Members of the Associated Students of Madison Student Judiciary ruled in favor of the Multicultural Student Coalition in its suit against the Student Service Finance Committee, ruling the committee’s budget waiver is invalid due to the manner in which it was implemented.
However, the Student Judiciary upheld the decision of SSFC Chair Sarah Neibart to deny MCSC its budget waiver and the rules which allow it to deny a student organization’s budget over $250,000 without the waiver.
According to the ruling, MCSC raised 14 issues against the committee, many of which centered around the waiver and the way it was implemented. The Student Judiciary consolidated these issues and ultimately decided the required waiver form was a violation of due process.
“This opinion didn’t comment on the spending in general,” Chief Justice Kathryn Fifield said. “This particular waiver is a violation of due process because of the timelines it had to deal with and also because of the language that was used in it.”
The report said the one-week time limit was too restrictive based on the training, academic and extracurricular demands facing members of SSFC and other student organizations throughout the period.
The Student Judiciary added the “rushed” timeline for implementation of the budget waiver was due to the SSFC’s short time period to implement the new rules at the start of this academic year.
It also cited the concern that the waiver would have determined the amount of MCSC funding without a set of objective criteria to ensure the SSFC decision was viewpoint neutral.
The waiver also requires a student organization explain how the increase in its spending would benefit the University of Wisconsin student body as a whole and how it would meet a “significant and demonstrable need” for students.
“The deadlines imposed by SSFC for the funding waiver were inappropriate and unjustified given the significance of this change in … funding procedure,” the ruling said.
The Student Judiciary also dismissed a claim argued by MCSC that Neibart unilaterally rejected the organization’s waiver based on the time in which it was submitted.
MCSC remains ineligible for a budget over $250,000 as its waiver form was submitted late, Fifield said.
Neibart added the decision should not affect SSFC processes in any way.
“I disagree with the Student Judiciary, but I understand why they ruled the waiver was invalid,” Neibart said.
MCSC also raised charges of malfeasance in office or inappropriate behavior on the part of the SSFC, Fifield said, but the judiciary body did not affirm these claims in the ruling.
Fifield said another MCSC case will be deliberated in the upcoming weeks regarding the organization’s petitions against the SSFC standing rules, but Neibart emphasized MCSC is still ineligible for the budget waiver.
“The Student Judiciary still rules in favor of all of our processes,” Neibart said. “The [future] case isn’t really germane to anything because MCSC is ineligible.”