The Student Services Finance Committee delivered funding decisions for Associated Students of Madison’s own Student Judiciary and approved a modest budget increase for WSUM in their Monday meeting.
The committee approved a budget of $34,100 for the Student Judiciary, the judicial branch of the student government chaired by ASM Student Judiciary Chief Justice Nicholas Checker, by a vote of 8-0, with three members abstaining.
SSFC Rep. Ronald Crandall motioned to zero fund the advertising line item, reducing it from the proposed amount of $8,000. He cited his desire for personal advocacy in campaigns regarding ASM elections as why the committee should not spend this amount.
Crandall also said he felt spending $2,000 for graphic design for a logo in the last budget cycle was “ridiculous.”
“I don’t think we should be doing general advertising, especially when who knows what they are going to use it for next year,” Crandall said. “I don’t see it being utilized wisely, which is my first problem with it.”
SSFC Secretary Jonathan Harris expressed strong disagreement against the motion. He said it has been proven spending money on campaigns increases awareness.
He also said more money spent increases awareness and voter turnout.
“If you look at how many people turn out to vote on this campus, it’s pretty low,” Harris said. “Cutting it [the advertising line in the budget], from $8,000 to zero not only affects the campaign, but it affects the candidates personally.”
To ask candidates to personally spend money or promote themselves, Harris said, introduces inequality because some candidates have a lot of money, while others do not. He said he is not asking ASM to personally fund candidates, but is rather advocating ASM to promote the campaign or the elections themselves.
After much debate, the motion to zero line funding for advertising ultimately failed by a majority vote.
The committee also approved a budget of $331,569 for WSUM, the University of Wisconsin’s student radio station, by a vote of 9-0, with three members abstaining.
SSFC Rep. Ian Malmstadt moved to strike $920.08 from the General Manager salary line, and to therefore decrease the original amount to $78,178. His motion was ultimately carried by a majority vote.
Malmstadt said when comparing last year to this year, he noticed it was above a 3 percent increase. He said he decreased the increase down to a 2 percent increase, which he cited would be more reasonable and conservative.
Speaking on behalf of the budget as a whole, SSFC Rep. David Vines said he felt comfortable with the budget.
“I have been working with WSUM for probably about a year and a half now,” Vines said. “They have been very vigilant about being fiscally responsible and I feel like this budget and their previous expenditures show that, and I am very comfortable with the budget where it is right now.”
SSFC will hold their next meeting Jan. 31, where the committee will hear budget proposals from the Child Care Tuition Assistance Program and the Student Activities Center.