University of Wisconsin’s student government selected a student co-chair for its newly created committee that will assist with drafting the university’s new Diversity Plan Wednesday night.

Associated Students of Madison Student Council voted to appoint UW graduate student Michael Jackson, who also earned his undergraduate degree from UW, to serve as a student representative on ASM’s Ad Hoc Diversity Plan Committee.

Jackson will collaborate as one of 25 members of the committee to increase student representation in creating the campus Diversity Plan that will begin this spring.  

According to ASM Shared Governance Chair Britt Moes, Jackson will be successful in representing the student voice because of his previous experiences. Moes said he was involved in multiple diversity initiatives during his undergraduate years at UW. 

She added a graduate student was chosen to represent undergraduate students because the undergraduate candidates did not have nearly as much experience.

“We thought that grad students – and Michael Jackson – stood out as the best candidates,” Moes said. “I know this will be a hard job and he will handle it well.” 

Moes added another co-chair for the Ad Hoc Diversity Plan Committee will be selected in the near future.

ASM spokesperson David Gardner said ASM hopes Jackson and his fellow committee members work together to keep the administration on a timeline. The first draft of the Diversity Plan is set to be released April 1. 

Gardner also said ASM hopes to keep student input involved in decisions regarding the Diversity Plan. 

“I’m very excited about the work the Ad Hoc Diversity Plan Committee will accomplish,” Moes added. “We have a great team of 25 people that represent all regions of student life.”

During the meeting, Gardner also proposed changes to certain referendum bylaw requirements. 

According to Gardner, it is currently required that students vote to have a United Council referendum every other year. With the proposed changes, a simple majority or a 10 percent petition will make decisions on when to hold referendums.

Gardner said this would hold UC accountable when students believe it is necessary, as students would have the right to contact a representative of the council whenever they think it is needed. 

Gardner also said the proposed referendum bylaws would prevent UC from wasting time and unnecessarily spending students’ money. He added ASM and UC could instead use these resources to lobby for better tuition, increased responsible action or improved safety across campuses in Wisconsin.

“My strong belief is that by leaving these bylaws outdated, we are preventing the United Council from using the money that students spend to the best of its ability,” Gardner said. “This is a necessary change to modernize our bylaws and help the United Council and ASM to work together to form a stronger position.”

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