Fees-committee faculty lose vote

by V. Paul

Because of late faculty appointments to the student-run committee charged with doling out funds to University student groups, its three faculty members lost their voting privileges.
However, the fact that the Student Services Fees Committee has faculty members this year is a change for the better; no faculty members have served on the committee for the last six years, said Sabeen Altaf, a member of the fees committee.
“I think (having faculty members) was important this year because certain student groups wanted faculty members and were not comfortable with the makeup of the committee,” said Jesse Berglund, the committee’s chairman.
Each year, student groups submit budget requests for the following year’s funding, which are first debated by three fees subcommittees. These groups send their recommendations to the full committee, which then makes its own recommendations and opens up the process to public hearings. This year, the final funding allocations will be decided March 4.
Professors Rose Brewer, Timothy Brennan and Jennifer Pierce became ex officio, nonvoting members in late February as part of a compromise between a faculty committee and Berglund.
Berglund barred the professors from full membership to the committee because their late appointments caused them to violate a number of guidelines for member behavior.
“All voting members should be held to the same criteria,” Berglund said. “We shouldn’t let people exit and enter the process when they choose. It would be setting an awful precedent here to allow new voting members into the process.”
The three professors missed the orientation and training sessions held in December and January — two requirements for membership.
Because of their late appointments, Brewer and Pierce did not attend any student budget presentations to the subcommittees, and Brennan missed all but one, Altaf said.
“The budget presentations are the bulk of the fees committee,” Altaf said. “That’s the opportunity that groups and the fees committee can interact. It’s a time to communicate.”
Although the University Board of Regents approved a policy stipulating committee members have voting privileges, the committee also has rules of procedure that regulate its operation, said Vicky Larson, the committee’s adviser.
“We do operate under regents’ policy, but we have to have leeway to address the anomalies in this committee. (The faculty members’ late entry) was an anomaly.”
The faculty members were appointed by a subcommittee of the Faculty Consultative Committee after the budget presentations process had already started. Although late in the process, Berglund wanted to include the professors’ opinions, Larson said.
The faculty members will have voting privileges after the budget process during committee meetings, Berglund said.

V. Paul Virtucio welcomes comments at [email protected].