After a contentious debate Monday regarding the funding of the Muslim Student Association, a Student Services Finance Committee member apologized to another SSFC member at Thursday night’s meeting.
On Monday, Rep. Jordan Madden accused Rep. Max Goldfarb of violating viewpoint neutrality when making budget decisions. Viewpoint neutrality means that when making funding decisions, committee members cannot make a funding decision based on the viewpoints of a student organization, even if they disagree with those viewpoints, according to the Associated Students of Madison website.
Goldfarb had introduced a motion Monday to deny the MSA funding because they did not meet the criteria required to be funded by SSFC. Madden, however, accused Goldfarb of denying MSA funding due to his political views, noting that Goldfarb was funded by a conservative PAC and had a Trump sticker on his laptop.
SSFC approves Muslim Student Association budget after contentious debateAt a contentious meeting Monday, the Student Services Finance Committee approved the Muslim Student Association budget in a 9-0-4 vote Read…
But Thursday morning, Goldfarb posted a statement to Facebook refuting these claims. Goldfarb said he proposed defunding MSA because they did not meet the requirements to receive SSFC funding, not because of his political opinions or those of MSA.
“Unfortunately, at the SSFC meeting on Monday October 16th I was slandered by Rep. Jordan Madden’s claims that I was allowing my personal political ideology to influence my decision making,” Goldfarb said.
Goldfarb made the motion to defund MSA because at their eligibility hearing they had asked for funding for their Peer Mentoring Program, however, at their budget hearing the program seemed nonexistent.
Goldfarb also questioned Madden’s viewpoint neutrality because Madden said if SSFC zero funded MSA it would be “perceived as racist.”
While their dispute was heated, at the end of the SSFC meeting on Thursday, Madden apologized to Goldfarb for accusing him of violating viewpoint neutrality.
“I just wanted to express to Rep. Goldfarb my apologies,” Madden said. “I understand the comments I made last meeting were very inappropriate.”
Following the apology, Madden went on to say that while he was out of line, he is unsure that he violated viewpoint neutrality.
Following the meeting, Goldfarb said he accepts Madden’s apology.
The SSFC Chair, Jordan Gaal, released a statement Wednesday regarding the possible violation of viewpoint neutrality during Monday’s SSFC meeting by reaffirming its commitment to viewpoint neutrality.
SSFC committee members receive training from both the university and the Student Judiciary regarding the segregated fee allocation process, Gaal said.
“The Student Services Finance Committee strives to uphold viewpoint neutrality in the student segregated fee allocation process,” Gaal said. “Lapses in judgment by individual committee members do not reflect the goals of the Student Services Finance Committee and do not represent the training our committee receives.”
Another comment was made regarding Goldfarb receiving funds from a Super PAC, Gaal said.
According to both the UW Office of Legal Affairs and the ASM Election Commission, there are no rules against students accepting money from a PAC.
“Transparency in student segregated fee allocation is a continued priority for the Student Services Finance Committee,” Gaal said.
Also at the SSFC meeting Thursday, the committee passed the Student Leadership Program budget and held budget hearings for Adventure Learning Programs and Badger Catholic.