GAPSA drops 2 members from fees committee

Chad Hamblin

In a symbolic move last week, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly voted to remove two alternates from the fees committee because they did not show up to the group’s meeting.

The vote does not technically change anything in the fees process, but GAPSA President Abu Jalal said the group wanted to send a message.

Jalal said GAPSA is taking the fees process very seriously in light of the fees “controversy” last year and expects the fees committee to be just as serious. Jalal questions how serious the proposed fees committee members are if they don’t show up, he said.

GAPSA Executive Vice President Karen Buhr said it’s also important for candidates to come to the meeting because it gives GAPSA an idea of who they are, so the group can make an informed vote.

“Something that we’re working on for next year is to make a policy to make sure people do show up,” she said.

Jalal said he is confident the fees selectors do a good job, but wants more information about the candidates before GAPSA approves them.

“We don’t know enough about these people,” he said.

Bobak Ha’Eri, a student representative to the Board of Regents and a Minnesota Daily columnist, first made a motion to remove two candidates on the proposed fees committee who had not shown up. That motion did not pass.

The second motion to remove two absent alternates passed.

“We wanted a strong comment without seeming like we’re completely out for blood,” Ha’Eri said.

GAPSA and the Minnesota Student Association must pick fees committee selectors, who then must choose candidates for the fees committee. This is done separately from the student governments.

The system exists to keep MSA and GAPSA, both groups that receive fees, one step removed from the fees committee selection process.

But before the fees committee is official, both MSA and GAPSA must approve the candidates the fees selectors chose.

Both groups are allowed to remove two people from the proposed fees committee. In that case, two alternates would move up and fill the position.

Because the removed members were alternates, the original fees committee stayed the same.

Nathan Wanderman, an MSA member and a student representative to the Board of Regents, said GAPSA can remove whomever it wants, but he doesn’t think an absence from the meeting should be grounds for dismissal.

Wanderman said GAPSA and MSA should only drop a candidate if he or she is obviously biased.

“In other words, a last-resort thing,” he said.