For those who haven’t heard, SSFC denied the Campus Women’s Center (CWC) eligibility to receive GSSF funding for next year, which means we will lose the $100,000 annual budget we have been receiving, as well as all “non-consumable” items that were purchased with segregated fees, including our computers with thousands of dollars worth of software, our printer, our TV, our couches, chairs and tables, filing cabinets… you get the picture.
So we did what ASM leadership advised and applied for an operations grant that included all of our basic operating costs for next year, excluding salaries for staff and all expenditures on events, which can’t be covered by an operations grant. The budget we requested was approximately $38,000, and the Finance Committee clearly thought it was reasonable and fiscally responsible because they awarded the CWC $33,100. Keep in mind this is still less than a third of our current budget, and the prices we listed for things were lower than we would end up paying because without GSSF status, we would lose access to university pricing on the majority of our supplies.
But some people still thought this was too much money to give to one group, so the SSFC Legal Counsel, Kurt Gosselin, and the SSFC Secretary, Matt Manes, motioned to cut the CWC operations grant by $26,000 last night. Through debate, and a series of other motions, it ended up being cut by $16,000 or so. End result: Student Council cut the CWC’s budget but more than 50 percent, without hearing from the Finance Committee or seeing a CWC budget hearing, and they barely discussed any of the other groups before passing all of the grants.
This not only immoral and biased, but it is not viewpoint neutral, which means it’s illegal.
The best part was when chair of the Finance Committee, Matt Beemsterboer, went against his committee’s wishes and joined the misogynistic crusade against the CWC as the feigned “moderate” by proposing that they only cut the grant by about 50 percent. How generous.
We really do appreciate that we’re even receiving the $15,000 that we were granted last night. But that does not excuse the illegal and inappropriate way in which it was approved and the utter dismissal of the Finance Committee’s original decision. In every other funding decision this year, Student Council has trusted the committee’s recommendations and rarely made changes.
The worst thing about this process is that we are unable to appeal the decision, because this session of Student Council is over. I suppose we could appeal to Student Judiciary, but at this point, what would come from it? This is unjust and reeks of petty grudges. I can’t help but think that a few members of ASM had a vendetta against the Campus Women’s Center, MPOWER, or even just me. But grow up. You’ve created a horrible situation in which no one wins and all of campus loses. Congratulations.
Tina Trevino-Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Program Coordinator for the Campus Women’s Center.