A committee of the University of Wisconsin’s student government voted Monday to adopt the Associated Students of Madison’s internal budget after a small list of changes.
SSFC Rep. Ron Crandall advocated for amending the internal budget to eliminate funding for the three ASM Assistant Press Office Director positions.
Crandall said he believes the positions should be volunteer-based and viewed as providing a community service to the university. Other representatives also took issue with the fact that several other assistant positions within ASM were unpaid.
“Everyone should be paid, or no one should be paid,” SSFC Rep. Jeffrey Ehlers said.
However, ASM Press Office Director David Gardner said the press office board found itself dysfunctional when taking on volunteers in the past.
“I think it’s a bad argument to cut something that we know is doing something for campus, simply because other assistant positions are unpaid,” he said. “A stipend allows people to have an incentive.”
ASM cannot expect every student leader to do the press office’s type of work for free, SSFC Rep. Sarah Neibart said.
The committee voted to strike $2,750 from the salary line for the Assistant Press Office Director positions.
“This is the best compromise,” Ehlers said.
In addition, the committee discussed adjustments to the Varsity Day line to include greater or fewer funds for a speaker.
Neibart advocated for increasing the funds for a Varsity Day speaker from $60,000 to $75,000, emphasizing the benefit of the event for campus.
According to Neibart, Varsity Day brings together many people in the university at the end of the year that would not necessarily have the opportunity to come together otherwise.
“Anything in the ASM internal budget is to provide services that the university cannot originally provide for us,” she said.
SSFC Rep. Kyle Quagliana said he “loved” the idea of Varsity Day, but was unsure about it being funded completely by students’ segregated fees.
SSFC Chair Ellie Bruecker echoed this view. She explained that many nationally-recognized speakers could be brought in to speak for the $60,000 the budget originally called for.
Ultimately, the committee voted to leave the Varsity Day line at $60,000 for the speaker unchanged.
SSFC also reconsidered the budget for the Working Class Student Union. The committee addressed concerns made by WCSU regarding cuts made to the summer hours of their paid position.
Ultimately, the committee voted to restore the Finance Coordinator position to 12 hours per week for 13 weeks from the eight hours established in the initial budget decision.
SSFC Rep. David Vines said he felt this decision struck a good balance. The organization adequately explained that the Finance Coordinator has the most work to do during the summer and that eight hours was not sufficient to accomplish this, he said.
“I think 12 hours would be much more appropriate,” Vines said.
SSFC unanimously voted to approve a final budget of $48,142 for fiscal year 2013-2014 for WCSU.