University of Wisconsin student names flooded the speakers list at a student government meeting after a council member asked the council to postpone debate on the proposed Campus Services Fund, which aims to support services deemed vital to the student body.
Student Services Finance Committee Chair Matt Manes asked the Associated Students of Madison’s Student Council to postpone considering the CSF in order to work through suggestions University Legal had made regarding the proposal.
The request came after council members were informed the initial deadline for voting on the CSF bylaws was not as rigid as they initially thought, effectively freeing up two months time, Manes said.
Representatives from student groups, including the MultiCultural Student Coalition, Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group and other concerned students came to the meeting and criticized the CSF and ASM’s outreach to students.
UW senior Etonde Awaah said the responsibility of the council is to pay attention to students and listen to their feedback.
Awaah said the council has not made the effort to reach out to students and has not been fulfilling its purpose.
“Why aren’t you letting students know about these proposals”? Awaah asked the council
WISPIRG Secretary Allie Gardner said she felt the discussions involved in drafting the CSF had been done under-the-table and she thought there was a better solution, one in which students have a voice in creating.
Gardner said ASM needs to empower students and create opportunities for them.
Manes said he did not understand what else could be done in order to include these groups in the decision-making process.
“I feel like I have done all I can to reach out,” Manes said.
He added the burden of outreach cannot only rest on him; other council members need to stand up and work on it as well.
After the speeches made in open forum, representatives entered debate about consideration of the CSF.
University Affairs Chair Kyle VandenLangenberg said he has spoken to a lot of people about the CSF and he believes people have a fundamental problem with the proposal.
“It is a waste of time to postpone the CSF because this body is just going to vote it down,” VandenLangenberg said.
Representative Zach Ivans said many of the students who spoke in open forum were upset because they were not involved in the foundations of this proposal.
Ivans added tweaking the proposal would not change its fundamentals.
Representative Ace Hilliard said people showing up at the meeting means people have legitimate concerns and are fed up with their leadership.
“Postponing this is like not listening to them,” Hilliard said.
At the end of the day, this is their money ASM is dealing with, Hilliard added.
Some council members did urge other members to consider delaying the proposal in order to make adjustments needed.
Nominations Board Chair Andrea Nichols said if any of the members were unsure about the proposal, they should vote to postpone it.
She added the fact students came to the meeting led her to believe they should postpone it in order to hear more feedback
Further discussion surrounding postponing the CSF debate will be taken up at the next meeting.