A student’s voice

Probably the most influential committee students can take part in on campus is the student services fees committee. Comprised of thirteen students, three faculty members and three members from University administration, the fees committee controls about $15 million and determines the amount of money various student organizations and departmental groups will receive. The fees committee is one of the most effective ways for students to become involved and impact campus politics.
An example of how fees committee decisions affect the lives of every student, the Coffman renovation, will likely be a major issue this year as its disappointing and indefinite delay leaves students and the campus with out a central gathering location. It was a previous fees committee that agreed to the funding increase that students — who might not even see the union’s completion — would be supporting with student services fees.
Due to a Supreme Court ruling last spring, universities can distribute student services fees to any group, as long as the student organization fulfills certain criteria and are “viewpoint neutral.” The court case was a turning point in the nationwide battle over mandatory fees on public campuses. Which groups should be given funding should be a controversial issue and is likely to establish a precedent.
Many students enjoy complaining about how the administration does not listen to them and how their voices and concerns are rarely, if ever, addressed. But students are often simply unaware of the opportunities they have. The fees committee is an excellent chance for people to become involved and it is still possible to have an impact on campus. Students can still pick up an application at 720 Washington, Coffman tenents’ temporary home. You can also find an application online at http://www1.umn.edu/cic/studentfees/ Students have until Monday, October 16 at 4 p.m.to turn in an application at the Campus Involvement Center.