University of Wisconsin’s student government addressed their role in the Mifflin Street Block Party in their final meeting of the semester last night, ultimately resulting in the endorsement of an alternate entertainment event.
Associated Students of Madison’s Student Council convened to consider the May 4 proposal, which suggests a music festival sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Directorate to be held on the same day as the upcoming Mifflin Street Block Party.
The proposal, which was drafted by ASM Chair Andrew Bulovsky, came as a surprise to many on the council, as ASM previously stated they would not be involved with Mifflin.
According to ASM Vice Chair Maria Giannopoulos, despite involvement in the May 4 proposal, ASM does not hold a formal stance on the Mifflin Street Block Party.
In an email to The Badger Herald, Wisconsin Union Directorate President Sarah Mathews said unlike most other universities, UW does not have an official end of the year celebration with a nonacademic focus.
“Student leadership at the Wisconsin Union Directorate has decided to work on this to make this a reality,” Mathews said.
WUD reached out to ASM to involve them as a potential banner event for the university.
Matthews said ASM’s support would add additional resources, practical policy knowledge and connections to the proposal, which would be very beneficial for the event.
“I think it is up to ASM leadership to decide internally whether they want to be formally involved or partner with this initiative,” Mathews said. “They’re the elected representatives of the student body, after all, and I think it would be a great student-serving event for them to be involved with.”
Legislative Affairs Chair Daniel Statter argued against the event, noting the proposal says it is a non-alcoholic music festival but then later states that alcohol will be provided to those who are of age.
Statter also said the proposal wants the event to be an “organic, student-led initiative,” but it is clearly in response to the Mifflin Street Block Party.
“This resolution is filled with erroneous statements and we should not pass this proposal,” Statter said.
In an interview with The Badger Herald, Madison Police Department spokesperson Joel DeSpain said MPD Chief Noble Wray has been trying to put an end to the annual Mifflin Block Party, adding that the May 4 proposal could be a step in that direction.
“If this is a proposal to move the event to a more controlled space without the same level of alcohol consumption, that would fall more in line with what the chief hopes to see,” DeSpain said.
ASM Rep. Olivia Wick-Bander said while there is a problem with binge drinking on campus, hosting a music festival would not fix that problem.
However, because of the block party’s problematic history, ASM Rep. Devon Maier argued it is important for ASM and the university to support an alternate event.
“I really see this legislation as an opportunity for ASM to get institutionalized support behind an alternative event to Mifflin,” Maier said.
Despite some opposition, student council voted 12-7 in favor of the legislation, ultimately putting ASM’s stamp of endorsement on the event.
Bulovsky said he is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity for students to involve other students in an alternate event.
“This directly serves the student body, and we can be proud of the decision we made today,” Bulovsky said.