Some fees plans reversed

Jerry Rinehart reversed six of the fees committee’s final recommendations.

Than Tibbetts

ACORRECTION: The graphic contained in this article contained many errors. The corrected version appears below.

After a controversial fees committee process, Jerry Rinehart, associate vice provost for student affairs, has reversed six of the Student Services Fees Committee’s final recommendations.

On top of his recommendations that will now head to the Board of Regents for approval, Rinehart said he will also appoint a committee to review the fees process in the next few months.

Radio K, the Minnesota Programs and Activities Council and The Minnesota Daily all received significant increases over the fees committee’s final recommendations.

Reinhart has said it would be extremely dangerous to overturn the fees committee’s recommendations because it undermines the credibility of the fees process.

“In an ideal setting, the Student (Services) Fees Committees would function in such a way that their decisions would make sense and best reflect the view of the campus,” he said. “There wouldn’t have to be intervention.”

Rinehart said the recommendations he reversed were shortsighted and not really reflective of the broader perspective of what students find valuable.

Dan Levin, Administrative Units Committee chairman, said Rinehart’s decisions would not undermine the credibility of the fees committee process.

“The Administrative Units Committee made some controversial decisions this year, and many were 3-2 split decisions,” he said.

Rinehart’s proposal to form a group to review the fees process is also the “most responsible thing to do Ö to realize that no system is perfect,” Levin said.

“I’m not necessarily sure a different committee would have made any different choices,” he said.

Despite Rinehart’s six recommendations to increase funding levels for next year, not every group was happy with its recommended funding levels.

Brian Edstrom, Students for Family Values president, said Rinehart’s recommendation of $5,000 is still insulting to the group.

Rinehart’s recommendation is down from an initial fees committee suggestion of $15,000 but up from the fees committee’s final $0 proposal.

Edstrom said it shows Rinehart was afraid to do something about bias on the fees committee.

Caitlin Madigan, The Minnesota Daily president, said she was glad for all of the groups receiving fees.

“I hope there is some sort of change made to the fee committee and the fees process,” she said. “It wasn’t just the Daily. It was Radio K and cultural programs who had already cut their budgets.”

Andy Marlow, Radio K station manager, said the fees committee’s recommendation was inappropriate because it was based on listener data that was two years old. He said he was pleased with Rinehart’s decision.

“I think this is justice and fairness,” he said. “We certainly were completely and totally surprised and startled by what the committee recommended this year.”

Marlow said he said he thinks this year’s fees process was politicized.

“A major effort by the administrative units subcommittee seemed to be to cut students’ taxes – read: student fees – at any cost,” he said.

Radio K can now continue with hiring student managers to replace those who will leave at the end of this year, Marlow said.

Madigan said she would like to see fees committee members receive a stipend in the future to attract more students to the fees process.

“I respect that the students volunteer for the positions and the time they take,” she said.

Minnesota Programs and Activities Council representatives had not yet seen Rinehart’s recommendations and would not comment on them.

Rinehart’s recommendations place the base student services fee at $281.89 per semester, $5 more than this year’s fees.