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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


SSFC rejects budget proposals from The Black Voice, Effective Altruism

Committee rejects proposals over misspending, lack of core programming
Sami Bitat

The Student Services Finance Committee met Monday evening to hear funding applications for registered student organizations and debate approvals for prior budget proposals.

The budget proposal for The Black Voice, an online news publication focused on the experience of Black UW students, was ultimately rejected after a lengthy debate amongst the panel members and two rounds of discussion by the committee. The organization requested approximately $3,000 to be added to their new budget, primarily to hire a copy editor, according to The Badger Herald.

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During the first round of discussion, a violation of an accountability requirement from past leaders’ failure to submit an end of year report was called into question. The transgression was made by directors of the previous year’s board who have since graduated, editor-in-chief Tatiyana Benson said.


The sensible choice would be to give The Black Voice the benefit of the doubt pertaining to their failure to uphold the end of year report policy, SSFC Rep. Madeline Hutnik said.

“It seems unfair to punish new leadership over the actions of previous leadership,” Hutnik said.

The violation was ultimately waived after two-thirds of the SSFC voted in favor of pardoning the current leadership due to circumstances that lay out of their control.

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The committee then discussed certain violations of The Black Voice’s budget expenditures which some of the representatives referred to as “egregious misspending.”

SSFC Rep. Alex Beer disclosed to the committee that The Black Voice only spent $200 out of the near $22,000 they were allocated for programming funding, but still used $19,000 out of the $20,000 allocated to pay salary positions.

In an effort to add context of The Black Voice’s spending, SSFC Rep. Shia Fisher — who voted in favor of approving the budget proposal — highlighted the significant stress that accompanies leading an organization on top of being a student.

To this point, Fisher asked Benson why student RSO leaders don’t always spend what they’re allocated.

“I think that sometimes there are clerical barriers that get in the way, and some students have a more difficult time navigating campus than other students,” Benson said. “I can think of a lot of boards that have lost funding from ASM, and a lot of those boards tend to serve similar communities. There’s just a lot that goes on for every individual student, and it’s kind of hard to say when you are elected for a whole year what the next year is going to look like.”

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The Black Voice’s budget proposal was rejected by a 3-5 vote with four abstentions.

The committee also voted to reject Effective Altruism’s budget proposal.

There was brief debate over this decision prior to the vote, where some representatives noted the organization had met all the requirements for funding. Those in opposition said Effective Altruism failed to provide ‘core programming’, which is programming that provides educational benefit, but differs substantially from what students can get through coursework.

Effective Altruism’s budget proposal was ultimately rejected by a 3-4 vote with five abstentions.

The panel of SSFC representatives listened to budget proposals from the Muslim Student Association and Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment student organizations during the meeting.

The MSA requested a total of $36,570 for their budget, disclosing that the majority would be spent on honorary religious guest speakers and their transportation, food and beverages for the organization’s events and programs and salary for staff positions.

PAVE requested $98,310 from the committee, stating the funding would go into numerous campaigns with a focus on awareness of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault and intersectionality. In their proposal they shared many of the essential programs would be staff-based, funded through salary lines.

The SSFC will meet again Thursday to vote on these proposals.

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