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Sunday, February 25, 2024

New ASM constitution legislation falls short

Student Council voted down legislation Wednesday that would have allowed the student body to vote this fall on a new Associated Students of Madison constitution aimed at reconstructing student government.

The new constitution would have established four different branches of ASM: the executive, legislative, judicial and appropriations branches. These would have replaced the institution’s three current branches: the Student Council, the Student Services Finance Committee and the Student Judiciary.

A main point of debate was whether or not all University of Wisconsin-Madison students would attempt to become informed enough about the document to vote on it.

Rep. Nurys Uceta said based on typically low voter turnout, she felt the effects of the constitution, if passed in the fall, would be too widespread to allow a small group of students to make the decision.

“The amount of people that vote and the amount of people that will be affected by this are on opposite sides of the spectrum,” Uceta said.

However, Nominations Board Chair Sean McNally said voting down the legislation would disenfranchise students.

“To say in this room, that this body of 25 students is smarter, more intelligent, more capable of making this decision than the 42,000 students we represent is absolutely ridiculous,” McNally said.

The constitution needed to be approved by a two-thirds vote in two Student Council meetings to be included on the fall ballot. The document fell short with only 16 “yea” votes to 9 “nays” and one abstention.

Eight amendments were proposed and approved before the document was voted down.

The amendments’ main effect would have been to spread the power more evenly among the four new branches.

ASM Chair Andrew Bulovsky said his goal is to use new ideas brought up in the meeting to further the discussion.

“[The debate] brought up a lot of great discussions about the presidency, the chairship, the appropriations branch, SSFC,” Bulovsky said. “So we’re looking for ways to move forward and take these ideas and help make a better ASM regardless.”

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Bulovsky said the Coordinating Council is likely to discuss alternative options to reconsider all or part of the amended constitution in the future.

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