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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fee Board delays final deliberations

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By Dylan Smith / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Katie Richardson addresses members of the Student Fee Review Board Monday in the Cherry & Silver Room of the SUB. The board continued last week’s deliberation on recommendations for the allocation of student fees, but was unable to decide how all fees should be allocated by midnight, and adjourned.

The Student Fee Review Board was unable to allocate student fees after a second round of deliberations by midnight Monday.
GPSA President and Chair of the Board Katie Richardson said the board would meet as many times as necessary.

“We will stay as long as we need to give due diligence to allocating student fees,” she said.

The student fees for the 2013 fiscal year have yet to be decided.
The board intends to reconvene for a third meeting Wednesday at 8 a.m. in the ASUNM conference room.

The Student Fee Review Board will allocate more than $11 million in student fees to the 27 organizations that requested funding.
Board member and ASUNM Student Court Chief Justice Dylan Hoffman asked the board to carefully consider which organizations deserve funding.

“The point of the issue isn’t what the group does, or how helpful they are, but what is the point of student fees, what should they fund?” he said.

Hoffman said the administration should provide funding to more organizations to cut back on student fees.

“All of these organizations deserve funding, but we need to decide if they should be funded by student fees,” he said. “I think that it will be a long process but we should start looking for other ways to fund these organizations besides student fees.”

Board member and GPSA Chief of Staff Japji Hundal asked the board to consider every cost, even small ones, and how such hikes would affect students.

“We have to be judicious in every dollar we spend, regardless of how much an organization requested,” Hundal said. “Just because they requested a (small) amount doesn’t mean we should automatically fund them.”

The board previously was unable to agree on how to allocate student fees by the end of the Feb. 8 meeting and adjourned at 10:30 p.m, after four hours of debate.

Richardson said the Feb. 8 deliberations stalled in debates over small allocations.

“I think what frustrated me about Wednesday is we ended up in a prolonged conversation about seven cents.”

Non-voting board member and GPSA Representative Matthew Rush called on the board to make targeted funding recommendations, suggestions which would specify how the money going to each organization should be spent.

But board member and ASUNM Chief of Staff Cassie Thompson said allowing organizations flexibility is the best way to ensure the money is spent most effectively.

“We could recommend it to specific programs, but I think Moira (Gerety, deputy chief information officer for IT) and her team can figure out what fees can best go to,” she said. “We could specifically allocate it to certain things, but I think being flexible is better.”

Full coverage of funding for each organization will be available in the Thursday edition of the Daily Lobo.