After a contentious debate, members of the University’s Central Student Judiciary were granted only part of the money they requested from the Michigan Student Assembly at a meeting last night.

MSA passed a resolution which credited $215 to the CSJ. The resolution was passed only after a modification denied CSJ an additional $155 for a new gavel and dinners for justices.

Business Rep. Matthew Eral, chair of MSA’s Finance Committee, opposed the modification, arguing that the funds CSJ requested were insignificant compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars approved in this winter’s budget without extensive MSA discussion.

CSJ’s request for funding was not included in MSA’s winter 2011 budget because it was submitted too late to be approved. The amendment that cut the proposed funds to CSJ last night passed in a 13-11 vote with two abstentions.

MSA Rep. Michael Wagner — a third-year Law School student who proposed the amendment cutting $155 — said the cut was appropriate given that the CSJ funding resolution was not subject to standard budget procedure.

“I felt the expenditures were unnecessary, plain and simple,” Wagner said in an interview after the meeting. “I think that because the CSJ’s budget request circumvented the regular budget procedure, it warranted more scrutiny from us.”

CSJ Chief Justice John Ringwood, a third-year Law School student, wrote in an e-mail after the meeting that CSJ will now be using one of MSA’s gavels instead of buying a new one and that the funds for dinners were denied due to a misunderstanding of how the money would be used.

“Generally, MSA will not approve funds for social dinners or other meals, but we intended to use the funds to provide refreshments during our ‘Interview Day’ which usually spans over eight hours,” Ringwood wrote, referring to the day when CSJ interviews prospective members.

MSA Treasurer Ambreen Sayed wrote in an e-mail that she saw CSJ’s budget request before it went to the assembly.

“CSJ sent me their budget request originally to review, and I was fully aware of what they were requesting from the assembly in this resolution,” Sayed wrote.

Eral, who voted against the amendment, said at the meeting that CSJ’s budget request was being subjected to scrutiny that had not been applied to MSA’s much larger winter budget.

“I think that the assembly should go through every line item in detail. As (MSA rep.) Anne (Murkowski) pointed out, for $370 we discussed in detail every item, but for $391,000 we just consented without considering,” Eral said in an interview after the meeting.

But Sayed wrote that it would be impractical for MSA to approve a line-item breakdown of the budget.

“All commission budgets are originally treated to a line-item breakdown when they are first presented to me and the executive board. Then, I go on to make my allocation decisions based on these line-item budget requests,” Sayed wrote. “It would be a very inefficient and ineffective process for the assembly” to go line-by-line.

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