The Student Judiciary negated a decision Chancellor David Ward made last week by passing legislation Tuesday that would invalidate any student council decision regarding the Multicultural Student Coalition’s funding eligibility.
Ward ruled last Friday that the Associated Students of Madison would decide if MCSC is eligible to receive funding for the next fiscal year.
The Student Services Finance Committee decided the group was ineligible for funding in October, saying it did not spend over half of its time directly serving students. When the SJ upheld the committee’s ruling, MCSC appealed to Ward.
In SJ’s resolution, it said Ward only has the authority to intervene in the student segregated fee allocation process when ASM commits a “viewpoint neutrality violation” by taking group’s viewpoints and beliefs into account when ruling.
But the SJ holds that no such violation occurred, and stands by its decision to uphold SSFC’s initial ruling.
SJ Chief Justice Kate Fifield said the SJ is upholding students’ rights by challenging Ward’s ruling, which stands in the way of students’ right to delegate their own fees.
“It is standing up for students and standing up for ASM’s right to conduct its business without interference or mandates from the chancellor,” Fifield said.
Fifeld said while the SJ has the right to invalidate student council rulings, Ward also has the ability to add funding for MCSC into the segregated fees budget.
She said if he decided to do so, she expects the legality of such a decision would be questioned later in the budget process by bodies such as the Board of Regents.
“It really comes down to whether the chancellor respects the legality of decisions that come out of ASM or not,” Fifield said.
MCSC leadership team member Althea Miller said while she does not have a strong opinion on the SJ legislation, the group plans to continue to advocate for its funding and holds that student council should determine whether it is eligible.
“We’re going to push forth and talk to the Chancellor and get [the SJ’s] decision overturned so that we can be heard, and the SJ and anyone else is going to try to stop that,” Miller said. “It’s the nature of having a disagreement.”