Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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SSFC approves groups’ budgets

SAFE Nightime Services and Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow survived Wednesday night’s SSFC meeting with only minor budgetary changes. After a lengthy debate, the effectiveness of the SAFEWalk program was affirmed and two one-vote margins nearly kept CFACT from losing more than $73,000 in funding.

The SSFC approved SAFE’s 2004-05 budget by a 9-1 vote and CFACT’s budget by a 4-1-3 vote after intense debates over the merits of each in a five-and-a-half-hour meeting at Memorial Union.

“I feel that what [the SSFC] came up with is very fair,” Lance Lunsway, Director of University of Wisconsin Transportation Services, said of the decision to approve SAFE’s $295,602 budget with only a $3,449 cut to its original request. “I believe [SAFEWalk] is a service that the university has to provide. It’s a very important program that’s inside the boundaries of the university, and those boundaries are the responsibility of the university.”

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At issue was SAFEWalk’s use by only about 1,000 of the 23,000 students who used SAFE programs last year. SAFERide, which the SSFC stipulated must slightly increase its allotment to one ride a week per student from its current four-rides-per-month format, accounted for the other 22,000 student uses of SAFE programs.

Ultimately, an amendment to reallocate money from the SAFEWalk program to increase funding for the more popular SAFERide program was rejected, along with a discussion of eliminating SSFC funding for the SAFEWalk program altogether.

UW Transportation Services funds about half of the SAFE program. The other half comes from segregated fees, delegated by the SSFC.

“Given the numbers, given the public reaction, students don’t want [SafeWalk],” said Rep. Peter McCabe, the sole SSFC representative to vote to redirect money from SAFEWalk to SAFERide. “If we’re trying to keep people safe, then why are we paying for the more expensive of the two services?”

McCabe, who is also a member of CFACT, later cited a conflict of interest in abstaining on three crucial CFACT budget votes, including two introduced by Rep. Josh Petit that would have reduced the organization’s funding to the minimum allowable level.

Both votes, taken after intense debate and more than two hours apart, were rejected with votes of 2-2 (with five members abstaining) and 3-4 (with two members abstaining). A majority was needed for passage.

CFACT, an environmental organization that many students consider to be a philosophical alternative to WisPIRG, is applying for SSFC for the second time. It aims to solve environmental problems with a local, free-market approach and with minimal governmental regulation.

“At the beginning of the semester, [WisPIRG and CFACT] were going for the exact same contract,” Petit said. “WisPIRG is the single most productive student organization on this campus. [CFACT] has 40 staff members for managing only five campaigns. I just don’t think that was a reasonable amount.”

A final budget of $68,141 was approved for CFACT, up from $69,250 for this year. The organization would have received $4,408 had either of Petit’s motions passed, the minimum funding level allowed.

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