Vending machines fund social justice grants at UWSP

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point receives $5,000 per year to spend on "social justice" events through its vending machine contract.

Eligible events must promote "service-oriented programs and social justice concepts," which effectively precludes conservative events, according to the president of the school's TPUSA chapter.

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point offers student groups grants to hold “social justice” programs as part of its campus vending machine contract.

“Inspiration Grants are available for recognized UW Stevens Point student organizations to promote innovative service-oriented programs and social justice concepts that are new to this campus,” according to UWSP’s website.

Each year, the website explains, the school receives $5,000 as part of its contract with Canteen, Inc, with the funds earmarked for “student organizations who seek to increase the involvement of UW Stevens Point students in service and social justice issues.”

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Supplemental documents state that students are encouraged to use the funds for “promotional materials (printing, t-shirts, yard signs, etc.), speaker fees (honorarium, lodging, travel, meals), movie royalties, food (nominal snacks, program related food – i.e. Hunger Banquet), facility rental, travel (vehicles, lodging), technical support, supplies for the event, gifts, equipment Rental, [and] banquet/luncheons.”

The criteria for the grant states that the proposed event must be one that “promotes service-oriented programs and social justice concepts,” and “seeks to solve a problem or improve a situation, rather than maintain status quo.”

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Emily Strangfeld, president of Turning Point USA at UWSP, told Campus Reform she is “disappointed that the university doesn't acknowledge the conservative students on campus who remain in the minority,” contending that restricting these types of grants to “social justice” events serves to effectively exclude conservative student groups.

“They claim to want diversity and to be welcome to all, yet they do not support conservative voices,” she said. “So just because a student lead organization declares they are ‘social justice group,’ they would be able to apply for even more money.”

A disclaimer at the bottom of the Inspiration Grants website asserts that UWSP “does not endorse events funded through the Inspiration Grant fund,” but also states that “an Inspiration Grant proposal is a written contract between the student organization and UWSP.”

Michele Miller, who is listed as the point of contact for information about the grants, did not respond by press time to a request for comment from Campus Reform.

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