To address concerns over the apportionment of seats within the Associated Students of Madison, the Student Services Financial Committee met Monday to discuss ways to fairly allocate seats on student council.
All students are eligible to vote for student council representatives from their respective school or college. For example, students in the School of Engineering can only vote for engineering representatives.
Student representatives are responsible for advising the chancellor regarding issues of student life, services and interests. They are meant to represent the needs of the students, specifically in their school or college.
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During the spring 2017 elections for ASM, 33 representative seats were filled. Of those seats, 12 were allocated to students that belonged in the College of Letters and Sciences. The next highest apportionment went to graduate students, which was allocated six seats.
In the 2015-16 school year, 15,015 undergraduate students and 8,904 graduate students were enrolled in the College of Letters and Sciences. Rep. Brooke Evans said ASM has “overapportioned” seats on student council for L&S.
“If you’re in L&S and you have two or three majors, your apportion is two or three separate people, so there’s just this overapportion of L&S on Student Council,” Evans said. “So, that’s why it makes up over half of the [Student Council].”
Concerns arose when there were mentions of exclusions of certain parts of the student body. As of the last election, there was no specific seat for students in the Farm and Industry Short Course, transfer students or international students.
Barring these specific groups of students means there is a lack of representation in these areas, Evans said. Therefore there is a lack of embodiment of these specific student’s needs.
Evans mentioned there has been appropriate apportionment of seating at other schools in the University of Wisconsin system, such as UW-Milwaukee, and they “have been very successful.”
Ben Smith, the Student Judiciary vice chief justice, will hold a reapportionment public meeting on March 27 to further discuss the ways ASM can fairly allocate seats.