MSA names members of committee

Chad Hamblin

The Mississippi Room at Coffman Union was heavy with tension during the Minnesota Student Association Forum meeting Tuesday.

That is because the Forum had to approve members of the Student Services Fees Committee – the group that allocates student fees money to campus student groups and institutions.

“Anything with fees is always heated,” MSA President Tom Zearley said. “I don’t always know why.”

Before the Forum approved fees committee members, Aaron Asmundson, fees committee adviser, spoke about how the entire fees process works and answered questions.

Responding to a complaint that last year’s process was flawed, Asmundson said, “A lot of the concerns for last year are hearsay and alleged.”

Last year, several student groups, including the Queer Student Cultural Center and The Wake, said some fees committee members were not fair when it came to divvying up student fees.

Zearley said he acknowledged there were many problems with last year’s fees process and hopes to improve it.

MSA cannot change much until next year, he said, but the group is doing what it can now.

“Is there a perfect way of doing this? My guess is no,” he said of the fees process. “Is there a better way to do this? That’s what we’re working on.”

Zearley said that last year, the fees committee was approved by MSA at the last minute, which did not allow much time to train committee members.

“We’re hoping that a lot of the things that happened last year were due to stress and were time constraint-related,” he said.

This year, MSA ensured the fees committee was approved on time to help alleviate that stress, he said.

“We just gave them another month to train,” he said. “It’s way ahead of where it was last year.”

Although Zearley said he had high hopes about the fees process, other Forum members said they were not so optimistic.

Ashley Sierra, a Forum member and last year’s Queer Student Cultural Center co-chairwoman, said last year’s fees process was “appalling” and does not hold much hope for this year.

“Nothing’s changed,” she said. “We want to see that there is some change in the process.”

MSA executive board member Shaun Laden said he does not like how quickly the fees committee members were approved.

“Some people think that we should march these people up like cattle Ö and vote,” he said. “It needs to be better.”

Steve Wang, a junior, was one of the fees committee members MSA approved. This will be his first time on the committee.

After the meeting, Wang said anything that happened with last year’s fees committee will not affect what he does this year.

“I came into this year with an open mind,” he said. “I wanna do what’s right.

“Obviously, people are going to have different opinions. I hope that this goes as smoothly as possible.”

MSA approved the committee members with a majority vote.

But before the committee becomes official, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly must approve it. It is set to approve the committee tonight at its meeting.