Despite ongoing efforts to increase accountability for members in Associated Students of Madison, the Student Services Finance Committee voted to reject an amendment Thursday which would mandate stricter attendance policies for its members.
Discussion about proposed changes to the current attendance policy raised controversy among several members of SSFC. As it stands, the attendance policy states members of SSFC must attend 75 percent of all scheduled meetings. Beyond that, they receive an unlimited number of excused absences to use as they see fit.
Rep. Jacob Victor favored the proposed attendance policy which would require members to fill out forms requesting excused absence. The reasons SSFC members have had to miss meetings would have been seen as excusable in other student organizations, Victor said.
“I just think our bylaws before [in regards to attendance] were a little stringent and not adaptable to the attendance we’ve seen this year,” Victor said.
Victor argued the new attendance policy would hold members more accountable to attending meetings. Under the current attendance policy, Victor said representatives could theoretically miss every fourth meeting without punishment.
Victor expressed the importance of SSFC members showing commitment to the organization. The new attendance policy is not “too flexible,” Victor said.
“Our current attendance policy is broken,” Victor said. “It doesn’t work.”
Those in opposition to changes in the attendance policy included Rep. Jeremy Swanson and Rep. Dylan Resch.
Resch favored the old policy because SSFC members could be brought up for impeachment for both excused and unexcused absences. Swanson believed nothing about the current attendance policy was too restrictive.
Resch suggested SSFC meetings be tracked throughout the duration of the school year to provide a better sense of the number of meetings being held.
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“This new policy is more lenient, and I don’t think that’s a direction we want to take,” Swanson said.
SSFC Chair Jordan Gaal encouraged committee members to think about the future of the committee. Gaal said the committee cannot base an attendance policy on hypotheticals, and it is important to think about the direction of the committee.
Rep. Jordan Madden, however, believed the new policy would provide some form of transparency or accountability for SSFC, which he said the committee needs.
Ultimately, the new attendance policy failed to pass by a narrow margin.
“Sorry that we’ve taken an hour to pay ourselves to talk about attendance again,” Gaal said.