Tonight, the Student Service Finance Committee will evaluate WisPIRG’s latest attempt to justify their own existence. The likely scenario is that WisPIRG’s budget will be rubber-stamped, just the way WisPIRG intended when they created our sham of a student government back in the mid-’90s.
Though their funding levels have been eclipsed by many other student organizations in recent years, WisPIRG was once the big kid on the seg-fee block, and many of their members helped craft the framework for ASM and seg-fee distribution when the previous student government was dissolved. WisPIRG not only draws from the seg-fee slop trough, they helped design the trough to make it so readily accessible in the first place.
WisPIRG created many of the rules that govern organizational funding, but they often play by their own. While other organizations go into great detail about where each of your dollars is going, WisPIRG’s budget has only one line: “membership fees.” They do give SSFC an idea of where the dollars go on a supplemental form, but what little oversight and power SSFC has over other student organizations using allocable seg fees does not exist with respect to WisPIRG. Apparently, when the forefathers of ASM put the wheels in motion, they held a special place in their hearts for WisPIRG which has yet to be removed.
Incidentally, tonight’s SSFC meeting will feature a hearing from SAFE Nighttime Services, which has followed WisPIRG’s example and submitted a vague one-line budget request. It appears that a trend towards the simplified budget request is emerging after all.
WisPIRG spends their time lobbying for various liberal causes, with a special devotion to Mother Earth and her health. This year, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow will try to counter their every effort. Widely considered WisPIRG’s antithesis, CFACT shows just how easy it has become for an organization whose only purpose is to spew political ideology to ask for and receive enormous amounts of students’ money. As WisPIRG goes around convincing students to ride their bikes to work, CFACT will be letting students know that SUVs are the safest way to travel. All this is made possible by a student government-led distribution scheme that has burdened students with high tuition bills for far too long.
While the seg-fee system as we know it may or may not be constitutional, it certainly has not been able to reign in skyrocketing budgets or the size of the checks students send to the university each semester. Every year since the inception of ASM, seg fees have increased at an alarming rate — but what do you expect when you let the fox build the chicken coop?