The Student Services Finance Committee continued segregated fee allocation Monday night, hearing the budget requests of four UW-Madison student organizations and resolving the final budget allocation for another.
The lengthiest discussion at Monday’s meeting involved WisPIRG, the largest environmental student organization on the UW campus.
A large group of WisPIRG members and supporters met with SSFC to ask for a nearly seven percent increase in funding for the 2002-03 academic year. The group is asking for $77,200 next year, up from $72,200 for the 2001-02 academic year. This money comes from segregated fees, which every UW student pays through their tuition.
“We need this increase because we are growing and becoming more professional,” WisPIRG state board chair Megan Fitzgerald said.
Current and former WisPIRG members appealed to SSFC to fund the organization in its entirety.
“It’s been a great opportunity for me to expand my horizons and to look beyond campus,” UW student Joe Lindstrom said.
SSFC also held hearings for budget allocations for SAFE nighttime services, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano De Aztlan and the UW Labor Center.
The SAFE program is currently asking for $188,221, but this number may change. SAFEride liaison and SSFC member Matt Modell requested an extension on the decision-making hearing.
Modell wanted to put the hearing off until Oct. 22 so the organization could research the plausibility of extending SAFEride bus hours until 3 a.m. every night of the week, or at least on Thursdays.
Modell said he thinks it is ridiculous that the last bus runs at 1:45 a.m., while College Library is still open another hour.
“I want to look into safer options,” he said. “One possible option would be extending the bus route.”
Modell also wants to research the possibility of lessening or completely eliminating the SAFEwalk service, which he said actually costs the group more money per year than it brings in.
According to Modell, SAFEwalk itself costs students $63,000, which is actually only half of SAFEwalk’s total budget of $126,000. But, he said, fewer than a thousand students use the service per year.
“The number of students that use the service is relatively low, while the cost is really high,” Modell said.
However, the motion for an extension failed to pass, to the relief of SAFE Services Coordinator Jane Goemans.
“There is only one library on campus open until 2:45,” Goemans said. “To run an entire bus service for this; personally, I don’t know if it’d be worthwhile.”
SSFC members disagreed about the decision to not extend the hearing date.
“I voted not to pass the extension because I think the idea was one individual committee member’s idea, a tactic done to investigate this service, and I think this should be done on his own time,” SSFC member Scott Specter said.
SSFC reached its decision about the budget allocations for Student Information Technology, which they heard last Wednesday. SIT originally asked for $29,350, but SSFC cut this amount to $28,180 by cutting the budgeted hourly wage for employees from $11.25 to $10.50.
This frustrated SIT chair Rich Lingk.
“I think it’s a little insulting that they would lower the student hourly rate simply on the merits of keeping the wages in line with what the other students make, given that this is extremely technical, specialized work we do,” Lingk said.
MEChA and the UW Labor Center also asked for more money than they were budgeted last year.
MEChA requested $41,399.50 for the 2002-03 academic year, up from $39,740 this year, and the UW Labor Center requested $10,360. Last year the UW Labor Center asked for $8,356.
Budget cuts, amendments and final decisions on these three groups’ requests will be made Wednesday, Oct. 10. SSFC is currently in its second week of a month-long allocation process.