Students slam fees committee in hearing with U administrator

by Amy Horst

Students and University employees said Thursday at a hearing that the Student Services Fees Committee did not listen to their funding requests and misunderstood funding procedures.

Approximately 50 students and University employees gathered in Coffman Union to respond to the Student Services Fees Committee’s recommendations for next year’s student and administrative groups funding.

Most groups at the hearing said they found problems with the committee’s procedures and some said they were disappointed with some committee members’ behavior during meetings.

“There was a lack of respect shown by some committee members who ate and talked during the meetings,” said Alison Blomster, executive director of the Queer Student Cultural Center.

Marcia Ashong, vice president of the African Student Association, said she found the same thing when she spoke at the committee’s meetings.

“Once you left the room, you knew that these people weren’t listening and probably weren’t going to give you anything,” she said.

Marty Andrade, a psychology senior and Students for Family Values president, said the fees committee was irresponsible with its recommendations.

“The fees committee this year was a little like a drunken sailor with a switchblade and a bag of money,” he said. “He didn’t know who was going to get cut, and he didn’t know who was going to get the money.”

He said he found the committee’s policies counterproductive because at previous meetings he was not allowed to respond when the committee criticized the group’s spending.

Those present also emphasized the role their groups play at the University.

“The first person I ever came out to was a person I met at the (the Queer Student Cultural Center),” said Megan Thomas, a former University student and executive director of the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly.

Thomas and other representatives of the Queer Student Cultural Center said the center provides a safe place for many students who feel threatened or unwelcome in other places.

Members said having a full-time employee allows the group to maintain that safety. They said that position would be cut if

the center receives the amount

of money the fees committee


Becky Saltzman, a College of Liberal Arts junior, said it was unfair for the committee to make decisions on groups when they have not participated in any of their events.

She also made a plea for the committee to fully fund Hillel,

the University’s Jewish student center.

“Hillel has been my life since the day I first set foot there,” Saltzman said. “It would kill me

to see it go down because of what is a couple of dollars to each


Members of Hillel and the Asian-American Student Union also noted discrepancies between the committee’s reasons for cutting their groups’ funding.

Hillel was penalized for getting funding from outside sources, but the Asian-American Student Union was penalized for not getting enough outside funding, group leaders said.

Chris Ruen, co-publisher and co-founder of The Wake student magazine, said one member of the fees committee told him she voted not to fund the paper because she did not like it.

“That would be a violation of viewpoint neutrality,” Ruen said.

Jerry Rinehart, associate vice provost for student affairs, said it was common in other years for students to have complaints about the fees process, and said he will look into changing some policies.

Rinehart will release his funding decision April 5. The University’s Board of Regents will approve the Student Services Fees funding as part of a larger budget package.

Members of the Student Services Fees Committee could not be reached for comment.