BRYAN FAUST/Herald photo

Approximately 15 students convened at the Stiftskellar in Memorial Union Thursday to participate in a forum about a prospective student government that could potentially replace the Associated Students of Madison.

The group looking to replace ASM calls the new organization "Student Government."

Senior Steve Schwerbel led the meeting and declared it is time for the students at the University of Wisconsin to "move away from the system of corruption."

Schwerbel said one of Student Government's main criticisms of ASM is its lack of "accountability" and "transparency."

In his opening remarks, Schwerbel suggested that ASM is too bureaucratic and that such "petty bureaucracy" has left the remainder of students uninformed and apathetic toward their own student government.

"This is not about left or right, about conservative or liberal … it's just about having a government for the students that works," Schwerbel said.

Several members of Student Government are current members of ASM or candidates in this semester's elections.

ASM Student Services Finance Committee candidate David Lapidus — who is also running for Dane County Board of Supervisors — said he considers himself a strong supporter of Student Government's ideals.

Lapidus said the fact that the Student Council has legislative, executive and judicial delegation is of particular concern to him.

"There is no longer a marketplace of ideas on campus — there is a monopoly of ideas," he said. "[A]nd that is something we need to reevaluate."

Though supporting Student Government, Lapidus remains on the ASM ballot.

He said that in the event Student Government does not succeed in overthrowing ASM and he is elected to the Student Services Finance Committee, he would represent Student Government's ideas as a member of ASM.

In reference to his dual commitment, Lapidus said, "I am running as a reformer and a supervisor to this new government. … For me, it's either reform or revolution."

Next Tuesday, Student Government will hold a meeting at which they will encourage students presently running for ASM positions to sign a contract saying they will "become allies" with Student Government.

According to Schwerbel, the contract would bind the candidates to an effort toward revamping segregated-fee policy and enhancing accountability and transparency.

Ideally, Schwerbel said, ASM candidates would immediately divert their focus to supporting Student Government.

"We feel that their reform efforts, while in the right place, are not going to work," Schwerbel said.

Some in attendance observed the display of activism for entertainment rather than to show support for Student Government.

Wisconsin Union Directorate President Janell Wise agrees ASM needs to change but thought Student Government's forum was more of a "media stunt" than anything else.

"I don't think a meeting in [the Stiftskellar] without any apparent organization is the way to reform a student government," she said.

Eric Varney, chair of ASM, commended supporters of Student Government for trying to implement such a radical change but did not grant much credibility to their efforts.

Varney said Student Government's forum was "comical at best" and criticized Student Government for using the recent voting complications as an excuse for its sudden uprising against ASM.

"ASM hasn't changed at all in the last week," Varney said.