During a student council meeting Wednesday night, the Associated Students of Madison voted unanimously to pass legislation that will work towards securing in-state tuition for undocumented students at the University of Wisconsin.
In open forum, more than ten individuals advocated for ASM to pass legislation on tuition equity for undocumented students by sharing personal stories about their struggles to attend university.
As it stands, undocumented students are charged out-of-state tuition fees, plus additional charges — equalling the rate international students pay, Student Services Finance Committee representative Steven Shi said.
Undocumented students living in Wisconsin are subject to these fees and they do not qualify for most scholarships and loans due to their citizenship status, Dreamers of Wisconsin executive director Cristhabel Martinez said in her presentation to the board.
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Oscar, an immigrant and UW student, also shared his story as an undocumented student during the presentation.
“Once it was time to pick a college and think about my future, it became so apparent to me how many hurdles were put in front of me and how many things I would have to overcome to make my dreams a reality,” Oscar said.
Between 2010 and 2011, undocumented students were eligible for in-state tuition given they graduated from a Wisconsin high school, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. In 2011, Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 40 took away this opportunity.
The legislation calls for the UW administration, the UW System Regents and other UW System student governments to support the reinstatement of Assembly Bill 75 from 2009.
“[Tuition equity] isn’t a discount, loan or grant that we are asking for, but the same price as everyone else,” director for the Center of Dreamers Erika Rosales said.
ASM also heard a presentation on Reckoning with Our History: UW–Madison’s History of Discrimination and Resistance by project director Kacie Lucchini Butcher.
Since 2019, researchers sifted through more than 175 cubic feet of historical documentation at UW, Butcher said. The culmination of the project — a physical exhibit at the Chazen Art Museum — is scheduled to open Fall, 2022.
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ASM also passed legislation urging the UW administration to condemn and discipline antisemitism on campus. In addition to this bill, students should also lookout for an upcoming initiative in which students will be pushing for more kosher dining options on campus, ASM Representative Anna Glasman said.
ASM passed Legislation allowing for ASM to request information from the Menard Center on the controversial UW Free Speech survey that was recently postponed until fall 2022. The bill would allow ASM to ask which student groups were consulted during the creation of the survey because ASM was not.
Some opponents of the survey, like ASM legislative affairs chair MGR Govindarajan, believe some questions are fishing for answers. Black, Indigenous and other people of color would potentially be influenced to agree that they would be tolerant of offensive language used by others, even if the language was derogatory.
Editor’s Note: This article previously wrong attributed a quote to MRG Govindarajan. The quote has been removed.