Derek Montgomery

The Student Service Finance Committee met Thursday night and approved the 2005-2006 budgets for the Adventure Learning Program (ALPS) and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA).

After more than two hours of open forum, mostly discussing concerns from Multi-Cultural Student Coalition (MCSC) representatives and supporters, SSFC quickly approved the ALPS budget after a clerical error was amended by $37.52 in salary, bringing their total annual budget to $113,294. The decision was unanimous at 13-0.

“The ALPS students presented a strong presentation and the committee listened to our concerns,” Steve Crosby, ALPS advisor, said. “I was happy with the outcome.”

The committee justified the salary increases and included a wage exemption in the budget, which will allow ALPS employees to work more than 20 hours a week, an extenuating circumstance, because most of the group’s work is largely seasonal.

Quickly following the ALPS budget approval was the approval of the new MEChA budget, which was set at $48,846. Their budget was cut $120 because of a mathematical error in the travel budget.

The most widely debated and amended issue of the evening was the MCSC budget, following the active open forum. Most representatives felt very strongly about the issue, and felt any cuts in the budget would severely negatively affect their organization.

“It’s the relationships I’ve made on campus that makes me want to come back, and the MCSC has helped a lot with that,” said MCSC member Lauren Woods.

The committee and MCSC representatives respectively volleyed arguments back and forth.

“You’re seeing the numbers, not the faces, not the people,” Lorenzo Edwards, MCSC member, said.

The MCSC proposed a $482,322 budget, and into the wee hours of the morning it had been tentatively cut by $51,869 dollars, $14,000 of which consisted of salary expenses for summer employees.

MCSC listed salaries high on their list of things that should not be cut, and the committee tried to respect that even though similar amendments passed and failed and members tried to re-pass comparable cuts.

“Obviously salaries are a problem and a compromise needs to be made,” said ASM Finance Chair Barbara Kiernoziak.

The committee debated this particular issue at length, some members arguing 600 hours a week was more than sufficient for the organization.

SSFC amended travel expenses totaling $873.98, mostly because state law limits the amount organizations can spend on hotels in different states.

The committee re-amended an advertising budget issue from a previous meeting because of what one of the representatives in open forum mentioned.

The committee re-granted $1,053 for an advertisement in The Madison Times after dialogue between SSFC and MCSC members. MCSC representatives claim the periodical appeals to people of color more so than other local periodicals, and even though the advertisements in the Times cost twice as much as other local periodicals, the committee decided MCSC’s explicit choice of newspaper was a good reason to grant the organization the funding for the ad.

The committee debated the office supplies budget at length and in detail and passed an amendment to cut the budget by $3,747.48.

Debate went into the early hours of the morning and SSFC’s final budget decision for MCSC still had not been made as of press time, and no amendments are final until concluding approval of the entire budget.