In the process of approving a funding budget for the American Indian student organization Wunk Sheek Thursday, the Student Services Finance Committee made strong statements about what items segregated fees should fund.
By cutting funding for food, parking permits and trips to national conferences from Wunk Sheek's proposed budget, SSFC representatives sought to set precedents on what a student organization's budget — paid for by University of Wisconsin students' tuition — should include.
After SSFC Representative Eric Saar made a motion during Thursday's committee meeting to cut more than $5,000 from Wunk Sheek's proposed travel budget, SSFC Rep. Barbara Kernoziak quickly voiced her support for limiting the number of members an organization can send to a national conference.
"I agree with this amendment and I will make this amendment for every organization after this," Kernoziak said. "I don't think segregated fee money should be sending over 40 total people [between other organizations requesting such funding] to national conferences."
While both Saar and Kernoziak understood the value of organizations sending its members to national conferences, the committee agreed with them that two members provided sufficient representation for a student organization and voted in favor of Saar's proposed budget amendment.
Later in the meeting, Kernoziak and Saar continued to introduce motions that were meant to "set trends" for which budget items the committee should allocate funding.
Proposing to cut over $3,000 from Wunk Sheek's proposed programming budget intended to go toward food, Kernoziak said she believes food should not be at the center of an organization's event.
"I don't think any event sponsored by segregated fees should have food be its primary component," Kernoziak said. "I want people to come for the cultural showcase, not because, 'Oh, some Wunk Sheek chef cooked.'"
The committee later amended this proposal, restoring $500 to the program budget for Wunk Sheek's "traditional feast event," saying food is sometimes "necessary" to provide a cultural benefit.
"In most cases, I don't think food is a necessary component of any program," Saar said, "But in this case, the cuisine is beneficial to the cultural and educational value of the program."
Despite the cuts to their proposed budget, Wunk Sheek representatives left Thursday's meeting satisfied, understanding the SSFC's rationale in making its decision.
"Personally, I felt like they had decent amount of justification for the cuts," Wunk Sheek co-chair Martin Salas said.
With over $90,000 in segregated fee money to work with, Wunk Sheek is looking forward to the opportunities the money will provide.
"November is a big month for us, and we just needed to get the funding out of the way," Salas said.
For the SSFC representatives, more budget decisions are on the horizon, with a $500,000 budget proposal from the Diversity Education Program, tabled by the committee until its next meeting on Oct. 24, the most pressing.
"It's a very large budget," SSFC Representative Tim Schulz bluntly told the committee. "[By moving it to Monday] we will be able to make a better decision."