The student government denied funding to the Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group for the 2011 to 2012 fiscal year in their meeting Monday night.
The Student Service Finance Committee denied WISPIRG’s funding eligibility with a vote of six against and three members abstaining from voting.
WISPIRG received $128,378 for their 2010-2011 budget from SSFC last year.
The group was denied funding because the committee felt University of Wisconsin students were not the primary beneficiaries of their programs since some of their campaigns were aimed at the local, state and national level, SSFC Chair Matt Manes said.
One of the criteria for groups to be eligible for funding is 75 percent of beneficiaries of the group’s programs must be UW students.
Representative Cale Plamann said after he looked at the number of people who benefited from WISPIRG’s campaigns there was no way he could approve them.
“I don’t see a way of getting around the principle beneficiaries. That cannot be argued with a straight face” Plamann said. “I think they should be praised instead of having this put on them, but the fact of the matter is you have over a million beneficiaries [for one of WISPIRG’s campaigns] when the max number of people here at Madison is 56,000.”
WISPIRG Secretary Allie Gardner said they are being punished for being successful and benefiting too many people on issues.
She added students want to get involved in wider issues such as high-speed rail and health care so they can make a difference at a local and state level.
WISPIRG Visibility Chair Sami McKeough said the entire general student service fund and the SSFC are flawed.
“The current eligibility system is flawed, [the committee] talked about all the good things we have been doing,” McKeough said. “Now WISPIRG will probably change the system, because that’s what we do.”
Manes said he recognized how the student body feels about these issues and said it will take time before SSFC could address them and bring them to students.
He added SSFC made a commitment to review its processes and is looking for ways to meet funding needs in a broader depth and context.
McKeough said WISPIRG would appeal the decision.
SSFC granted F.H. King funding eligibility at the meeting
The committee postponed F.H. King’s decision last Thursday because the committee was unsure if they met the criteria for 75 percent of the group’s beneficiaries being UW students, but the group submitted new numbers for the committee to review after Thursday’s meeting.
Representative Aliyya Terry said F.H. King demonstrated that even if UW students were not the primary focus of the group in the past, the group has shown they have changed.
Erika Jones, former finance director for F.H. King, said they were glad they got funding but the process was very difficult.
“The process was unclear and overly bureaucratic and it was a lot of hoops to jump through,” Jones said. “Now I’m going to go drink a beer.”
SSFC also heard funding hearings from The Wisconsin Student Lobby and Collegians For a Constructive Tomorrow.
Both group’s decisions will be announced Thursday at SSFC’s next meeting.