Final fees recs barely budge

Northrop, the Minnesota Daily and others saw small increases in recommended funds.

Final fees recs barely budge

Blair Emerson

The Student Services Fees Committee released its final recommendations Monday, marking one of the final points before next year’s funding for student groups and administrative units is finalized.

Most of the final recommendations were consistent with the initial ones released last month, and groups are responding in different ways.

Two administrative units with some of the largest discrepancies between their fees requests and final recommendations ­— Northrop Concerts and Lectures and the Minnesota Daily ­— said they don’t plan to appeal the recommendations, though the proposed funding could impact their budgets.

“We felt like we said everything that we had to say, and we were happy about the increase,” said Northrop Student Engagement Coordinator Allyson Taubenheim.

Following a student-driven campaign to get more funding, Northrop’s final fees recommendation was about $20,000 more than its initial recommendation. Despite the increase, Northrop will still sit with about 35 percent of its funding request when the auditorium reopens.

Taubenheim said that the recommendation won’t affect Northrop’s grand reopening next Friday, but it will adversely affect programming next year.

“We’ll look for additional sources of funding, and we’ll squeeze every cent that we can,” she said.

SSFC administrative units chair Tyler Ebert said the committee awarded the additional funding to Northrop for next year so it can test out its programs.

“[Next year] we want them to come back with data so we can reassess what the appropriate allocation is to fund such a substantial [and] important resource as this,” he said.

The Daily also saw an increase in funding from its initial recommendation but was still offered less than 80 percent of its $505,000 request.

The SSFC said in its final rationales that it would like to see a decrease in the newspaper’s return rate, or number of papers left on racks each day.

Ashish Joshi, who heads the Daily’s financial department, said the organization has closely monitored its return rates for the last few years. Its current return rates are high for the industry, he said, and the Daily is working to lower them.

“Even though our return rates are a little bit higher, we’ve had an increase in our online readership,” he said.

Because the Daily’s readership is shifting from print to online, Joshi said, the organization is looking to use its reserves to create a mobile application, in keeping with the SSFC’s suggestions.

Joshi said he doesn’t think the Daily will appeal the final recommendations because it was recommended to receive a reasonable amount of funding.

Most student group recs stay

SSFC student groups chair Benjamin Beutel said most student groups didn’t see a change between initial and final recommendations.

“Most of the things we changed were not us changing our minds, but, rather, us taking into account new actionable information to make a cut or add things back,” he said.

The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly did see an approximately $55,600 bump in recommended funding, bringing its final recommendation up to about $232,000 for next year.

GAPSA didn’t initially answer all of the fees committee’s questions about its application, but it eventually complied, prompting the additional funding.

The opposite happened to Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, which was recommended about 10 percent of its $188,000 fees request.

The fees committee said in its final rationales that CFACT plagiarized another group’s application, so it assessed a $70,000 cut from the initial to final recommendations.

CFACT President Rachel Jansen said that it’s common practice for student groups to base their fees applications off of those from similar groups.

“For us, it just doesn’t seem fair,” she said. “We base it off the most successful groups that are in our field of political and environmental stuff.”

Co-chair of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group Kate Dobson said she believes that CFACT lifted material from MPIRG’s application, so the group approached fees committee leaders and alleged plagiarism. She said a CFACT representative read a paragraph verbatim from MPIRG’s application at a public hearing this spring.

“During deliberations and during the public hearing this year, we were kind of surprised by similar language that was being used to describe both of our programming,” she said.

Beutel said it was evident that plagiarism took place in CFACT’s application.

“The question was, ‘Should we punish plagiarism, and to what extent we should punish plagiarism?’” he said.

CFACT plans to appeal its recommendation, Jansen said.