GAPSA, MSAapprove fees committee

Andrew Donohue

and Sascha Matuszak

A prolonged debate over the selection of Student Services Fees Committee members involving MSA and GAPSA was politically put to rest Tuesday as both groups approved a final committee.
However, the approval was not without controversy.
“Ultimately, the issue was fairness and doing what is right. That is not what happened,” said Jigar Madia, Minnesota Student Association president, who argued against passing the list.
Struggles surrounding the selection of the fees committee have enveloped both groups since fall quarter. An original committee of 13 members and nine alternates was first rejected by the MSA Forum, whereupon a second committee was created and approved by the Forum.
The Graduate and Professional Student Assembly then had the next crack at the committee, at which time members approved the 13-member committee, but did not approve the slate of nine alternates.
GAPSA members disputed the selection of Bill Gilles as the first alternate because of his “political ideology,” said Mark Ott, GAPSA vice-president.
Gilles, MSA at-large representative and leader of the College Republicans, has faced accusations of unethical behavior in the past.
“He has not acted in a manner that is conducive to the University population as a whole,” said Shenoa Simpson, legislative affairs chairperson for MSA.
In a memo to McKinley Boston, director of Student Development and Athletics, and June Nobbe of the Campus Involvement Center, Gilles was accused of recruiting signatures for a petition as a member of the 1997 fees committee. According to the memo, the petition was meant to be a tool to influence the committee, which is considered unethical by MSA.
The memo was written by former MSA President Helen Phin and signed by heads of five other student organizations.
“I was accused of supporting my own viewpoint,” Gilles said.
Gilles and his supporters argued that ideological diversity was needed on the 1998 committee. Gilles also contended that his experience as a 1997 committee member and with administrators in the past would prove invaluable.
Gilles said the debate was more personal than practical. He added that his opponents within MSA might have had a hand in GAPSA’s decision to take him off the alternate list.
“Possibly GLBT, among my other opponents, lobbied GAPSA,” he said.
Brandon Lacy, an MSA member with close ties to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Their Friends Association, dismissed Gilles’ claim.
“We had no idea what the GAPSA decision was. We attended the GAPSA meeting, but were not allowed to speak,” he said. “I do not know Bill, I just know that he is perceived as being unethical and this has been documented.”
GAPSA president J.P. Maier confirmed that his organization was strongly influenced by Gilles’ perceived lack of credibility. He said he felt that the label of unethical carried by Gilles would also be placed on the fees committee.
Maier also expressed his concerns for MSA’s credibility. He said the fees committee is the only untarnished entity MSA has left and that it needs to stay that way.
Although both groups voted to approve the list of alternates without Gilles, closure will not come until Madia puts his signature on the document.
“Now I have the decision to make: Sign this or veto it. It’ll be a tough call,” Madia said.