Nneka Akubeze spoke on behalf of the Multicultural Student Coalition during open forum of Monday’s SSFC meeting. After filing the paperwork required for budgets over $250,000 past the deadline, the group’s original budget of $1.27 million was automatically denied by the committee.[/media-credit]

The Multicultural Student Coalition defended its proposed budget of $1.27 million Monday night, and asked for a student government committee to consider reneging its automatic denial of the budget, due to missing the deadline.

Student council Rep. Nneka Akubeze represented MCSC during open forum and asked Student Services Finance Committee members to reconsider the organization’s waiver form, which is a new requirement for groups requesting more than $250,000 in funds.

The group’s waiver form was automatically denied because it was turned in after the final deadline of 12:00 p.m Monday.

Akubeze said extenuating circumstances should be taken into consideration, as well as the fact that the group was unaware of the time constraint, having received a reminder email just 12 minutes before the form was due.

She added the group’s budget took more than three months to compose, and the required waiver for student organizations requesting more than $250,000 put added strain on the process.

The week-long period MCSC had to reanalyze its budget and complete the waiver after last week’s committee meeting approved the form was not an appropriate amount of time, Akubeze said.

“With respect to the waiver, I would like to urge this body to reconsider the deadline,” Akubeze said. “Our waiver is really important in this budget. We want you to actually look at all of it instead of just one-fifth of it.”

SSFC Chair Sarah Neibart stood by the denial, saying she has adhered to the policy of automatic rejection for late items since earlier last year.

“It sucks that this was not in on time, but it is not fair for me after standing through this policy since spring to go back on it for just one group,” she said.

Neibart said MCSC is the only student organization requesting a budget above $250,000, thus making it the only group required to turn in the waiver.

SSFC member Tia Nowack said the deadline was not stated in last week’s SSFC minutes nor was it audio recorded.

She said this is significant because if the deadline is not on the record, then it did not actually happen.

The committee chair unilaterally decides deadlines, and Neibart said it was sent out in an email to all General Student Services Fund groups last week.

Representative David Vines said the waiver itself violates viewpoint neutrality as only one group had made it known it would be requesting a budget that would require a waiver.

“I would argue this already was a witch hunt for a group making it known their budget would be above $250,000,” Vines said.

Vines added he did not believe the waiver was crafted with any malice towards MCSC.

Within the next few days, Neibart said she would contact MCSC asking for a new budget reduced to $250,000.

An eligibility hearing was also held afterward for Adventure Learning Programs, which offers both low and high ropes courses for any students or organizations interested in learning and practicing new skills to help strengthen group connections.

Supporting Peers in Laidback Listening also held their hearing. SPILL is an anonymous, email-based support system available to students on a 24-hour basis year round, giving them an opportunity to reach out for additional support.