College News

Wisconsin Association of Black Men wins lawsuit against finance committee

Student Judiciary ruled in favor of the Wisconsin Association of Black Men after the group filed a lawsuit against SSFC.

Image By: Jon Yoon

The Wisconsin Association of Black Men won their case against the Student Services Finance Committee Thursday, granting them the opportunity to make their case for student funding.

WABM’s funding is contingent on the successful completion of their eligibility application to regain status as a Registered Student Organization, which the group must do within a specified time frame.

WABM submitted an incomplete application to SSFC before the school year started, but their application was denied after a decision by SSFC Chair Jordan Gaal. The organization then sued the body in order to present its eligibility for student fee funding.

However, WABM claimed that Gaal did not notify the group that the extra form could have been submitted by the late submission deadline. WABM also said that SSFC’s practices were not clearly communicated and Gaal did not have the power to single-handedly deny their application.

WABM members Kenneth Jackson, Christian Eken and Dilibe Offiah and others filed the complaint on behalf of the organization, claiming the following:

  1. SSFC’s failure to publicly post standing rules violates due process
  2. Gaal’s unilateral decision to reject WABM’s application is an unjust use of ASM texts and bylaws
  3. SSFC holds registered student organizations to non-standardized and vague application forms, violating due process

Student Judiciary — the judicial branch of ASM — sided with WABM overall and in two out of three claims.

In the first and third claims, Student Judiciary ruled in favor of WABM. Student Judiciary found that the absence of SSFC’s standing rules did not provide the knowledge necessary to request a late eligibility application form, and that the wording in applications and other documents was unreasonably vague.

But they did not rule in favor of WABM’s second claim. They argued that Gaal was within his rights to dismiss the incomplete application since “such a failure in this case can be reasonably assumed to include dismissal of the application at hand, given the missing attachments in the application.”

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