Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Students deliver budget to Wiley

[media-credit name=’SUNDEEP MALLADI/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]ASM-SM[/media-credit]The Associated Students of Madison took another swing in their fight against University of Wisconsin System policy Wednesday night, with student government leaders claiming victory for students' rights.

ASM Student Council officially approved the budgets of all GSSF organizations that receive funding provided by student-segregated fees, which are paid by students in addition to tuition.

The approved budget includes funding for several student organizations' off-campus rent — a controversial decision that is in direct violation of UW System policy, which states that no segregated-fee funds can go toward paying rent at off-campus facilities.


Since student representatives began contesting the policy in November, a group of affected organizations came together to form the Student Rights Coalition to fight the policy.

Although the Student Services Finance Committee voted to reinsert the funding in question at its last meeting before winter break, Wednesday's meeting officially approved the budget and passed it on to Chancellor John Wiley.

Wiley will have to decide whether to approve the budget or send it back to ASM before it moves to the Board of Regents in May.

"This is a great first victory," SRC representative Rachel Butler said. "Now … the issue is about student rights, and we have the opportunity to fight for these rights with the regents."

However, Interim Dean of Students Lori Berquam said that even though she supported the students' voice throughout the process, Wiley would most likely be forced to strike the off-campus rent funding from the budget.

"The students have used their options, but if they are interested in the pursuing it with the regents I think they should do it," Berquam said.

However, according to Mike Dattner, treasurer for Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow — a group with an off-campus office — whatever Wiley decides to do, the students will form their own draft of the budget.

Dattner added that Wednesday's decision shows the unity of the entire student body.

"First it was 'a few students' having a problem," Dattner said. "Now it's 'the students' having problem."

ASM Student Council Chair Dylan Rath said the student government would continue to support SRC as the budget progresses through the system this spring.

Although he is against the decision, Student Services Finance Committee Chair Zach Frey said the students' voice is clear.

"I still personally disagree," Frey said. "It's pretty clear what the students wanted to do however, so I hope [Wiley and the Regents] take that into consideration."

Race tensions flare at meeting

Directly on the heels of ongoing discussions about holistic admissions at UW, the ASM Student Council debated financial support for diversity programming at Wednesday's meeting.

Last week, SSFC voted to cut more than $30,000 from travel and diversity programs, and also dissolved five diversity specialist positions.

At Wednesday's meeting, the ASM Student Council replaced a majority of the funding after a heated debate.

"I'm tired of this campus and administration paying lip service to diversity issues if they aren't going to pay for it; it falls upon us to advocate for that," ASM representative Sree Atluru said. "We'd be taking everything ASM has fought for (for) 13 years and throwing it in the toilet."

ASM representative Steven Lawrence pointed out that "there's no extreme lack of funding" for the various diversity projects around campus.

Sharing her own personal experience, however, ASM representative Andreall Moore said she was "bamboozled" when she came to UW and was misled about the climate for minority students.

"Roughly 10 percent of students are students of color; let's applaud them for trying. But they've been trying and trying for years, and realistically, we don't do enough," Moore said. "We'll be known as Avoiding Students of Minority not Associated Students of Madison."

In SSFC's defense, Frey said it was never their intention to "silence minorities" when it cut the funding for the positions.

After a lengthy discussion ASM decided to reinstate the funds and approved the overall budget at $730,620.

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