The Associated Students of Madison passed two pieces of legislation and hosted a Q&A session with University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank Wednesday night.
Blank began by acknowledging the rising number of cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, noting UW — as a federal contractor — will enforce the executive order for all federal employees’ required vaccination.
The chancellor noted the high vaccination rate on campus, which is 94.9% among students and 95.8% among employees. Despite these numbers, however, Blank said the university is expecting some pushback about enforcing the order.
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Blank said graduation gap between white students and students of color is shrinking. While the rate is improving, Blank noted there should not be a gap to begin with.
The chancellor also discussed issues surrounding the campus climate for underrepresented students and how the university hopes to address problems via its campus climate survey, which has seen an 8% increase in participation to 28% compared to five years ago at 20%.
She said it will be optimal for next year’s incoming freshman class to be smaller, as the university cannot provide the necessary resources for consistently growing classes. Blank noted the admissions rate was intended to be lower last year and as a result of a larger than expected class, freshmen are facing issues in dorm spaces and dining halls.
After the Q&A ended, ASM moved on to pass two points of legislation, including the creation of a sustainability campaign coordinator position.
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Ashley Cheung, the sustainability chair and sponsor of this legislation, said the Sustainability Committee is the only committee with one person running it. Cheung stated the purpose of the legislation is so the chair can focus on running meetings and forming relationships with committee members.
The new position would help facilitate the chair’s efforts on sustainability campaigns and connect with the 25 student organizations related to sustainability. The legislation passed with 18 votes in support and no opposition.
ASM then considered a second proposed position, which would create a coordinator dedicated to addressing and combating sexual violence on campus.
Though several members raise concerns about the process of electing someone to this position, the legislation ultimately passed with 14 votes in support.