College News

WABM sues SSFC over segregated fee eligibility

The Wisconsin Association of Black Men is suing the Student Services Finances Committee.

At the end of this past summer, WABM gave SSFC an incomplete application to become a General Student Services Fund group. While they had filled out the main document, the group failed to submit an additional form for first-time applicants.

After this, SSFC Chair Jordan Gaal sent the group an email that said SSFC “was not able to accept [their] application now. To hold all organizations to the same standard, the SSFC cannot accept incomplete applications after the deadline unless an extension is requested beforehand.”

WABM’s case largely claimed that SSFC’s practices were not clearly communicated and Gaal did not have the power to unilaterally deny their application.

The group would have been able to submit the extra form by the late submission deadline, but Gaal’s email did not notify them of that option.

“It's just something that doesn't sit well,” said WABM President Kenneth Jackson. “As an entity that serves students in all aspects and all forms, the SSFC, the chair and everyone who sits on the board should be trying their hardest to make sure organizations on the campus get the funding they deserve the best it can be, to embody the Wisconsin Idea, to make the school, the surrounding area the best place it can be.”

He said WABM believes Gaal and SSFC did not act with the Wisconsin Idea nor the Associated Students of Madison bylaws in mind.

Gaal stated that SSFC was bound by view-point neutrality to reject the incomplete application after the deadline in order to hold every group to the same standard. He also argued that SSFC’s policies were clear, as information is posted on their website and the group pays two full-time advisors to assist student groups.

The body is facing a similar case brought by the MultiCultural Student Coalition, which was also denied an eligibility hearing after failing to submit all application documents. MCSC’s case will be heard on Oct. 13.

Student Judiciary will issue a decision on WABM’s case before Oct. 19. 

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