Student Fee Committee elects new chair

After a week with no chairperson, the Student Fee Committee elected vice-chair Katie Wylie as committee chair Thursday. The committee elected member Adas Lis to fill the vice-chair position.


The committee, which allocates over $8 million of student incidental fee money to student groups including the Vanguard, is still two members short of it’s normal eight member requirement and is awaiting student senate confirmation of appointees.


Until the Student Fee Committee is at eight members, some student groups risk being left behind during the initial budgeting process, according to Wylie. Student groups’ initial budget proposals are due on Nov. 30.


The only current member with prior experience, Wylie replaces Tina Cooper, who resigned last Wednesday after a hearing before the Judicial Board addressing a complaint Lis brought before the Board Oct. 18.


Lis and others including Wylie were dissatisfied with Cooper’s communication abilities. They accused her of not reporting to the student senate on the progress of the committee, failing to provide assistance to students on committee processes, and failing to assure the “overall operations of the SFC” by giving misinformation to student groups and poorly conducting meetings.


Under the Associated Students of Portland State University constitution, when the fee committee chair resigns the committee members vote to elect a new chair.


Wylie was elected as a member of the Student Fee Committee for the 2003-04 academic year and made an unsuccessful bid for the chair position against former chair Tracy Earll in 2004. She chose to run as a member in last year’s election and won a seat.


“It’s kind of a mixed blessing because it happened so strangely,” Wylie said. “I’m sure I’ll do a good job.”


Now that the committee has a chair, the time has come to move on, according to Lis.


“I think [Wylie’s appointment] is really good,” Lis said. “I feel she’ll be an amazing SFC chair. Today was the best meeting we’ve had all year. There was no confusion. Katie came in prepared.”


Wylie said she didn’t expect the senate to confirm appointments next week. The senate is currently embroiled in a push to hold a special election by the end of fall term. The possible election is focused on amendments to the constitution designed to provide more oversight to the committee, including allowing the student senate the power to reject line items in the committee’s proposed budget. To confirm appointments next week, the senate would have to circumvent their normal procedure to allow a vote.


“Clearly if ever there was a situation [to do that] it would be now,” Wylie said. “It hurt’s students because each SFC member has more groups.”


Committee members were largely pleased with Wylie’s appointment, though member Mario Campbell urged Wylie and Lis to keep their emotions from affecting their voting.


“I think she’ll do a good job, the same goes for Adas,” Campbell said. “I hope she just goes off the guidelines and keeps her feelings out of her voting.”