Members of the University of Wisconsin student government said Monday they are deliberating the best procedure to appoint a student representative to the new governing board for the period after the campus becomes a public authority.
The topic of how the proposed sole Board of Trustees student member will be selected was one of many broached at a public information session on the New Badger Partnership hosted by ASM Monday. Roughly 10 people attended.
“We’ve discussed the possibility of a student appointment, having the position as a seat in ASM or holding a student election,” ASM Chair Brandon Williams said. “Currently, no conclusion has been reached.”
Adam Johnson, ASM vice chair, said the group also considered having the ASM chair serve during the interim period between the beginning of the campus’s public authority status and when students arrive on campus for fall 2011.
He said the group likely would not decide until at least finals, so the representative would likely only serve one and a half years of their two-year term.
He also said a popular election by the student body could “price students out” of campaigning for the seat, a common practice at UW’s Big Ten peers. Some students spend upward of $10,000 for a single campaign, he said, which also usually yields an elected official from the Greek community.
“We have to ask ourselves: Is that the atmosphere we want to promote on our campus”? Johnson said.
Additionally, the university will continue tuition remission for graduate students working approximately one-third of their time as teaching assistants, a tenet that is unchanged by the state budget.
Teaching Assistants’ Association Co-President Kevin Gibbons said in an earlier interview with The Badger Herald that Martin and other campus leaders are unable to offer an assurance that the status of remission will not change.
Gibbons said TAA wants affirmation that remission will be guaranteed over time and members do not have much stock in the statements offered because they are currently not under contract.
UW junior Ellen Leedle said she thinks Martin “has painted a pretty rosy picture” of only the best-case scenarios possible if the partnership is implemented.
Shared Governance Chair Melissa Hanley expressed some concerns with the potential model, adding the possibility of eliminating funding for research projects, such as stem cells, would remain under the new proposal, which she said still exists in the current governing structure.
Sam Seering, vice chair of Associated Students of Madison state affairs committee, reiterated the key distinction between Chancellor Biddy Martin’s proposal and the recent plan from the UW System to increase autonomy for all campuses is that the Regents’ plan does not advocate public authority status.
The UW System’s Wisconsin Idea Partnership proposes increased flexibilities for all campuses while maintaining the Madison campus under the governance of the Board of Regents.
Seering also said while Gov. Scott Walker has not taken a direct stance on the Regents’ recent proposal, he has previously expressed support for granting flexibilities to individual campuses after UW.
“The Wisconsin Idea Partnership does not propose public authority status for any university,” he said. “The Regents are asking for flexibilities for the system, and the governor has expressed support for individual campuses at this point.”