MSA and GAPSA appoint new members

Dispersion of student fees to student groups is done in a neutral manner.

Amber Kispert

Each semester, University students cough up $324 in student services fees. Everyone has to pay them, but very few actually know where their money goes and why.

Student services fees are distributed among student groups and student services organizations, and that’s where the Student Services Fees Committee comes in.

The SSFC is the “committee established on each campus to review and recommend annually the student services fee,” according to the Student Services Fees Request Handbook for Student Organizations.

At their Oct. 17 joint meeting, the Minnesota Student Association and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly approved 23 committee members to serve on the SSFC. The SSFC will hold their first training Nov. 14 and then elect chairmen and chairwomen to serve on the student groups committee and the administrative committee.

Nine students will serve on the student groups committee, six on the administrative committee, and eight will serve as alternates.

Mark Lewandowski is the speaker for MSA and is familiar with the process of student groups requesting funding.

“Student groups go before the committee to make their case for more, or continued funding from fees,” he said.

As late-night program director for Student Unions and Activities, Erich Martin acts as an adviser for the SSFC.

“Their job as a committee is to serve as the review board for student fee budgets and recommend an annual student fee,” he said.

Martin has confidence in the SSFC this year.

“Students who are on the committee are very diligent in regards to their responsibility to make sure that the fair marketplace of exchange of ideas still stays intact,” he said.

Ross Skattum, Vice President of MSA, said he is also confident in the new committee members’ ability to succeed, but wants to remind them of their duty to act neutrally.

“It is extremely important for committee members to be completely impartial,” he said. “Each group that applies for fees must be judged on what sort of opportunities and services they provide to enrich life for the students at the University of Minnesota.”

MSA President Emma Olson said she believes committee members need to be fair, responsible and committed.

SSFC members need to be aware that their time will most likely warrant some conflict from student groups, Martin said.

“The committee can easily become a target for angst and anxiety,” he said.

“One of the things that is my goal to do this year, is to try and make it so that more of the general student population is aware of the students fees process,” Martin said, “they have an opportunity to voice their concerns verbally.”

All student groups are required to attend the Nov. 6, 7, and 13 informational meetings. These meetings will inform student groups and organizations about the fees process.