SUFAC took center stage tonight, first with a well-attended Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee meeting, and then with a lengthy presentation during the Student Government Meeting.
Marshall Hansberry, director of SUFAC, sent out an email to student organizations on Friday, November 9th, saying that because of extremely limited student input into allocation of funds, no decisions would be made on the proportions of allocations until the regular SUFAC meeting on November 12th. Hansberry again asked for input from student organizations on what budgeted activities should be given preference; travel, speakers, and student events were among the possibilities that were listed.
In response there were a flurry of emails, beginning with one from Jeff Anderson, former SUFAC vice-director and former vice-president of SGA, saying that last year’s allocations did not work, and that many clubs had funding drastically cut while others were fully funded, and also that the funding category for travel was being drastically cut, which would seriously impact some clubs, for example, Mock Trial and UWS Women’s Hockey Club.
As a result, there were more than a dozen people attending the Monday night SUFAC meeting, asking for an explanation of the procedure by which segregated fees are allocated. Director Hansberry explained that while organizations request between $500,000 and $600,000, the total amount to be allocated is only around $200,000. To be fair in distribution, each organization only gets a percentage of what they have asked for in each of six categories, which also have a dollar cap per organization. Money that is not spent in one category rolls down into the next category, increasing the amount available. The travel category is at the bottom of the list, and while it is nominally being allocated only twenty percent of all SUFAC funds, in reality it has the potential of being funded at a higher rate because of all the funds from the previous categories which have met their dollar cap. There is also a discussion of creating two separate but equal categories of student organizations, with one category weighted towards travel and the other weighted towards on-campus activities.
Questions were raised about the possibility of some dishonest groups asking for much more than was required, to insure that they would get enough funds. “This year, we’ll be addressing that,” said Director Hansberry, going on to say that an auditing system is being developed, and legislation will be presented to the SGA sometime during the semester. Jeff Kahler, SUFAC advisor, suggested that one option would be to increase the size of the segregated fees.
After all the much-appreciated comments in the SUFAC meeting, the SGA was gavelled in about five minutes late, and Director Hansberry was called on to report on the student organization allocation process for the SGA. After recapping much of what he had said in the SUFAC meeting, Hansberry continued. “We’re still entertaining discussion.” Hansberry said. “A lot of people have talked to us. . . I just want it to be fair.”
Chancellor Wachter thanked everyone involved for their “Get Out The Vote” efforts. She commented that she had seen several students voting at Bong Airfield, including one person who was registering to vote for the first time.
On another note, Winterfest will truly be a community affair this year, partnering the city and community with the UW-Superior campus for the celebration scheduled for December 6th and 7th.
Also the meeting, Director Joe Stensland initiated a conversation about what resources might be available for emergency student housing. Director Hansberry and several senators said that they could see no negatives. Several senators expressed an interest in being involved with the discussion.
The meeting came to an end at 9:45.