MSA looking for students to help with fees process

Last year’s fees were a source of controversy among many student groups.

Chad Hamblin

The Minnesota Student Association is looking for help deciding how to spend students’ money.

MSA is searching for two students to be fees committee selectors. The students will be responsible for selecting members of the Student Services Fees Committee, the group responsible for distributing student money to other campus groups in the spring.

MSA President Tom Zearley said the group wants a large number of applicants so it can select the best possible candidates.

“We’re trying to get to the students that aren’t involved in various organizations,” he said. “We’re looking for two students that will be viewpoint-neutral and represent the majority of students on campus.”

Last year, many student groups said they had their fees money cut unfairly because of biased Student Services Fees Committee members, said Emily Souza, co-chairwoman of the Queer Student Cultural Center.

The group had its budget cut in half last year, she said. She said she never wanted to go through the fees process again.

“It was cruel and unusual punishment,” she said.

Souza said members from QSCC applied to be selectors last year and were not chosen, even though they were qualified.

Last year’s two undergraduate fees committee selectors were conservative, Souza said, which led to a more conservative fees committee.

“Very few of the cultural centers were represented,” she said.

Zearley said that this year MSA is trying to avoid the same problem.

“The word we’ve been getting from most student groups was, ‘Something went wrong,’ ” he said. “Whatever happened last year, we don’t want to happen again.”

The two students selected must have attended the University for at least one year, according to MSA’s bylaws. Applicants must not have held office in a group – this year or last year – that receives student fees.

Before the committee is official, MSA has the chance to remove two of the 13 candidates. The lower-ranked candidates will then fill the positions.

Last year, no one was removed, Zearley said.

After MSA ratifies the candidates for the Student Services Fees Committee, Zearley said, they are no longer involved in the fees process.

“We initiate the process, but that’s all we do,” he said. “We’re treated the same as other groups.”

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly is also responsible for selecting two candidates. It must follow the same rules as MSA except the candidates must be graduate or professional students.

The MSA applications are available on MSA’s Web site, www.msa.umn.edu and are due at 5 p.m. on Sept. 28.

The GAPSA applications will not be available until the group’s first Assembly meeting on Sept. 21.