The Multicultural Student Coalition presented its request for funding eligibility to the Associated Students of Madison student council Thursday. Despite Chancellor David Ward’s order that student council determine whether the group is eligible to be funded through student fees this week, council pushed the decision to next week.
The Student Services Finance Committee denied the group eligibility last fall. After the Student Judiciary upheld the committee’s ruling, MCSC appealed to Ward, who sent the decision to council.
While Ward said council had to decide if the group is eligible for funding this week, council members said they needed additional time to formulate their opinions on the group’s funding. ASM Chair Allie Gardner said officials from the chancellor’s office told her postponing the decision until next week would be acceptable.
But Diversity Committee Chair Niko Magallon said taking another week is against Ward’s request and is unfair to MCSC members, who drafted their presentation within five days. He said if council grants the group eligibility, it will only have until the end of the week to set a budget for the group.
“I feel like it was a very privileged decision,” Magallon said.
Several members of various student groups told ASM that MCSC helped their groups through trainings and other services, and said MCSC losing funding would be a detriment to the campus climate.
Student Labor Action Coalition member Jonah Zinn said budget cuts have influenced universities to cut down on programs that benefit multicultural students on campus, and student groups have begun to see the same effect. Zinn said student council needs to defend marginalized students who suffer from the programs being cut.
“If students aren’t going to stand up for students’ interests, then no one will,” Zinn said.
While SSFC ruled in the fall that the group was ineligible for funding because it did not spend over half its time directly serving students, MCSC members said the group spends at least 64 percent of its time directly serving students.
But SSFC Chair Sarah Neibart said she stands by her committee’s decision this fall, and does not believe student council is adequately trained to make a decision on MCSC’s eligibility.
“Student council members were asking questions and getting disgruntled because they were getting confused, and it just shed light on the fact that SSFC is a very specific body,” Neibart said. “I think it’s really important that those decisions stay in SSFC.”