GAPSA approves student fees committee nominees

by Seth Woehrle

With little debate and no dissention, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly unanimously approved the slate for the Student Service Fees Committee late Monday.

GAPSA left the slate for the end of the agenda and spent most of its meeting quizzing University President Mark Yudof on his plans to improve professional and graduate school rankings.

GAPSA chose to remove none of the fees committee candidates, effectively approving the slate. The Minnesota Student Association approved the candidates two weeks ago.

The fees committee members will begin discussing fees requests in January.

GAPSA President Phillip Cole said he wasn’t troubled by the fact that the fees committee was completely made up of undergraduates.

“It’s only a concern in that we have to educate, ” Cole said. “Yes, during our presentation we’re absolutely going to have to educate about the importance of the college boards, interaction between the college boards and creating a sense of community on campus.”

The fees committee will be making possibly contentious decisions on GAPSA’s fees request this year, in part because the group is asking for three times what it received last year.

“The bulk of the money goes to student development,” said Vice President Patrick Pederson. “Student development for graduate and professional students is completely nonexistent on campus. It doesn’t exist.”

One-fifth of the requested funds will go to the Council of Graduate Students, which has been folded into GAPSA’s fees request.

In addition to COGS, GAPSA represents 10 graduate and professional schools in its fees request, called “passthrough” funds.

Yudof’s presentation to GAPSA touched on his efforts to improve graduate and professional schools’ national rankings.

One of the options he proposed was eliminating non-resident tuition to bring in more elite students, raising college scores.

“We have good momentum on our side,” Yudof said, while admitting that he faced a tough legislative session and that budget cuts are likely.

Yudof also spoke on recent restrictions regarding international students at the University on student visas, including monitoring of those who leave the campus.

“It will undoubtedly involve huge piles of paperwork and forms for students to fill out,” he said.

Following Yudof, Executive Vice President and campaign director Judy Kirk gave an update on the capital campaign, now at $1.2 billion in donations – the most a Minnesota organization has raised in a campaign.

Seth Woehrle welcomes comments at [email protected]