Saturday, August 24

Jewish Student Union renews appeal for increased funding


The fate of an appeal made by the Jewish Student Union for
additional funding from the undergraduate student government will
be decided this week by the body’s judicial board.

The organization filed for an appeal to the judicial board after
its original appeal to the Undergraduate Students Association
Council was denied last quarter.

Last summer, JSU received $3,240.05 for base budget funding. The
group later sought additional funds to aid in outreach and
retention programs and were denied. JSU is currently seeking an
increase in the organization’s programming budget by $1,541
dollars.

USAC President Anica McKesey said in a rebuttal brief that
funding from the base budget is not to be used for programming
needs but for day-to-day operation costs such as telephone usage,
supplies and postage.

Justices from the judicial board will meet in a closed
preliminary hearing at the end of the week to discuss whether to go
further with the case. If a hearing is granted, both sides will
present their case.

“We’re not really deciding on the case, but deciding
on whether we have jurisdiction or not,” said Chief Justice
Mark Belgen.

Appeals can be made to the judicial board if an organization
feels there was a lack of opportunity to speak before a funding
committee, if there was a procedural error that jeopardized the
proposal, or if the organization believes there was unfair
treatment.

JSU appealed to council in September when its request for
additional funding was rejected by the Budget Review Committee.

The committee, which reviews budget requests from campus
organizations and recommends the approved proposals to council,
denied the original request saying the Jewish Student Union did not
adequately explain its reasons for additional funding.

Representatives of JSU said criteria used to review the
proposal, such as student retention, was too narrow. Maintaining
that retention is not “a one-size-fits-all endeavor,”
the organization believes the committee inadvertently discriminated
against it.

Council, however, rejected the appeal saying the criteria used
were valid. Only two council members voted in favor of JSU’s:
General Representative Josh Lawson and Financial Supports
Commissioner Erica Husse. Lawson was formerly a member of the
Students United for Reform and Equality slate, and Husse is still a
member.

JSU President Gideon Baum believes slates were a factor in the
denial of the appeal.

This year, council has a slate majority from Students First!.
Slates, likened to political parties, are coalitions of students
who help each other win seats on council during elections. Baum ran
on the S.U.R.E. ticket last spring for internal vice president.

“When you have a situation in democracy where one faction
dominates, it allows for total domination over the process,”
Baum said.

During the Sept. 23, 2003 USAC meeting, council members said
slate politics were not involved and that JSU was not treated any
differently than any other organization.

JSU said it was severely affected by the budgetary denial. In
the hearing petition, JSU said the organization was forced to cut
back on several programs. In addition to a programming budget
increase, JSU is seeking for a revision of the budget priorities
used by the Budget Review Committee.

If a hearing is granted, it is expected to take place sometime
during the third week of the quarter.

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