The Associated Students of Madison’s Student Services Finance Committee approved the 2010-11 budgets for Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group, Greater University Tutoring Services and Badger Catholic Monday.
The decision for GUTS, which was postponed from the previous meeting, passed unanimously after the group made cuts from the food and beverage line of the budget. The approved budget for the next fiscal year is $159,649.59, down from the original proposal of but up just over $16,000 from its 2009-10 budget.
“[GUTS] did a great job explaining what was needed and why it was needed,” SSFC Rep. Carl Fergus said.
WISPIRG’s budget presented much more debate for the committee as several amendments were made from the proposed budget of $145,694.51.
WISPIRG’s newly proposed fellowship position was denied entirely, while further cuts were made to the amount of money given to cover the group’s membership fees to the national branch.
These fees, according to WISPIRG member Scott Thompson, go toward the constant recruitment of experienced and educated professionals all over the country.
The membership fees were cut substantially by SSFC on the grounds that student’s segregated fees should not be allocated nationally but instead locally.
“They kind of expected students to take up the duties that were cut from the budget, the membership fees,” Thompson said. “But the problem is that WISPIRG doesn’t exist as an organization to provide students with the opportunity to recruit staff or to somehow find ways to train professionals. Basically, by cutting those funds, it’s going to force students to take away from what we really do on campus and that’s allowing students to be politically active.”
According to Thompson, WISPIRG’s current professional staff will now have to split their time between writing grants and helping students connect with politicians, thereby limiting the students’ political voice and their effectiveness.
According to SSFC Secretary Matt Manes, the decision for the major cut to WISPIRG’s proposed budget was a combination of two important factors.
“The bulk of the debate centered on the idea that we were being double-billed,” Manes said. “It is already within the position description of paid staff to fulfill some of these duties. In addition, the amount being requested is also reflective of benefits for staff that we aren’t required to fund.”
Staff that SSFC is not required to fund included paid non-university staff, which would in no way recycle back to the university itself.
In the end, WISPIRG’s budget was finally approved unanimously for $128,379.04. The budget for the current fiscal year stands at $126,244.25.
The budget submitted by Badger Catholic was much less debated and no cuts or amendments were made to the original proposal of $125,236.69. The increase of just under $5,000 from 2009-10 was approved.
Budget hearings were also presented for both Adventure Learning Programs and F. H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture. The decision for these two budgets will be made at Thursday’s SSFC meeting.