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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Group claims SSFC held illegal meetings

Collegians For a Constructive Tomorrow representatives accused members of the Student Services Finance Committee Monday of illegally holding a closed meeting to discuss last month's budget decision to minimally fund the organization.

However, SSFC members said the meeting never happened, and even if it had, it would not have been in violation of student government bylaws.

Citing an e-mail written by SSFC representative Kellie Sanders, CFACT representative Peter McCabe said the meeting was "bigoted" and was intended to "stifle" and "slam down" CFACT's attempt to challenge SSFC's decision.

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"The intent is clear," McCabe said in a phone interview Monday, "The representative was trying to put together an army to defeat us, even before the case was heard."

The ASM student judiciary plans to hear CFACT's viewpoint-neutrality lawsuit against SSFC today. Sanders' e-mail, obtained by the Badger Herald, stated the meeting was originally scheduled for Nov. 22.

McCabe said such a meeting would have been in violation of ASM bylaws, which prohibits SSFC members from holding closed meetings.

SSFC representatives said CFACT is simply misinterpreting the law, citing that the law only refers to meetings where there is a "quorum" of members — in this case, the e-mail was sent to only three SSFC members, well below the nine needed for a quorum.

"The meeting would not have been in violation at all," SSFC Representative Adam Shlicht said. "We are allowed to discuss budgets outside of meetings, and look at the e-mail — only three members were asked to attend."

Shlicht added that CFACT misinterpreted the stated purpose of the meeting, which he said was to discuss ways to ensure segregated fee autonomy is protected in the future.

"The segregated fee process is very delicate," Shlicht said. "Given the dynamics of higher education and university administration, it's in the best interests of the students to have a dialogue to make sure rights are preserved."

The e-mail stated the intention of the meeting was to get a group of people together to "start the initial discussion about what [they] should be doing to protect [the] student segregated fee system."

CFACT representatives, though, disagree, saying the meeting was intended to prevent CFACT from winning its case against SSFC and was written by an SSFC representative who was personally against the organization.

Sanders had previously held a leadership position at the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, another political student organization on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

"[Sanders] was the vice-chair of WISPIRG, which many people see as our intellectual adversary," McCabe said. "It seems as though the author had an unusual, distorted idea that CFACT being a part of the system is an injury to the system."

Sanders, though, said CFACT was not going to be the focus of the meeting, which would have only addressed the segregated fee system as a whole.

"The meeting was regarding if CFACT's budget was continuously denied, the possibility there would be a lawsuit against the university," Sanders said. "The meeting had nothing to do with CFACT budget itself, but rather what would happen to segregated fees if there was another court case against the university."

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