The Associated Students of Madison took a vote of no confidence in the University of Wisconsin Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and passed legislation on workers’ rights, emergency housing and Student Health Insurance Plan aid restructuring at Tuesday’s meeting.
ASM justified their vote of no confidence in Vice Chancellor Lauren Heller by citing his action to block the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund on two separate occasions. Student leaders claimed Heller intentionally gave misleading legal arguments and refused to meet with students impacted by those employed under him.
Attendees at Tuesday’s meeting had a chance to voice opinions and support for the legislation, including alumna and staff member at the UW School of Nursing Diane Farsetta.
“I want to applaud you as students and just say that you are doing what all moral and upstanding members of a community need to do, which is to think about the systems that you are a part of,” Farsetta said.
ASM drafted legislation to address UW’s COVID-19 policies as well as the administration’s response to student requests for discussion and shared governance on COVID-19 policy.
UW is currently following Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s orders on face coverings, social distancing and campus access, according to the UW Campus Operations webpage. Additionally, UW is receiving and distributing vaccines as they are available and testing students on campus with the help of the Safer Badgers app, data which is available on the COVID-19 dashboard.
Academic staff member and twice-enrolled UW student Marybeth McGinnis commented on the university’s conduct amid the pandemic during the open forum.
“Administration is fighting ASM on the work [they] are doing, in part because they are afraid of losing power and in part because they are afraid of losing money they already earmarked for themselves, without asking for your permission,” McGinnis said.
ASM also passed the Workers’ Rights in a Pandemic legislation, which calls on the UW administration to provide employment and payment continuity for all UW employees during the pandemic. It also calls on admin to extend the $15 per hour wage floor to student workers and commit to budget-building processes involving campus unions and front-line staff.
ASM to propose COVID-19 Student Relief Fund for direct student aidUniversity of Wisconsin student leaders announced plans Friday to create a COVID-19 Student Relief Fund dedicated to aiding students financially Read…
Additionally, ASM passed the Emergency Housing legislation recognizing housing as a human right, in addition to proclaiming homelessness and eviction a threat to not just students, but the Madison community as a whole.
The legislation called on Gov. Evers to authorize the use of public buildings — including University of Wisconsin buildings — to provide housing to homeless individuals.
The SHIP Restructuring to Aid Students legislation proposed an examination of comprehensive health coverage for UW students and international students for the duration of their visas.
The legislation demands SHIP to restructure its payment periods. It would also grant the sponsors of the legislation a meeting with SHIP administrators. ASM also passed this legislation.
Academic staff member and member of United Faculty and Academic Staff labor union Claire Michaud spoke in opposition to the UW administration on health-related service issues.
“[It] has been, in my experiences here, unsupportive of students when they need it, unsupportive of workers when they need it, which is especially apparent now as we are experiencing a public health crisis that has been mismanaged from every single level,” Michaud said.
Blank and Heller, as well as other administrators, declined to attend Tuesday’s meeting, ASM Rep. Jack Phillips said.
ASM, BIPOC Coalition students share rationale behind UWPD vote of no confidenceIn late September, ASM passed a vote of no confidence in the University of Wisconsin Police Department. The vote followed Read…
Though three major pieces of legislation were adopted, a lot of work will go into them before they are enacted, Chair Matthew Mitnick said.