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16th Session Student Council liveblog

September 17, 2009

Just about showtime.

Here’s the agenda: http://www.asm.wisc.edu/images/stories/documents/16th_session_AMLR/asmsc%20agenda%209.2.09.pdf

It’s 9 p.m. and this room is pretty full. Lots of people. Probably about 20-25 people in addition to the Council here. Leftovers from the Kick-off? Here for open forum?

Let’s find out!

9:05

Open forum starts.

First speakersupports  ASM funding buses to take students to National Equality March in Washington D.C. on October 11 to support LGBT movement. One of the last new business items on agenda, though. Have to wait to see how Council feels about it.

9:12

Second speaker also promoting the funding for the buses.

Gonna go out on a limb and say most of the people in the room are here as part of a coordinated show of support for this item.

9:18

Treasurer of Queer Student Alliance speaks also in favor of the news item. Impressive show of strength for supporters of the item.

Followed by a fourth speaker in favor of the buses. The group trying to put the trip together has received $960 from ASM already but need more to afford the buses.

Whether this passes or not, it’s great to see students so involved in a cause and so involved in the Student Council process.

9:52

Open Forum extended to allow last seven speakers on list to speak. Questions limited to one for people speaking about buses to D.C.

10:07

Patrick McEwen: first person to speak at open forum against groups appealing to ASM internal budget for funding.

10:13

Funding for buses to D.C. moved to last on the agenda to ensure all other business is handled before a long contentious debate. We’re running out of time. Only got til midnight!

10:17

Remove nonexistent boards from Student Council agenda. Clear enough.

10:20

Start discussion about homecoming committee grant. $12,900 grant approved for UW Homecoming Committee.

10:23

Flying now! Patrick McEwen and Steven Olikara approved to UW Admissions Director Search and Screen Committee. Most of room has cleared out now, they were definitely here for open forum. Maybe they’ll be back later.

10:29

Stipend job descriptions passed. Academic Affairs chair no longer has to be a Student Council member. Chairs will now receive paychecks once per month instead of every other month. Nothing dramatic here. Up next: approving ASM student hourly appointments made by the Nominations Board. One very familiar name on the list–Hannah Karns.

10:32

That’s done. Onto creation of Madison Initiative for Undergraduates Student Oversight Board as ASM demanded when it supported the Initiative. This will be an ad-hoc committee with only students as voting members. Will provide recommendations to the shared governance Oversight Committee and oversee allocation of funds from the Initiative. Power to the students!

10:52

Passed. Chair Beemsterboer would like two unfilled Student Council seats on Finance Committee to be filled by non-Student Council members.  Amended to wait until after newly elected freshmen have a chance to voice interest in joining the committee. Freshman election is scheduled for October 19-21.

10:57

Uninamously approved. Onto the real meat and potatoes. Let the debate over the bus funding begin!

11:00

Rep. Wrigley-Field would like to amend legislation to fund up to 500 participants.

11:02

If money comes from any grants, viewpoint neutrality would apply. If it comes from internal budget from other line-items, then viewpoint neutrality need not apply. I think.

11:04

Splitting it up between support of the march and then funding for the transportation. Up first is the support of the march.

11:06

Wrigley-Field’s argument: ASM should take a stand to support the equal treatment of everyone on campus under the law. This includes students, faculty and staff. It is under the jurisdiction of ASM because it is the student government’s role to represent it’s students and, therefore, to support their struggle for equal rights.

11:15

As debate continues, let’s clarify: Right now they are debating whether or not to publicly endorse the march. The decision for funding is a whole other discussion, debate and vote. Two separate issues.

11:29

18-0-5 it passes! ASM Student Council officially endorses the march and recognizes the importance of equal rights for members of the LGBT community. Now for a murky discussion about the funding. I’ll let you know when I’ve straightened it all out in my own head. This could be a while.

11:34

There is some confusion here. The points of procedure seem to be a point of confusion for all, not just me. They are debating whether it is actually within the bylaws to fund something like this trip.

11:39

Chair Beemsterboer believes the Finance Committee would need to be disbanded because further funding would essentially be rendering the committee’s decision void.

Wrigley-Field believes this would be different than just a travel grant. It’s more important.

11:49

15-6 vote to postpone debate indefinitely until it is written so that it can be considered. Contentious stuff.

On the plus side, the bus pass advisory committee has saved about $22,000 worth of student money. Boomcity! More on that to follow. Keep your eyes peeled.

11:55

Report from Chair A. Johnson about the possible changing of student aid system that can have a very negative effect on students. More on this also to come. Check back tomorrow and I’ll definitely have more for you.

11:59

Roll call at the wire. Close one. Talk about a big day. I’m going to clear my head and we’ll sort through the ashes tomorrow.

Overall, I’d say this first Student Council liveblog was not nearly as successfully pulled off as I would have hoped. I’ll keep trying, though.

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