After a student group requested more than $1 million in student fees, the content of the group’s financial documents cites a mission of promoting inclusiveness on a campus characterized as “privileged” as reason to inflate the budget.
The Multicultural Student Coalition was the only student group to apply for the waiver required for budgets of more than $250,000 from the Student Services Finance Committee, but it will now be required to slash its $1.27 million budget after the waiver was rejected as a result of missing the final deadline.
According to the completed waiver form, which was sent to The Badger Herald by a member of SSFC, emotionally charged rhetoric concerning a large-scale effort to change campus climate was used as justification for the group’s budget spike to $1,270,488.20 for 2012-2013.
The group, which has been on campus for nearly 10 years, laid out $696,525 for programs, $75,000 for rent expenses and $448,653.20 for staff salaries among its top expenditures in the proposed budget.
“As people from marginalized identities, community is the most important aspect of self-preservation and defense against the hostile environment that is UW-Madison,” the waiver said. “Our budget is a reflection of that.”
The language of the waiver also identified education as an area that must play a key role in shifting the university environment to promote inclusiveness to all students and creating a community coalition to promote better support for multicultural students.
MCSC leadership also said the organization would employ the increased funding to host trainings and student programming and hire additional professional staff – which would create a change affecting nearly 42,000 students to “alter the face of campus.”
The text of the waiver continues, “Money talks … especially to white people.”
Members of the multicultural student group also took issue with the student segregated fee allocation process, particularly a question on the waiver form that asked groups to prioritize expenditures should the group only be granted a portion of their requested budget.
In the text of the waiver, MCSC leaders characterized the request to rank services to students as “atrocious” and composed in a “Eurocentrist spirit” that implies non-majority students are bound to the duty of educating other students.
SSFC Chair Sarah Niebart disputed the claim that the process violates viewpoint neutrality policy and said she offered training on how to complete the waiver process to all General Student Service Fund groups, which MCSC did not accept.
Neibart also said the waiver form was not analyzed because it was received past the final deadline of Monday, Sept. 19 at noon.
She added the requirement of prioritizing services aims to ensure a group’s direct services are not cut in the event that the budget must be trimmed to meet the restraints set by the cap.
In response to charges that the wording of the form embodies “white privilege” and violates viewpoint neutrality, Niebart said all GSSF groups on campus are granted the same opportunity to apply for funding and all budgets are reviewed in the same manner.
Members of the MCSC Executive Board declined comment on the waiver or the group’s next steps in the budgeting process.
Correction: The original story incorrectly stated the deadline for the waivers was this past Tuesday. The correct deadline was Monday at noon. We regret the error.