Initial recs: largest fee hike in recent years

Despite an overall increase, eight groups were recommended $0.

Cody Nelson

 

If the initial student service fees committee recommendations stick, University of Minnesota students could see one of the largest year-over-year fees increases in recent years in 2013-14.

Each semester, each student would pay nearly $430, a proposed increase of about $37 over 2012-13, according to the initial recommendations the Student Services Fees Committee released Monday.

Despite the overall increase, eight groups that previously received student services fees were denied funding for 2013-14.

Boynton Health Service also requested more than $380,000 for expanded mental health services in FY2014. The SSFC recommended funding about $290,000 to fund four of six requested staff positions and remove the current co-pay and advised Boynton to absorb the cost of the other two positions.

One of the largest funding decreases was recommended for Campus Crusade for Christ, which was recommended to receive none of its nearly $24,000 request. In 2012-13, the group received almost $26,000.

“The committee feels that CRU has not been responsible with its financial obligation in record keeping,” the SSFC said in its initial recommendation rationales.

The SSFC initially planned to give the group a 25 percent penalty, but further unresolved errors caused it to recommend no fees funding.

There will be hearings for student groups to address the SSFC on Tuesday and Wednesday and for administrative groups on Thursday.

Groups may also file appeals, which are due on March 29.

Final fees recommendations will be released on April 2.

The Ayn Rand Study Group, which received $12,100 from the SSFC last year, also was recommended to get none of its requested $32,700.

Vincent Brinker, an officer for the group, said he believes there has been a change to “promote more liberal groups on campus” in recent years.

“Groups that are conservative by nature or are not favorable by liberal ideals or socialist ideals are usually kind of hit hard,” he said. “I think the Ayn Rand group was one of those.”

But in its rationale, the SSFC said it believes the group can continue its programming with its projected budget carryover from last year.

The committee also said the group didn’t address several payment support issues, which resulted in the recommended elimination of SSFC funding.

Brinker said the group uses its funding for events, speakers, technology and other materials.

Several other student groups, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Amnesty International, the Fraternity Purchasing Association, Summer Cultural Programs and Voices Merging, were denied funding.

The SSFC said in its rationale that the American Society of Civil Engineers, like the Ayn Rand group, has enough carryover in its budget to continue without additional funding from fees.

Nate Warner, the group’s president, said the group has many expenses but understands the committee’s recommendation.

“We can’t really argue with their logic,” he said. “We feel that we would be more comfortable with a higher [fees recommendation].”

Voices Merging, an arts and multicultural group, and the University’s chapter of Amnesty International didn’t provide enough information in their applications, according to the report, which is why neither was recommended to receive any funding.

The Fraternity Purchasing Association was denied its $10,000 request because its member organizations could be directly charged for any costs, according to the rationale. The SSFC recommended the group offer more services to non-members if it wants to receive fees in the future.

“It would be inappropriate to assess the general student body any fees associated with FPA,” the committee said in its recommendation.

The Minnesota Daily was recommended $435,000 in fees — $505,000 with a $70,000 “balance sweep.”

The SSFC also recommended no funding for Summer Cultural Programs, an administrative unit that requested $75,000. The program hosts concerts on the Twin Cities campuses during the summer, according to its website.