Yesterday, the Associated Students of Madison Student Judiciary decided to uphold the election results from the Student Union Initiative referendum that students voted on in October.
Although we adamantly oppose the dramatic increase in student-segregated fees mandated by the initiative, we believe Student Judiciary's ruling was appropriate.
We do not support the initiative itself on the grounds that it would put too heavy a burden on students; we also feel it is unfair for a select few students to determine such far-reaching alterations to the cost of an education at the University of Wisconsin. The low voter turnout in the paper-ballot elections further fueled our distaste for the measure, as previous elections that saw far higher student turnout had the opposite results. Last year, 22.4 percent of students voted on the measure, and they shot the referendum down. Due to the technical glitches in the elections last year, however, these results were thrown out.
The six members of ASM who filed suit against the Student Election Commission felt SUI violated the ASM Constitution and bylaws in their campaign this semester.
But the judiciary backed the election commission, finding the initiative did not violate bylaws or the ASM Constitution and was therefore valid.
It is not up to the Student Judiciary to determine whether the SUI advertising presence on campus was appropriate; it is up to Chancellor John Wiley and the UW System Board of Regents to determine whether or not UW students had enough information to make an informed decision in the October elections.
Regardless of the sentiments on either side of the case, we call on Chancellor Wiley to nullify the Student Union Initiative referendum. As SJ noted, the fate of non-allocable student-segregated fees is at the behest of Wiley and ultimately the Board of Regents.
We ask Wiley and the regents to consider the full scope and history of the Union initiative, as well as the negative financial impact it will likely have on students over the next three decades. Though Student Judiciary was right to declare the election valid, it does not make the provisions of SUI just, and those ultimately in charge need to step in to prevent the fleecing of student funds.