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Friday, December 08, 2023

ASM, other UW schools discontinue plan for shared student governance body

An attempt made by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Associated Students of Madison (ASM) to improve the shared governance body across the UW system failed to pass Monday. This long awaited decision came over a year after the legislation was originally approved through the Wisconsin State Statute.

The legislation was originally supported last fall by UW-Madison’s ASM, alongside the student governments at UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point. It was proposed in an effort to create a space where all the UW schools could communicate and discuss issues universal across all the campuses. 

“The main ability of the UW system student government association (UWS SGA) was that it would unite to lobby the state Legislature on student issues,” which ranged from issues such as “mental health, expansion of shared governance, etc.,” ASM Legislative Affairs Committee Chair Muralidharan Govindarajan said.

However, a recent ASM press release revealed “the UW-Milwaukee Student Association failed to ratify the UWS SGA Constitution,” and “eight other UW student governments met and decided to discontinue action towards the UWS SGA.” 

Govindarajan went on to explain how the multiple student governments, including UW-Madison’s ASM, initially felt that while there were small degrees of problems, the issues were not significant enough to restart the entire project. He described the thought process behind the ultimate decision to explore other shared student governance options. 

“There were some problems with the UWS SGA, which we verbally agreed to fix after the organization was ratified and created,” Govindarajan said. “However, UW-Milwaukee voiced an opinion that they would rather restart the process and fix the problems at the start rather than later on.”

“After more discussion, all eight schools voted unanimously to end the UWS SGA, and restart the process with a new drafted constitution,” continued Govindarajan. 

Despite this decision made by UW schools, Govindarajan noted ASM has no desire of giving up on a plan for shared governance. 

“There is now a draft in the works that has more input and collaboration than the previous draft ever had,” Govindarajan said, mentioning that this new draft is building on past errors.

ASM’s goal of a shared student governance plan has not wavered. With the collaboration of the other seven student government groups, they hope it will remain a possibility and lead to an expansion on topics. 

“The new and old shared governance body will address issues affecting all/most of the universities, such as mental health, expansion of shared governance, possibility of affordable housing, etc.,” Govindarajan explained.

An open meeting will be held on Dec. 2 to decide on the first draft of the new plan of shared governance. Students and faculty are encouraged to come. 

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