The Associated Students of Madison’s Student Council vetoed the College Student Council Funding Stream Wednesday, denying the proposal to grant funding to student councils created within certain educational departments if they reached a specified voter turnout quota in student elections.
“I was supportive of ideas behind it when it was proposed last May,” ASM Chair Brittany Wiegand said. “But I think it’s been distorted and changed from its original intent, so I’m fine that it didn’t pass.”
Although the funding stream was denied, the proposal inspired much debate.
According to Student Council Representative Paul Bemis, the funding stream would encourage student educational departments to develop government-like bodies.
Bemis added the stream would provide a link between ASM and individual colleges. In exchange for funding, the department student councils would create a representative body in the college to facilitate communication with ASM.
“[It] will give incentive for other departments to organize something to this nature,” Bemis said. “ASM is too broad to provide specific and effective aid to students on campus. This could also increase voter turnout in spring elections and increase communication.”
The University of Wisconsin currently has five recognized groups of this nature, including the College of Agriculture’s CALS Student Council, the School of Business’ Undergraduate Business Leadership Council and the College of Engineering’s Polygon.
The majority, however, objected to the idea of tying funding with voter turnout, calling it an “immoral” and “philosophically wrong” practice.
Those in opposition to the stream also voiced concern about the possibility of a “Don’t-Vote” initiative taking place across campus in hopes of preventing an increase in segregated fees.
The committee also discussed revising the proposal to hold the student councils to different standards than those of general student service fund groups.
“I was originally in support of [the funding stream], but given the nature of the discussion, I warmed up to the idea of attaching [General Student Service Funds] requirements to the fund,” Student Council Representative Jeff Wright said. “Rather than tailoring to all students, the college council would just have to tailor their services to the people in the college since they are only serving their council.”
In the end, the opposing voices prevailed and the stream was vetoed by an 8-3 vote.
The Student Council also passed the bus pass budget of about $3.8 million, allowing for an increase of more than $100,000.
The new budget allows for an 86 percent increase in SAFEcab to provide more service to students and a $400 increase in the daytime campus bus transportation service.
The majority of the budget also consisted of $2.7 million for the Madison Metro bus program voted under a three-year contract by previous Student Council representatives.
Although the Student Council passed the bus pass budget, the budget is still subject to Chancellor Biddy Martin’s review.
The council also made the finalized approval to the tenant rating website as well as the Student Print. Both the website and Student Print were passed by unanimous votes.