The Student Services Finance Committee approved Tuesday a budget for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán and heard the budget proposal for Wisconsin Black Student Union.
In a roll call vote of 8-0-4, SSFC granted MEChA a budget of $70,504 for fiscal year 2020, a reduction of $3,343.50 from the previous year’s budget.
MEChA is a group that hopes to create higher education opportunities for Chicanx students, according to their webpage.
SSFC further reduced MEChA’s proposed budget by $3,578.50 through amendments. Most notable was Rep. Cooper Beckwith’s passed motion to reduce all academic yearly salary lines from 33 weeks to 30 weeks, which resulted in a budget reduction of $2,520.
Beckwith said she discussed the change with MEChA, and stressed they were comfortable making it given their previous underspending in the category.
“This brings them a lot closer to what they spent last year while also giving them a little room for growth this year,” Beckwith said.
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Rep. Henry Galles said he was initially concerned with the group’s budget request for supplies and furniture, but he felt comfortable the funds would be used responsibly after the group showed an effort to conserve their resources.
Rep. Jon Kim said MEChA had explained why they underspent in the past. Although the group had struggled with its spending in the past, Kim said he thought SSFC had done what they could to correct the group’s budget.
“This is a group that tragically underspent their budget in fiscal year 2016 to 2018,” Kim said. “But looking through their programs, I don’t see what more we could do without affecting their programming, so I’m comfortable going forward with this.”
WBSU presented their budget following the vote. The group requested $52,743, a reduction from the group’s last budget of $58,593.
WBSU’s mission is to provide a space for the black community on campus and to create a well-rounded community, adjusting to educational, social and political aspects in the lives of black students, according to Nzinga Acosta, the first year finance ambassador for the organization.
Kingsley Pissang, the group’s president, said WBSU had struggled in previous years to transition between old and new staff. For instance, she had initially been made president of WBSU while studying abroad, but the distance made the transition period difficult.
Problems with transitions not only led to problems fulfilling duties and responsibilities for WBSU, but also created difficulties with salary payments within the organization.
“This is definitely a trend that is not going to continue,” Pissang said. “Our old board did the best that they could, but there are a lot of inconsistencies.”
SSFC will deliver a budget decision for WBSU Monday, Nov. 26.