[media-credit name=’RAY PFEIFFER/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′][/media-credit]Amid a federal lawsuit with the University of Wisconsin System and four UW-Madison administrators, the UW Roman Catholic Foundation requested student-segregated fee funding Monday night.
UWRCF presented their budget proposal to the Associated Students of Madison's Student Services Finance Committee and also sought contract group status.
The "contract status" designation, which SSFC did not approve, would have allowed the committee to receive student-segregated fees even though they are not run completely by students. And according to SSFC representative Chrissy Harbin, contract status would have allowed UWRCF "to have greater accounting practices, in theory, and give them more control over their budget."
According to former UWRCF employee Beth Czarnecki, the Roman Catholic Foundation is the largest student group on campus, serving more than 100,000 students each year.
The group requested funding for additional full-time staff, and Czarnecki said it is crucial for UWRCF to have full-time staff along with part-time student help because of the organization's size.
Czarnecki also said UWRCF asked many UW departments to sponsor their group — including political science and religious studies departments — but all refused sponsorship due to the group's "religious nature."
Other line items on UWRCF's budget included print funding, a Sunday night theology group, staff development and training, office supplies and a study lounge.
UWRCF student representative Andrew Forecki said funding for non-student staff members is crucial for the organization because it is not feasible to expect students to run the organization by themselves.
"I can attest that UWRCF staff have greatly improved my experience here on the UW campus," Forecki said. "[Students] do not have the training or experience in campus ministry that is needed, and that our staff members possess."
Currently, 17 percent of UWRCF's budget is funded by student-segregated fees, and the remainder of their budget is filled by fundraising and donations.
"We would like our students and full-time staff to be free from these fundraising burdens and to allow [them] to focus on meeting the needs of the thousands of students who use our center each week," UWRCF representative Nicolas Haun said.
Other groups on campus that have contract status include student radio station WSUM, which is sponsored by the UW School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the LGBT Campus Center, which is sponsored by the UW Dean of Students Office.
In other action Monday, SSFC also heard a budget proposal from the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, or WISPIRG, which requested funding for programming, travel, staff development, staff salaries and national membership fees.
One of the programs WISPIRG requested funding for was its "Big Red, Go Green" campaign, which promotes responsible energy use on campus.
UW political science professor Benjamin Marquez attended the meeting and advocated for the increase in WISPIRG funding for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
SSFC will make final budget decisions regarding UWRCF, WISPIRG and the CALS Student Council's budget proposals at their meeting Thursday.