A committee of the University of Wisconsin’s student government met Monday to continue budget hearings for fiscal year 2013-2014, hearing from two student organizations, including a hearing for the Multicultural Student Coalition.
The Student Services Finance Committee of Associated Students of Madison heard the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 from the MCSC, an organization that works to improve campus diversity climate. It also experienced a funding conflict spanning almost the entirety of last school year.
MCSC presented its budget with a significant decrease in the amount of funds requested for the upcoming fiscal year.
MCSC member Libby Wick-Bander said due to the financial difficulties the organization was facing, it no longer had the capacity for a larger budget. At the end of last semester, SSFC voted to freeze the budget for MCSC for 52 weeks during the current fiscal year due to allegations of intentional policy violations, she added.
“We wanted to prioritize direct services over partial direct services,” she said.
Wick-Bander said SSFC cut MCSC’s budget and a lot of programs down.
SSFC Rep. Devon Maier noted advertising was important for the direct services offered by the organization. He asked if MCSC would benefit from an increase in the advertising line of its budget.
“We don’t have enough money in advertising,” she said. “We would like to put more money in advertising, but not at the expense of our programs.”
Supporting Peers in Laid Back Listening, a student organization that offers an anonymous peer-based support system online, presented a budget of $39,819.80 for fiscal year 2013-2014 to the finance committee.
According to SPILL President Abby Forss, the budget is a $16,266 decrease from the previous fiscal year. She credited this decrease to the large amount of funds SPILL had left over in its previous budget.
The under-spending in the previous budget was due to over-estimations made by the organization, Forss said. The organization was relatively new and did not have a previous budget to look to at the time, she explained.
Forss cited decreases in the advertising, supplies, furniture, printing and salary lines of SPILL’s budget.
Regarding the advertising line, Maier asked SPILL to speak to the effectiveness of its promotional advertising.
“[Promotional advertising] is extremely effective,” SPILL Vice President Michelle Gargus said. “Advertising is the only way to get the word out about the organization.”
Gargus said SPILL hands out promotional items at events such as the Chancellor’s Convocation and new student night at the University Bookstore and buys ads on Facebook and in the campus newspapers.
During the budget hearing, Forss advocated for including a sunset clause on the vice president of confidentiality position in the salary line of the budget, which was the only salary where it was asking for a decrease.
Forss said the organization is attempting to purchase new software that would decrease the hours needed for the position. However, the organization was running into roadblocks with its purchase, she said, and the sunset clause would ensure the salary could be adjusted if the purchase did not go through.
SSFC will vote on whether to approve the budgets for SPILL and MCSC at its next meeting Thursday, Nov. 29.