Earlier this month, Student Services Finance Committee Chair Matt Manes was a man on a mission.
At issue were a string of recent rulings concerning Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group and Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, both of which SSFC found ineligible to receive funding from the General Student Services Fund. When the Associated Students of Madison Student Judiciary repeatedly ruled in the student groups’ favor, Manes decided he had had it.
He commenced impeachment proceedings on Vice Chief Justice Tim Hogan, a third-year law student, charging the judicial body did not follow proper procedure and regularly overstepped its bounds.
While the attempted impeachment never went to trial, Manes’ crusade inadvertently further shed light on an oft-held sentiment: GSSF eligibility criteria must be reformed.
When Manes met with this board earlier this month, he brought the text of a recent Judiciary ruling. Manes charged the document was proof of their disregard for working well with SSFC and talked at length about how they had gone so far as to provide their own definitions for several words SSFC uses regularly to decide what groups are eligible for funding.
These included the infamous “direct service” – something any group must prove they provide to students in order to receive funding – and the formerly undefined “tailorable” and “requestable” services.
While there may be greater issues at hand with Student Judiciary, the fact they felt the need to define these words speaks volumes about the mess that is GSSF eligibility criteria. Manes griped the impeachment process was the only way he knew to convey his frustration, but the reality is a clearer definition of how student groups can procure funding would also result in clearer rulings.
In the meantime, this board would like to point back to Manes’ Campus Service Fund proposal, which would allow essential student services to continuously receive funding without going through the SSFC process each year.
After all, SSFC is going to need some extra time to continue its endless loop of WISPIRG hearings.