Committee criticized at GAPSA meeting

Bryan Keogh

Students attending a Graduate and Professional Student Assembly meeting Monday expressed concerns about this year’s Student Services Fees Committee.
Following the selection committee’s presentation, attendees questioned the process and makeup of the fees committee as well as the possible funding impact on various groups.
Minnesota Student Association Sen. Matt Brauer was one of the people who spoke out during the session.
Brauer criticized the fees committee’s recruitment process, arguing some members might be opposed to certain groups, including the Queer Student Cultural Center, of which Brauer is a board member.
The Student Services Fees Committee — composed of 13 students, three administrators and three faculty members — controls about $15 million in student fees annually.
Ben Solomon, GAPSA’s president, said he received several letters from cultural centers concerned about members of the committee. The groups worried that some committee members would apply personal biases when making funding choices.
“I would be offended if anyone on the fees committee attempted to do so,” Solomon said. “I’ll be damned if we let personal ideologies interfere with the process.”
Other critical comments put those who select fees-committee members on the defensive.
Paul Enever and Phillip Cole, the graduate representatives on the selection committee, detailed the process and criteria used in determining the applicants chosen.
“With only 13 (Student Services Fees Committee members), it is clearly not possible to have a representative from all student groups,” Cole said.
But GAPSA member Emily Irwin was critical of the fees committee. She expressed concern about the committee’s makeup and the low number of applicants, especially among women. Of 28 applicants, seven were women.
“I think the process was kind of flawed,” said Irwin, a GAPSA senator for the Medical School. “I do believe the committee is stacked.”
However, 18 of the 21 GAPSA members present voted for the selection process.
With this approval, any changes to the committee will have to wait until fall 2000, the next time fees-committee members will be selected.

Bryan Keogh covers graduate and professional schools and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3237.