Budget cuts to hurt U events

The TCSU Board of Governors budget would be cut by $360,000.

Neil Munshi

Homecoming, Spring Jam and a variety of other programs could be vastly different next year if a Student Services Fees Committee recommendation passes, officials said Wednesday.

If the budget cuts recommended by the committee go through, the Twin Cities Student Unions Board of Governors budget would be cut by $360,000.

The Minnesota Programs and Activities Council, which operates under TCSU, will need to cut programming to fit that budget. Council officials said that such a cut would have an impact on homecoming and Spring Jam celebrations next year.

“Homecoming and Spring Jam are not going to be what they have been in the past,” said Molly Gale, president of the council.

Jerry Rinehart, associate vice provost for student affairs, will hear testimony from 2 to 4 p.m. in 140 Nolte Center today from TCSU and various groups whose budgets would be cut as a result of the fees committee’s recommendations. The event is free and open to anyone in the University community.

Amelious Whyte, an Office of Student Affairs official and associate to Rinehart, said, “It’s basically an opportunity for members of the University community to have a last opportunity to comment on the final fees recommendations.”

Rinehart was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

TCSU initially requested $3.86 million for the upcoming year. The fees committee recommended $3.5 million.

The majority of the cuts, $300,000, are aimed at programming and will be distributed among the 11 Minnesota Programs and Activities Council committees, said Megan Sweet, interim director of programs and activities in the Student Activities Office.

“The thing that’s important to note is that programs and activities drive traffic to the unions,” she said.

As more people go to the unions and spend money, the revenue allows the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council to remain self-sufficient, Sweet said. When the council is self-reliant, its fees requests decrease.

Sweet said the council has compiled a “statistically valid survey” of students that found programs and activities are among the top reasons students visit Coffman Union.

Gale said the council organizes approximately 750 events a year, including showing movies at the unions, organizing concerts and putting on comedy shows.

“I know the majority of the student population has attended or enjoys attending these programs,” Gale said. “If they want to see them and they want to participate in them next year as they have this year, then I would encourage (students) to come out and support us.”

If the budget cut is approved, the council will only be able to put on approximately 225 events next year, she said.

Sweet said, “The entire campus would feel the effects of this cut. It doesn’t seem to make sense why the cut would be happening now, when we really seem to be meeting the needs of students.”

Nathan Wanderman, a student representative to the Board of Regents and chairman of the Student Senate, said Spring Jam and homecoming activities could be better. Still, he called the fees recommendation “inappropriate.”

“If the fees committee was concerned that the homecoming or Spring Jam activities were not as good as they could be, I would encourage them to get involved in MPAC themselves, rather than cutting MPAC’s funding,” he said.

Rinehart will listen to testimony from student groups and come to a conclusion on whether to overrule the fees committee, Whyte said.