The Associated Students of Madison Student Council voted Wednesday to pass new legislation that would call for the university to move the location of a brick-and-mortar Amazon venue to an alternate location, away from current plans to house it at the Red Gym.
Set in motion after approval by UW System Board of Regents in August, the university’s deal with the online retailer has raised debate about student space occupancy as well as shared governance procedures on campus.
There is concern that the Amazon Pickup Point, which will occupy about 2,200 square feet, will change the building’s dynamics. The Red Gym is one of a handful of landmark buildings on campus and today houses several major university organizations including the Morgridge Center for Public Service, the Multicultural Student Center and the LGBT Campus Center.
“The Red Gym is one of the most important parts of campus for marginalized students,” said Katrina Morrison, Student Activity Center Governing Board Chair. “They’re absolutely concerned about this and don’t want to see it happen.”
Members of the council also took issue with the procedure in which the Amazon deal was made.
“No shared governance were advised when making this decision,” said Shared Governance Committee Chair Sally Rohrer. “It was all behind closed doors.”
Shared governance, although no longer a legal requirement, is a core part of decision-making at the university under Chancellor Rebecca Blank.
“Shared governance allows students faculty and other university staff to have a say in what happens on campus,” said Jason Klein, ASM’s press office director. “No university administrator should be able to make this decision without student consent.”