As I was reading The Badger Herald this past Tuesday night, I stumbled upon a familiar story and an all-too-familiar name: Matt Manes and his attempt to get student segregated fee funding for the Medieval Warriorcraft League. Along with the fact that “warriorcraft” isn’t a word, I’m going to let the news sink in for a moment.
The issue of the General Student Services Fund and what types of groups provide enough of a direct service to the UW student population has been a long standing one now. Charles Godfrey argued the flaws of segregated fee allocation a few weeks ago in the context of the group Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics receiving GSSF funding, but that issue is trivial compared to the group at hand.
The Badger Herald Editorial Board also ran an editorial in October on Manes and his attempt to receive funding for the MWL, highlighting the fact that he is a former SSFC chair, and guessing, logically so, that Manes’ attempt at receiving funding for MWL is his sadistic way of showing the flaws in the current GSSF system.
But as I sit here in December and see MWL steadfast in its mission, pushing further in the funding process, I can’t help but to bring this situation to light again. The fact that MWL is still in budget meetings, showing that it somehow “execute(s) direct service(s) for the entire student population” in the GSSF eligibility criteria clearly demonstrates a need to overhaul our dysfunctional GSSF system and replace it with something, well, practical.
The SSFC is required to show viewpoint neutrality in determining funding decisions for GSSF groups or groups wishing to become GSSF eligible. While I clearly don’t possess neutral feelings on the matter, viewpoint neutrality isn’t the issue. It’s that Manes, through his previous experience as SSFC chair, is able to exploit the funding criteria to prove direct service when virtually no students on this campus would desire such a service. He is able to show direct service where no service is being done and when it clearly doesn’t cater to the entire student population. He just has the knowledge and experience to complete the work necessary to become and remain GSSF eligible.
Just as absurd is the fact that the group is requesting $136,000, more than what 13 GSSF-eligible groups received for the 2012 fiscal year, masqueraded behind a need for paid staff and initial equipment investment.
If it looks like shit and smells like shit, chances are it probably is shit. And Manes just dropped some pure, Sunday-morning beer shit in the urinal that is ASM. By continuing to hear his funding requests, SSFC is taking your segregated fees and giving it right back in the form of poop dollars.
The SSFC needs to have the ability to drop the notion of viewpoint neutrality when funding issues as asinine as this arise, or they need to change the process of viewpoint neutrality and GSSF funding all together.
I know I’m not the only student who doesn’t want to see their segregated fees go to this group. SSFC needs to provide a direct service to the student body by generating a new system of evaluating GSSF desiring groups, Manes needs to end this ridiculous funding plot and students need to challenge both Manes and SSFC to medieval sword battles until they do.
By Tim Poellmann (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior majoring in marketing.