Associated Students of Madison Chair Andrew Bulovsky signed a document Wednesday night that could lead to a lawsuit with University of Wisconsin System administration over last year’s Wisconsin Union and Recreational Sports budgets.
The Student Services Finance Committee voted last February to deny funding increases for both budgets because the committee felt neither budget provided adequate details for a sound evaluation, according to former SSFC Chair Sarah Neibart.
UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward vetoed SSFC’s recommendations and the UW System Board of Regents passed both budgets, including their requested increases.
ASM Student Council approved a resolution giving Bulovsky the authority to sign a Notice of Claim against Chancellor David Ward, UW System President Kevin Reilly and the Board of Regents at its August meeting.
According to Mark Hazelbaker, a local attorney who will represent ASM should the situation result in a lawsuit, a Notice of Claim is a warning that claimants could sue if the dispute is not resolved within the 120 days allotted for negotiations.
Hazelbaker said although it is impossible to tell, he does not predict that negotiations will resolve the issue.
“There have been attempts before to try to work out better working relations between the university and the students,” Hazelbaker said. “But honestly, in terms of real relief, we can’t very well count on it because they just haven’t proven to be very amenable to recognizing the role that students have in this fee setting process over the years.”
UW-Madison Vice Chancellor for Administration Darrell Bazzell said ASM did not notify administration of its plans to pursue a Notice of Claim, but administration is willing to talk with students regarding the issue.
“If they want to sit down and talk, I think the chancellor’s always been open to that, has always engaged them when they’ve wanted to,” Bazzell said. “Obviously he’s not given them the answer they want in the budget but the communication has always been there.”
Hazelbaker said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen will evaluate the claim in the coming days and then send it to university administration.