A frequent debate on the national stage is the efficacy of giving billions of dollars to the United Nations. Critics claim much of the money is wasted on a massive bureaucracy, while defenders declare it our responsibility to the world.
Regardless, we have no intention of entering that debate. Critiquing UW-Madison’s Model UN groups is a bit more to our liking.
Actually, our criticism of the Model UN groups is fairly limited. We do not understand why the Model United Nations student group (receiving $1,000 of student money), and the Pre-Law Society Model United Nations (receiving $300 of student money) cannot coordinate their trips to this weekend’s American Model UN conference in Chicago. At the very least travel costs could be reduced.
But that is a small gripe. What is more disturbing is the strategy the groups used to obtain travel grants. The Model UN’s requested $3,353 from the Associated Students of Madison Finance Committee — $972 for registration fees, $1,233 for transportation and $1,148 for lodging. The Pre-Law Society requested $1,440, all for lodging.
So for the same event Model UN’s requested 133 percent more than the Pre-Law Society.
Guess which group received the bigger grant?
The Model UN’s big request paid off with a big grant ($1,000). The Pre-Law Society settled for a measly $300.
While FC was right to cut each group’s request, it is unfair the Model UN’s received more than three times the Pre-Law Society, when there is little to differentiate the necessity of each group’s travel grant. Granted, the Model UN will have more members on the trip, but not three times as many.
The reality is the Model UN’s knew the best way to get student money is to ask for too much. They submitted high-priced requests for registration and transportation, in addition to lodging. On the other had, the Pre-Law society brought ASM a much more fiscally responsible request, and thus received much less money.
Student organizations are outwitting student government. They ask for too much, begrudgingly accept the “cuts” and then receive more than enough money. This week’s segregated fee abuse goes to every student organization that requests more than it needs — and the student government that is too blind to see the abuse.