Niemic observes Fees Committee public hearing

Tension was in the air, but business continued as usual for the committee.


Image by Mark Vancleave


by Luke Feuerherm

The Administrative Unit Fees Committee held its annual public hearing Wednesday night with former chairman Sean Niemic as an audience member rather than as a committee chairman. The committee announced initial fee recommendations Monday, making $7,897 in cuts to the $1,159,617 requested by administrative units. The hearing was clouded by the recent controversial change in chairmen. âÄúMaybe if you spent a little more time worrying about the presentations that were in front of you and not delving into paranoia about your previous chair,âÄù Student Organizations Committee Chairman Paul Freeman said, âÄúweâÄôd be able to take a long look at some of these groups and actually be able to cut some money.âÄù Freeman, head of the branch of the fees committee that handles student groups, was one of the more vocal members at WednesdayâÄôs hearing, which consisted of long silences between speakers. The Administrative Unit Fees Committee operates on a biennium funding procedure that requires groups to request funds every two years. Groups submitting requests this year were the Learning Abroad Center, Radio K, the Student Conflict Resolution Center and The Minnesota Daily. The Daily was awarded all but $6,412 of its $556,412 request, and the SCRC was not recommended $1,485 of its $258,515 request. All other groups submitting requests received all of their requested funds in the initial recommendation. Summer Cultural Programs received no funding but had a $0 request for the committee. Niemic did not speak to the committee at the hearing and refused to comment afterward, citing an ongoing appeal. Before the hearing, he met with Amelious Whyte, chief of staff for the vice provost for student affairs, to discuss the procedure surrounding his removal as chairman. When asked about NiemicâÄôs silent presence at the hearing, current chairman Kenny Kapphahn said, âÄúIâÄôm glad everyone was respectful of the committee.âÄù Freeman pointed to NiemicâÄôs absence from the committee as an attributing factor in the lack of cuts made by the committee. âÄúThe only person who did seem to ask these tough questions has been booted from your committee.âÄù