the entire University community.

Hanson disagreed and cited numerous region-based groups that focus on a small campus community.

“We don’t have to be everything to everyone,” she said.

The Entrepreneurship Club, Premier Dance Team, Undergraduate Women in Business and Council of College Boards all were denied initial recommendations.

Other groups were cut during the initial recommendations because of errors in accounting or a failure to show how many students attended events, Johnson said.

The African Student Association was recommended $5,407, which is $8,593 less than requested.

Sammie Senyana, a finance and economics junior, said without the funding the African Student Association will either need to cut more programs or seek outside financial help since it needs $5,000 for its yearly event, African Night.

“We’ll be less visible on campus,” she said.

The Minnesota Daily requested $550,000 and received an initial recommendation of $525,000.