ASM unanimously adopted resolutions on paying international telecommuting student employees and inclusive pass/fail grading during Tuesday’s meeting

The telecommuting resolution called on the University of Wisconsin to continue the employment of students working virtually internationally. At the start of the semester, UW reversed its policy on telecommuting, opting to no longer extend hourly positions to student employees telecommuting from outside the U.S.

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In an emailed statement, UW communications director Meredith McGlone said UW made the decision because it would require the university to account for various domestic and international payroll rules as well as cybersecurity and data privacy safeguards. McGlone said complying with so many requirements would divert staff from other responsibilities.

During the meeting’s open forum, ASM International Student Outreach Ambassador Cecilia Cui said international students do their jobs well whether or not they were working from within the U.S. She added that discontinuing payment for employees telecommuting internationally was discrimination against international students.

“It is important to pay the international student, since we’re the same as any other students, no matter who we are or where we are,” Cui said. “The school told us international students on campus are welcome, and we’re gonna treat you equally the same as any other student, but apparently in the pandemic, the school is not doing that.”

According to an email sent to ASM that was shared at the meeting, UW made a policy change that allowed ASM representatives to be paid still if they were working internationally, citing the “mission critical function that ASM provides.”

The legislation ASM passed tonight requests for this to be extended to all students working internationally during this time.

Rep. Lennox Owino said ASM members’ work should not be valued more than telecommuting students’ work.

“The reason as to why we have this problem to begin with, is the fact that the administration is prioritizing the people whose work they think is more important,” Owino said.

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ASM also passed legislation asking the university to add a pass/fail grading option for this semester, similar to what was used in the spring semester. The Cap Times reported that Provost Karl Scholz said it was too late in the semester for the school to make a change to its grading policy.

After the meeting, ASM Chair, Matthew Mitnick and Nomination Board Chair Lennox Owino expressed their disappointment on Twitter after UW Dean of Students Christina Olstad logged out of the meeting early.

Tonight was ASM’s last meeting of the fall semester.