Admins to review fees process

Fees rules could be modified, and administrators plan to investigate GAPSA’s finances.

Admins to review fees process

Blair Emerson

Two University of Minnesota student groups won’t get a funding boost after appealing this year’s student services fees recommendations, but the whole process is getting another look.

Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly brought their cases to Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Danita Brown Young last month. Brown Young upheld prior funding recommendations but pledged to further investigate GAPSA and reassess the entire
process.

An appeals committee previously rejected GAPSA’s plea for more funding, leaving the group with $232,136 of its $392,115
request.

Some GAPSA members, including an Executive Board member, testified at a hearing with Brown Young last week, questioning the assembly’s financial practices. Brown Young accepted the appeals
committee’s recommendations but said she’ll be conducting her own investigation to look into how GAPSA manages its finances.

In its appeal, GAPSA requested the Council of Graduate Students be given funding through the assembly, as it did in past years, instead of receiving funding through its own fees request.

Brown Young acknowledged friction between the two groups this year but said she could not reject COGS’ budget proposal because it met all requirements.

“I really felt that the [fees] committee did their best to steer clear and not get caught between the struggles between GAPSA and COGS,” Brown Young said.

Re-evaluating the fees process

CFACT also appealed its fees recommendation, which was adjusted twice amid allegations of plagiarism in their funding
request.

The committee originally cut CFACT’s $88,700 allocation by nearly 80 percent as a penalty for copying the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group’s request. The appeals committee significantly reduced the penalty, giving CFACT $82,530.

MPIRG members testified at a hearing with Brown Young last week, pushing for a harsher deduction and saying this allocation would set a precedent.

Brown Young called the allegations “very serious” but upheld the appeals committee’s more modest cut, citing the Student Services Fees handbook, which doesn’t address plagiarism.

“I think that [cut] was fair,” Brown Young said.

The committee plans to add rules regarding plagiarism to the handbook next year.

Because this was her first year working with student services fees, Brown Young said she plans to take time this summer to review the issue, along with the entire process.

“I think that’s important when you have programs and services ­— you need to take time every year to kind of evaluate and assess where you are,” she said.