The Associated Students of Madison unanimously passed legislation in support of transgender athletes, COVID-19 Student Relief amendments and other measures Tuesday.
The Protecting Women in Sports Act prompted the ASM legislation in support of transgender athletes. The Wisconsin Assembly bill — introduced March 2 — aims to bar transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports in K-12 schools, University of Wisconsin System schools and technical colleges.
The ASM legislation demands the UW System and UW-Madison legally challenge the Protecting Women in Sports Act should it be signed into law.
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Student Council Rep. Adrian Lampron sponsored the legislation to send a message of support to transgender youth.
“I think it’s important for us to send this message to trans folks at our university and to state that we recognize you exist and are allowed to play sports, just like anybody else,” Lampron said.
The legislation in support of transgender athletes passed unanimously with no points of debate. The council also discussed the ACLU and Amnesty International Zoom event next Wednesday at 7 p.m. for the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
The council also reviewed the revised COVID-19 Student Relief Fund legislation. The legislation has now been amended in consideration of the main issue of third-party involvement through the Tenant Resource Center, which administrators said violated UW System policies about legal segregated fee uses.
Under the new legislation, ASM will try to work with the university to disburse the funds through the UW Office of Financial Aid, which would eliminate the third-party issue. The amendments also specified that no university body, including the Bursar’s Office, could deduct segregated fees from the fund disbursements.
Through the Mask Ambassador Committee, student government leaders would be allowed to receive direct financial aid in the form of stipends and scholarships. ASM chair Matthew Mitnick emphasized that with a combined ASM member effort, the proposal should be accepted by UW administration. The revised COVID-19 Relief Fund also passed with unanimous consent.
“I legitimately think that [the proposal] will work, and we have spent a lot of time on this,” Mitnick said. “The common characterization the administration has issued for us is that we are misleading the student body by passing things that we know can’t be implemented. Legitimately, this proposal is soundproof legally.”
In a written statement to The Badger Herald, Mitnick said the revised fund will be sent to Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Lori Reesor, Chancellor Rebecca Blank, UW System President Tommy Thompson and the entire Board of Regents Wednesday morning.
Mitnick said the council made “extreme concessions” to address administration’s concerns and develop a plan in direct collaboration with them. If any concerns arise, Mitnick said the council hopes administrators will be willing to meet directly with the legislation’s sponsors to mitigate any problems.
“If the administration continues to challenge this fund, this proves that they really do not care about legalities,” Mitnick said. “Rather, they care about their egos and will continually deny any efforts to give students compassionate aid.”
Coordinator Crystal Zhao spoke on amendments to the tribal affairs position, which passed by unanimous consent. Rep. Chris Unterberger spoke on data additions to the legislation about mandatory fees remission.
The Student Services Finance Committee legislation alteration to change eligibility term length from biannual to annual also passed by a necessary second consecutive vote after passing last council meeting.
During nominations, the council nominated and appointed Rep. Brian Li to the Mask Ambassador Committee.
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Despite some support for canceling the April 13 council meeting due to heavy ASM meeting scheduling that week, the motion failed during voting. Vice Chair Lammers was one of the representatives who voted against canceling the meeting.
“I know that there’s a lot of pieces of legislation coming up … I want to make sure that we are respectful with that and make sure that we’re being, as it is our last few weeks, that we’re going out on a strong note,” Lammers said.