Jeff Wright (middle) and others debate the merits of the budget initiative.[/media-credit]

The Associated Students of Madison’s Student Council voted Wednesday to partially endorse Chancellor Biddy Martin’s budget initiative to raise student tuition Wednesday.

The council decided on only a partial endorsement for the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates in an effort to ensure all students, as well as council members, fully understand the proposal before taking a permanent stance.

“The Student Council had only had two weeks to themselves to discuss what goes into [the budget] and then to go and talk to their constituents,” ASM Vice Chair Hannah Karns said. “A lot of people wanted two (more) weeks to go back and really get feedback from their respective schools…”

Over the next two weeks, the chancellor will develop a finalized plan to present to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.

The concerns voiced at the meeting will be taken into serious consideration during the final changes to the proposal, Martin said at the meeting.

“I’m really delighted that they’ve decided to give partial endorsement,” Martin said. “I’m hoping the answers we can provide (to the council’s questions) will provide enough reason for them to fully support it.”

If the Board of Regents passes the initiative, it would create a shared-governance committee to oversee the allocation of increased tuition dollars.

Although details of the committee still need to be resolved, the council hopes to push for equal representation among students, faculty and administration.

ASM representative Adam Sheka added the council also plans to push for the creation of a student-only subcommittee.

The subcommittee would focus on student services, said Dean of Students Lori Berquam, who also attended the meeting.

Berquam added students would have the ability to review future initiatives and be the recommending body to the chancellor.

“I think [the Shared Governance Committee] is right on in terms of the reasonableness and I think this is really representative of shared governance,” Berquam said. “That’s what we stand for, and that’s what will make a strong initiative: a partnership between staff, faculty and students.”

Berquam added she supports ASM’s decision to partially endorse the initiative as a whole.

“I’m so proud of the students for really being willing to debate this and look at all angles and be prepared to talk about the future impact and the legacy this is leaving for the students after them,” Berquam said.

The final proposal is due to the Board of Regents on April 17 before they vote on the initiative in May. Martin said she hopes to extend the date to allow the Student Council more time to evaluate the initiative .

“If that’s not workable, we’ll submit a final proposal and reserve the right to make changes before it goes to the regents in May,” Martin said.