The Associated Students of Madison Student Council passed the legislation about shared governance restoration as well as the an internal budget alteration during their meeting Wednesday night.
ASM passed legislation calling on the legislature to amend language in the Wisconsin State Statute about shared governance, which is meant to provide legal grounds for academic staff, faculty and students’ involvement in decision-making processes at University of Wisconsin System schools.
The student leaders said that legislative wording changes made to the statute in 2015 weakened their powers within the shared governance system. Instead of students being “active participants in the immediate governance of and policy development,” students now “have primary responsibility for the formulation and review of policies concerning student life, services and interests” under the statute, according to the legislation.
The legislation was sponsored by representatives MGR Govindarajan, Reez Bailey, Emma Cline and Tyler Katzenberger.
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ASM was not supposed to vote on the legislation until a later date, but moved to vote on the legislation during Wednesday night’s meeting due to overwhelming support to pass the legislation. Bailey made the motion to vote for the legislation during the meeting.
Many members, including Katzenberger, who serves as the press office director, voiced their opinions on why the legislation needed to be passed during the meeting.
“Personally, I feel like there’s momentum behind this bill that there hasn’t necessarily been in a few years, and I think this is the point to act,” Katzenberger said. “I think that we have at least a better shot than in the past.”
The vote resulted in 21 ASM members in favor of passing the legislation with only one not in favor.
ASM Chair Adrian Lampron then introduced the ASM Internal Budget Alteration in which funding for an ASM-based program for a mental health crisis response was heavily debated.
The Budget Alteration plans to have University Health Services, which is funded in part by segregated fees through ASM, to pilot a program of crisis response. The program would send mental health professionals to co-respond with the University of Wisconsin Police Department to mental health-related calls.
ASM has requested $3,000 in funds to pay for the car lease for a co-responder pilot or mental health professional and the parking spot for the vehicle, according to the budget request.
ASM plans to take these funds from the ASM internal budget for General Travel due to the Association of Big Ten Students conference being held in Madison this year, prompting ASM to not need as many travel funds.
SSFC Representative Erin Tritz voiced her concerns regarding the alteration during the meeting, as she believed this alteration would not fix the greater issue.
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“I think it’s a bullet wound hole that we’re putting a band-aid on. We should put more funding towards it,” Tritz said. “Not that this $3,000 shouldn’t go towards it, but I think it needs to be followed up with more legislation on top of this rather than just $3,000.”
ASM member Stu Levitan argued that Tritz’s reasoning was why this alteration was only a pilot program.
“[The program] is an immediate, temporary way to address the existing crisis,” Levitan said. “For this purpose, it is consistent with our intent of a limited duration. It’s exactly what the pilot program is supposed to do.”
After the debate period, the council passed the budget alteration. The vote resulted in 16 members in favor of the legislation, with none not in favor of the legislation.
The council also considered Reports of Standing Committees and Boards, Chair Reports and various appointments of new members to ASM. All appointees were approved.
ASM will conduct their next meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Oct. 13 at the Student Activity Center.