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Friday, August 12, 2022

New legislation from ASM denounces xenophobic and transphobic groups, supports COVID-19 vaccine efforts

The Associated Students of Madison on Tuesday voted to endorse two statements from student organizations denouncing xenophobia and transphobia on campus.

One statement, authored by the Filipinx American Student Organization (FASO), regarded violence that Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students endure on college campuses. The second statement, made by LGBTQ law student group QLaw, denounced the appearance of anti-transgender group Women’s Liberation Front (WLF) in the law school’s Wisconsin Public Interest Interview Program (WPIIP).

In their statement, FASO listed multiple demands that call upon UW-Madison to acknowledge and denounce xenophobia towards Asian Americans nationwide, enforce and uphold penalties at the University level increase resources and encourage students to report acts of discrimination and discriminatory behavior. The document also called upon local government officials to recognize this targeted hate. 

“As someone who is both Asian and Pacific Islander, it means a lot to me to see FASO introduce this statement,” UW-Madison student Lourdes Puig said. “APIDA being recognized by the campus is really important especially right now.”

Later, a brief discussion and debate occurred between representatives over a memorandum that explains potential lobbying from UW-Madison towards ASM members. 

ASM also passed in a vote of 21-0-2 to endorse the statement from QLaw. The document shows QLaw’s opinion of the Women’s Liberation Front very clearly.

“WLF is a radical, transphobic organization. WLF’s sole purpose is to lobby against equal protection for and acceptance of trans people, specifically trans women,” according to QLaw. “WLF should be removed from WPIIP because their organization does not simply hold transphobic beliefs, they advocate for transphobic policies and engage in harmful acts of transphobia.”

ASM’s passing of their endorsement exemplifies their support for QLaw and their decision to denounce WLF’s inclusion within the Law School. QLaw requested WLF be removed from WIPIIP in meetings with the Law School but the Law School has refused to remove WLF due to First Amendment protections.

“I first want to start by emphasizing my comfortability with specifying my pronouns as it is something I, an assigned female at birth and fem presenting human have the privilege of being able to do and say without the fear of someone discrediting my gender due to my sex,” said Tarah Stangler, co-founder of the BIPOC coalition. “I want to bring this to the attention of the council because I would like you all to endorse the statement put forth by QLaw and work on finding ways to ensure that trans students, staff and faculty feel welcomed and represented on campus.”

A budget alteration for APIDA heritage month event was passed unanimously. The legislation states that $6,500 will be moved from the General Travel budget line to the General Programming line in the ASM internal budget, allowing for APIDA to provide programming for APIDA heritage month this April.

“I want to voice my support for the legislation put forward regarding the allocation of budget for APIDA heritage month,” said Daniel Sanji, a Junior studying psychology and Asian American Studies. “I work for the APIDA student center and want to celebrate the students on campus that identify as Asian Pacific Islander Desi America.”

Next, ASM discussed legislation that commends UW-Madison’s implementation of COVID-19 vaccines. This legislation instructs the university to “continue providing educational matters on the COVID-19 vaccines and to allow students to make the best health decisions for themselves by including notices of availability and the risks and limitations of the vaccines,” and will be voted on at a future meeting.

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The last piece of legislation discussed UW-Madison's financial budget and the university’s spending. In the legislation, ASM rejects the fiscal year 2022 budget, calls for the Wisconsin Union and Recreation and Wellbeing to find other sources for funding other than through an increase in segregated fees and to increase hourly wages for workers to $11.

This legislation did not pass and will be voted on in the next ASM student council meeting on Tuesday, March 9. 

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