The Associated Students of Madison met Wednesday with several University of Wisconsin administrators to discuss their goals as organizations and find avenues to collaborate.
Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Lori Reesor and several other members of her office outlined the newly revised student affairs administrative hierarchy, and answered questions about their role to ASM members.
Reesor said the job of the student affairs office is to make sure all students can succeed not only academically, but also personally, mental health-wise and in all other aspects outside the classroom. Reesor said the biggest problem her office faces is communicating to the greater student body about the services they offer.
“We know by research that we need to take care of the whole student,” Reesor said. “We’re here to be sure we can provide these resources for students.”
ASM Chair Laura Downer asked about new UW legislation which could limit student organizations’ abilities to use vehicles, like UW fleet vehicles. The administrators noted her concern, and Student Affairs Chief of Staff Argyle Wade said they’d opened efforts to get Registered Student Organizations the travel access they need.
Representative Anna Barry asked about the free speech amendment introduced into the Wisconsin congress this summer, created to protect free speech on college campuses. Dean of Students Christina Olstad answered her question, addressing free speech and the presence of hate speech on campus.
“We are a public institution, and there are some hateful things that people can say that are protected by the first amendment,” Olstad said. “One of our goals is around social justice and inclusion.”
Shared Governance Committee Chair Amol Goyal asked about student affairs’ new three year advancement plan. Associate Vice Chair Mark Guthier said the plan would focus on philanthropy, outreach and generating support from alumni across colleges. Guthier’s team hopes to draft a plan by January.
Director of University Health Services Jake Baggot responded to a question about ASM’s ability to make tangible change from Student Services Finance Committee Chair Jordan Pasbrig. Baggot mentioned the mental health task force commissioned last year, which passed recommendations to help UHS to expand their services.
“Your voice was heard loud and clear last year … but it’s especially heard on the issues of mental health,” Baggot said. “Because of the work that was done last spring … we were able to hire ten new mental health professionals this summer … That’s a very tangible way you made a difference with your voice.”
ASM passed legislation to recognize and thank the League of Women Voters. The LWV registered 2,389 students to vote during the ASM bus pass drive, which is double that of last year. The legislation passed with a vote of 14-0-2.