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EDITORIAL: Decisions inconsistent after new round of SOF

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Illustration by Rob Gebelhoff/robert.gebelhoff@marquette.edu

Illustration by Rob Gebelhoff/robert.gebelhoff@marquette.edu

Turning away from the decision it made in October, Marquette Student Government Senate granted full student organization funding to MARDI GRAS to subsidize its trips to both New York and New Orleans this spring. The organization will receive $8,000 in funding for the spring semester after being denied the $10,000 it requested in the fall.

While beneficial to student service initiatives, this decision reveals great inconsistencies in MUSG’s opinions and legislative decision-making.

In the fall, MUSG Executive Vice President Zach Bowman, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, cited previous funding allotments and lack of fundraising as reasoning for the denial.

“We’ve been very supportive of MARDI GRAS throughout their entire time as a recognized student organization, but as we look forward, we noticed that they will continue to ask us for money in perpetuity unless at some point we say that we think we could be spending this money somewhere better,” Bowman said in October.

MUSG since changed its view on MARDI GRAS, as the group is again receiving student organization funding. This change of heart came despite MARDI GRAS not making any major changes as an organization since fall. It is still planning its usual spring fundraising efforts and is following through with its plan to add a trip to New York for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in coordination with St. John’s University.

It looks like the MUSG is the sole variable in this equation. The student government demonstrates a lack of confidence and consistency in its own SOF decisions, which is not a good message to send to other student organizations requesting funding allocations.

MUSG’s initial decision to deny funding to MARDI GRAS in the fall was unfounded, and while it is appropriate for the group to receive funding this semester, MUSG’s flip-flopping shows inconsistency through the SOF allocation process. This makes for a more confusing process to student organizations seeking financial assistance.

Recently, MUSG voiced its intent to open the dialogue with students on the SOF allocation process. Though the recent allocations are beneficial to MARDI GRAS and other organizations who received spring semester funding, it is proving to be a monologue, with MUSG acting as the sole voice on the matter.

If MUSG is to maintain a solid and open relationship with student organizations, a concrete foundation needs to be established with all who are involved in SOF processes. MUSG’s inconsistency in initially denying all MARDI GRAS funding and fully granting the most recent financial request makes it unclear what its intentions are. Students are left wondering how confident MUSG is in making important decisions for the undergraduate community.

This most recent event shows MUSG’s lack of resolve with previous decisions, a notion also noticed by members of the Senate who opposed the allocation. MUSG should legislate with conviction and with a strong basis of evidence, providing the best outcomes for students.

The SOF process remains a point of confusion for many student organizations, and MUSG going back on previous rulings with little basis or explanation does not make it any easier for students to understand. Being clear about how the process is set up will be important going forward so student groups do not reach the same confusion in the future.

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