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Saturday, June 15, 2024
The Palestinian flag waves above the Pro-Palestinian encampment at Library Mall on May 4, 2024 in Madison, Wis.

SJP is the eighth-highest ASM grant-funded student organization for next fall

Students for Justice in Palestine initially requested $2,076.39 from ASM, but was granted $5,553.43 for the 2024-25 academic year.

The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) approved over $5,500 in grant allocations to Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for the 2024-25 academic year — the eighth-highest allocation of all 119 student organizations that received grant funding at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

SJP, a pro-Palestinian student organization, was among 119 student organizations sharing $174,541.01 in ASM grant allocations funding for the 2024-25 academic year. 

SJP and the Young Democratic Socialists of America organized the 12-day pro-Palestine encampment on Library Mall.

Only club baseball, Badger Ballroom, Swim Club, The Issue, Wisconsin Engineer Magazine, The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism and Journal of Undergraduate Science and Technology received more, ranging from $5,621 to $12,000. 

Registered student organizations (RSOs) can begin using these funds on July 1, according to an email from ASM chair Dominic Zappia. 

Funding is given to organizations in good standing with the Center for Leadership & Involvement. The grant allocation committee must provide funding in a “viewpoint neutral manner,” according to ASM, regardless of the beliefs of those serving on the committee or the RSO requesting funding. 

A look into SJP’s application and grant hearing shows the bulk of their funding came from   “Space/Equipment Rental.” SJP was granted the fifth-highest allocation for this category, receiving $3,350 after initially requesting $400. 

According to the audio recording of their April 13 grant allocation meeting, this increase was due to a need for U-Haul transport and storage, booking off-campus venues and film rights. 

The U-Haul fund covers monthly storage at about $100 per month and 10 trips at about $25 each. These trips would be used to transport from retailer to storage locker to event space and back, according to an SJP representative at the hearing. 

Representatives gave two examples of how the U-Haul may be used for transportation. 

In the April 13 meeting, they referenced plans for upcoming events related to displaying 14,000 Palestinian flags on Library Mall and building a mock apartheid wall. 

U-Hauls were spotted at the deconstruction of the encampment on May 10. But there is no evidence ASM funds were used for this, and the funds approved for the upcoming academic year would not yet be available.

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A U-Haul truck leaving the UW-Madison encampment after campus administrators and protesters reached a deal on Friday May 10, 2024.

The other category increase comes from “printing,” SJP received a total of $1,016 compared to the $389 requested. 

This increase was due to a need for color printing, according to the allocation meeting. 

“This is very important as a political engagement organization. We need to print out flyers and informational materials for a lot of our tabling and methods of spreading the word,” an SJP representative said in the hearing. 

In their proposal, SJP requested 12 Amazon Prime subscriptions. Under Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), a leader of Palestinian economic resistance, Amazon is listed as a “pressure target.”

A company listed as a pressure target “includes boycotts when reasonable alternatives exist, as well as lobbying, peaceful disruptions and social media pressure,” according to BDS

However, the 12 Prime subscriptions were not mentioned in the hearing and were seemingly deducted from the total requested despite being listed in the application.

This funding comes from a portion of student segregated fees, according to the ASM website

During the encampment, SJP encouraged funding for supplies, bail funds and mutual aid via Venmo, PayPal and Cashapp set up by professors and a doctoral candidate. Supplies from the People’s Kitchen were donated by local restaurants, local community members, faculty and supporting organizations, according to protesters. 

SJP organizers did not immediately respond to inquiries about the spending or amount of money raised for the encampment and mutual aid.

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Bryna Goeking

Bryna Goeking is the arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on campus news. Follow her on twitter @BrynaGoeking.

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