Associated Students of Madison Student Council faced controversy over a failed Student Services Finance Committee appointment at the last meeting of the semester Wednesday night.
Student Council also voted to approve the General Student Services Fund, Student Judiciary and Student Activities Center Governing Board budgets.
SSFC representatives Jon Kim and Cooper Beckwith encouraged Student Council to fill an open position within SSFC with a two-thirds vote and bypass the typical nominations process. Beckwith put Jessica O’Neil, co-director of Adventure Learning Programs, forward as a nominee.
SSFC Chair Jeremy Swanson said bypassing the typical nominations board process due to rare and special circumstances “is absolutely necessary” at this point to assure that SSFC can assist students as quickly as possible once the new semester begins.
“I would not be moving for this possibility if I didn’t think it was absolutely necessary that the SSFC have Jess — who is incredibly qualified — on the committee as soon as possible to get acquainted with the committee and to get started, to get the ball rolling and start making a difference on behalf of students of this university,” Swanson said.
Chair of the Nominations Board Adam Fearing objected to the move, saying that if Student Council goes forward with this, it would set a negative precedent of chairs appointing their own members. Fearing said the motion was unnecessary as the position would be filled eventually.
Rep. Dylan Resch expressed concern over not only the precedent of the motion but the constitutionality of it. Resch said the motion was not only unconstitutional but also unethical as it did not afford opportunity to all University of Wisconsin students.
“The bylaws aren’t always favoring students, but in this case, it is clear … [that it is] intended that any opening in student government should be open and given notice to all students who are qualified to apply,” Resch said. “That’s the way it has always been.”
The movement failed in a vote of 3-10-5.
Student Council also passed the GSSF budget for the fiscal year 2020 with a vote of 13-0-0. Swanson lauded the budget as “fiscally responsible.” The GSSF budget spans 16 student organizations and totaled $1,079,164.13.
ASM also passed the Student Judiciary budget of $36,555 for the 2020 fiscal year with a vote of 12-0-0.
SSFC votes to defund GAC in ASM budget, approves ASM internal budgetThe Student Services Finance Committee gathered to decide the internal budget of the Associated Students of Madison and the Student Read…
The 2020 SACGB’s budget totaling $338,182.97 passed with a vote of 8-3-1 after the budget was amended to continue paying SACGB members with a vote of 8-2-4.
Student Council also heard a presentation given by Jocelyn Milner, vice provost of Academic Affairs and director of Academic Planning and Institutional Research, about the Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Project for March 2019. The HLC project will focus on the requirements UW must meet to remain accredited.
“Accreditation is all about you as students and your experience,” Milner said.
The project will look at the university’s mission, integrity, teaching and learning quality, resources support, evaluation and improvement, resources, planning, and institutional effectiveness. These topics focus mainly on UW’s academic standards but will also touch on the “learning environment.”
HLC will also run a student opinion survey, which will be sent to students’ university emails between Jan. 21, 2019 and Jan. 30.
While addressing whether certain issues would be in the report presented to HLC, Milner said the committee is trying to show HLC why UW should be accredited, not why it shouldn’t.
“Some controversies on campus are really good evidence that we meet the criteria, but not all controversies,” Milner said. “One of the controversies we do include is the discussions over the specially commissioned report from the chancellor’s study group on the group known as the Ku Klux Klan and the subsequent issues around that.”
Next semester, Student Council plans to fill the SSFC vacancy, as well as other vacancies within Student Council, promote student attendance at Shared Governance meetings, inclusive dining options and expand mental health resources for students.