The Associated Students of Madison Student Council met Wednesday evening to discuss newly-appointed council positions, equity and inclusion appointments, as well as their opinions on the potential implementation of the new COVID-19 Working Group Legislation laws.
The legislative proposals suggested implementing universal masking requirements on campus in shared spaces, making high-quality masks available at locations throughout campus and continuing to provide free COVID-19 and flu vaccinations to members of the campus community.
ASM passed the COVID-19 Working Group Legislation laws with a vote of 13-2-4, after modifying some of the bylaws involving mask mandates. As a result of this law, students can request masking requirements in shared spaces, request online attendance and see an increase in vaccine clinics. The legislation also passed 12 other bylaws relating to the issue of COVID-19 on campus.
While all ASM representatives who spoke on this matter agreed that campus health should be UW’s first priority, members had differing opinions on the way to go about COVID-19 precautions.
First-year graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Amelia Hansen attended the student council meeting to share her thoughts on health mandates at the university and what the administration can do to create a more comfortable living space for her.
Hansen has two critical illnesses that could be worsened by COVID-19, she said. She is fond of the new recommendations given by the COVID-19 Working Group Legislation, especially the suggestion for all students to wear masks in class and around campus.
The people most at risk can better control their environment given these implementations, Hansen said.
Some student council representatives said it would be difficult to gain support from the majority of the student body and staff for a full mask mandate.
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Several members of the council shared that they do not believe it is logical to implement a full mask mandate, but they do believe that professors and staff should create more exceptions and opportunities for the group of people on campus who are severely impacted by COVID-19.
Student council members agreed that many of the other bylaws presented were reasonable and fair.