The Associated Students of Madison specified its goals for tenant rights Thursday and began a discussion about student health care.
Nearly a month after a proposal by Campus Relations Chair Philip Ejercito to help UW-Madison students with tenant issues, ASM officially nominated three people to a committee focusing on tenants’ rights.
Ali Khorsand, Joseph Laskowski and Elizabeth Stinebaugh will join Ejercito in forming a coalition between ASM, University Health Services, University Housing and the Tenant Resource Center to assure students get fair treatment in the housing market.
The committee’s goals include a comprehensive renters’ guide, a centralized database with information about landlords and housing units, an education program for students in residence halls and a stronger relationship with the city.
ASM will also be meeting with representatives from UHS and the UW System to work out a plan for student health care. The current Student Health Insurance Program, ASM Chair Jessica Miller said, does little for students.
“SHIP is in dire straits because the only people buying into it have serious health problems,” Miller said.
Consequently, she said, the program is very small and very high-risk and expensive.
Last year Miller and others threw out a plan that would have required all students to join SHIP unless they specifically opt out of it.
While this may bring the costs of the program down, she said, students may not be aware of their choices and end up paying for a program they do not need.
Thursday’s meeting marked only the beginning of discussion, with a representative from UHS outlining the issue.
“We’re not going to do anything yet,” she said. “We’re going to try and work with [UHS and the UW System] to make a better plan of awareness.”
ASM also approved Last Minute Operations Grants for student groups voted on the acceptance of Shared Governance appointees to university committees.
The Last Minute Operations Grants, available for groups who applied for Finance Committee funding after the ASM deadline, were approved for 52 of the 57 applying organizations. Four organizations were denied funding because they had not shown up at the initial applications process, and one group, Sex Out Loud, was disqualified because it was an organization funded by the General Student Services Fund.
GSSF groups are funded strictly by the Student Services Finance Committee, which funds larger budgets.
Operations Grants were only available for budgets up to $600, and are intended to cover the costs of printing, office supplies and other minor necessities for smaller or start-up groups on campus.
Most budget requests were cut in order to make certain all groups could receive some funding.
The total amount available for funding was $17,705, but ASM came in slightly under this amount, using only $17,503. The additional $202 will be transferred to Travel Grant money.
ASM also voted unanimously to appoint 113 nominees to Shared Governance Committees. ASM made applications available to the student body in September, ultimately nominating these 113 students to fill various positions and alternate positions on 39 university committees.
? N. Zeke Campfield contributed to this report