The University of Wisconsin’s student government convened last night to debate and vote on the budgets of two student organizations, ultimately making some adjustments before passing both.
Associated Students of Madison’s Student Services Finance Committee deliberated the budgets of F.H. King and Sex Out Loud Thursday evening.
Witte Hall House Fellow Michael Flancher opened the forum on Sex Out Loud and said the organization’s programs are the most positively and widely received programs offered in UW Housing.
However, Sex Out Loud’s budget met some contention from SSFC representatives regarding “per diem” food funds for the organization’s annual conference trip, which some committee members felt were too high.
The budget for the educational conference requested $600 for three daily meals per attendee. According to Sex Out Loud Program Facilitator Sam Johnson, the conference heavily influences and augments the organization’s direct services.
However, SSFC Rep. Devon Maier found this line in the budget to be excessive, as some meals are to be provided as part of the registration fee. Maier, who originally motioned the line to be decreased by $240, ultimately amended his motion to a $200 decrease.
SSFC Rep. Tito Diaz, who said he understood why the budget was decreased due to overlap from the registration fee, spoke from personal conference experience and added food is more expensive for conferences in bigger cities.
According to Diaz, the justification for leaving the conference budget untouched is amending it to a lower amount, which could prevent some people from attending.
SSFC Rep. Jonathan Harris said he agreed with Diaz, adding he would “really hate if food hindered someone from going on the trip.”
However, according to Maier, the adjustment would not “hinder” students but rather cut overlaps.
ASM Chief of Staff Sarah Neibart said she agreed, adding such an amendment to the budget would be fiscally responsible.
The amendment to decrease the food allocation by $200, which SSFC Rep. David Vines said Sex Out Loud was comfortable with, was passed.
Neibart also questioned Sex Out Loud’s $7,500 advertising budget and proposed a $500 dollar decrease. The motion was ultimately not passed.
The committee ended debate on Sex Out Loud’s budget decision, ultimately granting a $100,996.67 budget for the next fiscal year.
SSFC also debated F.H. King’s budget, beginning with a proposed amendment to the advertising budget, which SSFC Rep. Richard Rolland motioned to cut by $700 after calculating the proportions between programming and advertisement.
However, many on the committee expressed they did not understand Rolland’s reason for such a calculation. Neibart added similar calculations were not done for any other organization’s budget.
SSFC Rep. Jeremy Levinger said he agreed and added advertisement for an organization like F.H. King is important to raise awareness for its harvesting work, especially when segregated fees are involved with growing the food.
“I don’t understand why these calculations were done,” Levinger said. “I am paying part of my seg fees so that a pepper can be grown, and I think it is very important that everybody knows that the pepper is being grown so that they can go grab that pepper. Advertising is very important because these things are being done without people knowing about it, and we are paying for it.”
Rolland proposed another amendment to cut F.H. King’s urban agriculture director assistant position, arguing it would be less expensive to simply add more hours to the director position itself.
However, according to F.H. King Finance Director Parker Jones, such an action would overwork the student.
Levinger said he agreed, adding “the more hours you get on to the person does not directly correlate with how much work you are getting out the person.”
Both of Rolland’s amendments failed, and F.H. King’s budget was granted unanimously at $74,256.68, with a decrease of $100 from the food and beverage line of the intern program.