Student groups appeal to Rinehart for funding

Three groups spoke at a public hearing Thursday evening.

Jenna Wilcox

 

Student groups and administrative units not recommended the full amount of funding requested from the Student Services Fees Committee had one final chance to make their case Thursday.

At a public hearing three groups appealed to Vice Provost of Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart, who has the authority to make new recommendation, which would reverse SSFC’s funding decisions.

Of the 10 original groups that submitted appeals in March, only the Fraternity Purchasing Association and Northrop Concerts and Lectures were granted a follow up meeting with the SSFC appeals committee. But after reviewing the appeals and listening to the presentations, nether group received a new ruling.

Saint Paul’s Outreach, Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow and the Minnesota Daily decided to appeal to the vice provost.

Nearly 15 different students argued for SPO and why they believe it is an important organization for the University of Minnesota community.

The group requested $89,977 but was only recommended $55,647.

According to the rationale issued by the SSFC, the committee cut funding for food during SPO’s programs because they serve only a few members. The group also received a $24,839 cut from operational expenses because of staff payments.

The rational stated the fees system would be “severely constrained” if student groups become reliant on paid staff, and recommended the group seek funding from SPO National.

Multiple students spoke about how important SPO has been to them and how they would not have come to the University had it not been for the organization.

Rya Haglund said it was important for her to continue to practice her faith and spirituality at college. “SPO not only provides a warm and welcoming environment for catholic students but also students of other faiths.”

Teresa Hayes said she was considering transferring to a smaller school but finding SPO gave her a new sense of community.

Several students said the cut to funding would inhibit the scholarships the group provides for retreats like the School of the New Evangelization.

Members of CFACT also attended the hearing after the SSFC recommended only $85,483 of the requested $199,125.

The committee felt the group’s programming did not affect enough students, and the use of office space, staff, wages and stipends were not justified.

But several members said the SSFC treated the group unfairly.

Rachel Jansen asked Rinehart to consider reasons cited to cut funding from CFACT –– like having fulltime and non-student staff, and the budget percentage. Jansen said there are other student groups in similar situations which did not receive funding cuts.

Matt Novak said the group is concerned the SSFC did not act neutrally this year because more conservative groups were cut funding compared to liberal ones.

Andrew Christensen also called the decision an “attack on conservative organizations.”

Aaron Riippa and Jacob Piekarski, business operations manager and president of the Minnesota Daily, attended the hearing in order to reverse the SSFC’s decision of a $250,000 budget sweep.

Riippa argued that, as a newspaper, the Daily isn’t immune to the changing industry and asked Rinehart to give the opportunity to reinvest into the organization in order to continue to serve students.

Piekarski said the Daily recently experienced technology problems and that the budget sweep would hinder the organization.

After the hearing, Rinehart said he enjoyed hearing from the different groups on campus and how they affect student’s lives.

He hopes to have his final decisions for the groups by midweek next week.

“I’ll really be looking carefully to see if there was something that really went wrong somewhere in the process that really requires my stepping in to reverse it,” he said.