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Friday, April 19, 2024

Reception held to celebrate influence of shared governance

UW-Madison faculty joined administration and other staff members Tuesday in recognizing the importance of shared governance in university affairs.

Shared governance is a system of representation for academic staff, university staff, faculty and students “who all take part in making significant decisions concerning the operation of the university,” according to the school’s website.

“It is really important to have someone speaking and fighting for you, which is what we try to do,” said Jake Rebholz, the University Staff Central Committee chair.

In regard to university staff, Rebholz said that shared governance “dictates work environment and campus climate.”

Students are also very involved and impacted by shared governance. The committees within Associated Students of Madison are the main student representation on campus.

According to Omer Arain, ASM’s Shared Governance Committee chair, even if not all students are directly involved in the decision making process, they are all impacted by shared governance and ASM’s actions—such as the extra study day before the first day of exams and College Library being open 24 hours.

Committees from groups within shared governance acknowledge the usefulness of students’ opinions, Arain said.

“The job of the university is to educate students and if they are unhappy, there is a fundamental problem,” Arain said. “ The administration usually recognizes students’ complaints and are willing to work with us.”

Late last month, for example, the Amazon pickup location was moved from the Red Gym, which came as a result of direct actions from ASM.

“We engaged in civil conversation showing that we are unhappy and eventually actions were taken,” Arain said.

Rebholz explained that encouraging participation from those not on shared governance committees is a priority.

“We do a lot of targeted outreach and encourage voting in elections, but it is definitely a constant struggle to gain more involvement,” Rebholz said.

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