MSA considers repealing fees-committee approval

by Megan Boldt

The Minnesota Student Association will vote today on a motion to rescind a Nov. 16 vote approving the selection of the Student Services Fees Committee.
Some MSA members question the political composition of the 13-member committee and want the chance to vote again. At least five fees-committee members belong to Students Against Fee Excess, a group comprised largely of College Republicans.
According to the group’s University Web site, members “advocate responsible fiscal policies for fees receiving groups.” Members could not be reached for comment Monday.
However, some MSA members are concerned committee members with ties to Students Against Fee Excess will work against the fees-distributing process.
“It’s not about how certain interests get funded every year,” said Noah Dvorak, a College of Liberal Arts senator. “This process is supposed to produce a fees committee that represents the attitudes of the campus.”
But other MSA members disagreed, saying this fall’s application process was fair and open to the entire student body.
Hillary Walters, an MSA at-large representative, said the deadline was extended because turnout was so low. Only 28 students applied for 13 positions.
The selection committee accepted fees-committee applications from Sept. 20 to Oct. 18.
MSA has also been criticized for failing to recruit minority students. Four members of the fees committee are nonwhite; three are women.
Three faculty members and three administrators will be appointed when MSA and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly ratify the student slate.
“There is not a lot of room for personal bias,” Walters said.
Members do not have authority to withhold funding from student groups with ideologies different than their own, she added.
But MSA members presenting the motion to nullify the vote disagreed. They said student representatives were responsible for recruiting a wide variety of students.
“The fees-committee slate is faulty in a number of ways. There is an extreme lack of diversity on the slate,” said Jason Vorbeck, MSA representative for the Queer Student Cultural Center. “There are also four candidates who are former or current officers in the Minnesota College Republicans.”
Vorbeck and other MSA members will introduce the motion at the Law School forum this afternoon. If the motion passes, MSA will re-vote on the committee slate.
A four-member selection committee originally chose the fees committee. MSA chose two members; GAPSA chose the other two.
The Minnesota Daily and 27 other student groups receive funding from student-services fees.
Those opposing the committee’s composition said they question the political leanings of some of the candidates.
“The fees committee is extremely conservative, and some students regret voting for it,” Dvorak said.

Megan Boldt welcomes comments at [email protected]. She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3224.