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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, December 06, 2021

Students working to rewrite ASM constitution

Members of different student groups from across campus are working to rewrite the Associated Students of Madison Constitution, a move that could alter the makeup and structure of student government at UW-Madison.

ASM Constitutional committee chair Alex Brousseau said under the current constitution, the ASM student government has been in a "deadlock" without a clear separation of powers between its branches.

The thirteen members of the committee come from the editorial boards of both student newspapers, members of the Greek community, various student groups and leaders of student councils from different schools within the university.

"We saw that ASM was not heading in the direction that we liked; they were focused too internally and they weren't listening to their students," Brousseau said. "What we saw was less of a flaw in the individuals involved and more of a flaw in the constitution."

The new constitution would restructure ASM into four branches: an executive branch consisting of a president and vice president, a legislative branch made up of a Senate, a judicial branch similar to the current Student Judiciary and an allocations branch that would appropriate student segregated fees. Currently, ASM consists of a student council, the Student Services Finance Committee and the Student Judiciary.

Under the new constitution, student leaders from the individual schools within the university would select the students to represent their school in the Senate, a change one of the committee's Greek representative and Student Service Finance Committee Chair Sarah Neibart said would make student council more accessible for students.

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"It is more representative and it allows students to have more access and direct connections to their student government," Neibart said.

ASM Chair Allie Gardner, who was not on the committee, said the current ASM constitution allows students to become activein student government through a variety of avenues.

"Schools around the country are fighting for a lot of the things that we have, and we have so many of them because of the broad student engagement that's inherent in the variety of avenues for involvement in ASM," Gardner said.

Gardner said while she fears the drafting process was not as inclusive as it could have been, she hopes the new constitution would foster student involvement in ASM.

Brousseau said the committee hopes to gain student input by holding informational meetings almost every weekday from Jan. 25 through Feb. 5.

"This is really about non-ASM students, people who aren't involved in the politics, getting involved and trying to change the structure of ASM," Brousseau said. "This isn't about anything political. This is about changing what we think is wrong, and I hope we can do that."

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