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Sunday, December 03, 2023

Modell alleges bias in ASM nominations

A UW-Madison student is claiming personal bias interfered in his attempt to gain a position within the Associated Students of Madison. 




Matthew Modell, a member of the Student Services Finance Committee, filed a complaint late Sunday evening that claims he was denied an open position because he believes some members on the Nominations Board may harbor personal distaste for him. Modell had applied for one of the four open vacancies on the Student Judiciary earlier this month. 




'It is my contention that I was not reviewed in a viewpoint-neutral fashion. I believe [members'] personal views about me were considered in the decision-making process,' Modell wrote in the complaint. 




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Modell said he reached this conclusion based on how his interview went and his qualifications compared to the other applicants'. He also said a conversation with a board member after his interview also led him to question the neutrality of the committee's decision. 




'I felt my interview went very, very well,' said Modell. 'I think the questions asked were fair ... but, I think that some members may not like some of my opinions or past actions.' 




His involvement as a member of SSFC may have played a large role in his losing a position, Modell said. 




'I'm not necessarily the most popular member of SSFC,' Modell said. 'I'm often voicing the opinions of the minority. They either don't like my opinions or they don't think I'm viewpoint-neutral. I don't know.' 




But Joe Laskowski, chair of the nominations board, said Modell's complaint is merely the cry of a sore loser. 




'I think this is sour grapes,' Laskowski said. '[Modell] is just upset that there were better candidates than him. This complaint only shows me that he is mad he wasn't qualified.' 




He also said he is disturbed that a board member dropped Modell a 'hint' about possible violation of viewpoint neutrality. 




'He shouldn't be getting hints from anybody. Somebody is violating their oath of office,' Laskowski said. 'Now, I'm obligated to look into that.' 




Modell is asking that the board release the minutes taken during a closed meeting, as well as the notes taken by members during his and the other applicants' interviews. Depending on what he finds in that material, Modell said he will ask for a review to 'ensure that university hiring policies are not being violated.' 




The Student Judiciary has denied Modell's request for an injunction to keep the ASM Student Council from confirming the selected appointments. The four nominees were approved at Thursday's Council meeting. The Student Judiciary has yet to decide if it will hear Modell's complaint.

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