It’s all about the money, honey.

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.

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