The Associated Students of Madison passed key legislation at their meeting Tuesday.
Those key pieces of legislation included endorsing the 2021-23 Executive Budget for the UW System introduced by Gov. Tony Evers, introducing “unpaid positions” of certain student government positions and encouraging academic departments to create individualized Ethnic Studies courses.
ASM unanimously voted to support the 2021-23 Executive Budget and recommended that the Joint Committee on Finance and the Wisconsin State Legislature “refrain from amending the 2021-23 Executive Budget for the UW System outlined in Senate Bill 111.”
In another unanimous vote, ASM proposed that a new title of “Unpaid Positions” be added in order to clarify the interpretation of definitions of an amendment and added changes to the bylaws around “Unpaid Positions.” These “unpaid positions” include those nominated by the Nominations Board and other open or ad-hoc ASM committees, but are subject to the approval by the Student Council.
“I think it is really important that these types of positions be paid, there is a big debate over if internships should be paid for or not,” said Taylor Scofield, a speaker in the open forum. “I also think it is important to recognize that when opportunities are not paid that excludes a lot of people from getting involved in them.”
In the last piece of legislation that also passed unanimously, ASM emphasized the value of the ethnic studies requirement and their benefit for all students.
“I help teach students cultural competency and the one thing that I always stress to students is that cultural competency is a lifelong learning experience and an accredited university like UW-Madison should find ways to support students in that journey,” said Tarah Stangler, a Community Based Learning intern and member of the UW-Madison BIPOC Coalition. “It is a cop-out to have the requirement so low for just having three credits just for Ethnic Studies.”
The legislation also encouraged the academic departments to collaborate with the Ethnic Studies Department and Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) to compile a list of Ethnic Studies classes that cross-list with other General Education requirements and ensure that students can graduate on time.
In the last clause of the legislation, ASM called for increasing the Undergraduate Ethnic Studies Requirement from three to six credits starting with the class of 2026.
“Myself as a Chicana on campus I have found a lot of value from the courses I have taken, not only learning about myself and my history as a daughter of an immigrant on this campus, but I also think that the people in those classes have learned a lot,” said Megan Sandate. “I think it is important as a predominantly white institution that people are learning about histories from the perspective of lived experiences.”
The next ASM meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m.