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Student Council Liveblog: Welcome Freshmans

October 28, 2009

Recap originally typed in a hurry to get out the door but had to wait to be posted b/c WordPress crapped out

Okay, what have we learned here?

SSFC now has expanded powers to remove members from their committee officially.

The ill-acronymed TOAD campaign is a great start for Student Council reps to get in touch with their constituents. Want help right now figuring out how to contact your rep and who you should contact? E-mail me at or drop your concern in the comments. I’ll help you out.

Also, be sure to get to the City-County building this coming Tuesday evening to show your support for a student vote on ALRC. You can meet us here at about 5:45 if you’d like. We’ll power walk there together.

Last but certainly not least before I go: Rep Harris is the greatest. Not only do we share a last name (HARRIS–it rolls off the tongue!) but she gave me a peanut butter cup on her way out tonight! Seriously! She’s the best EVER! Vote for her all the time!

10:05 Done, son. That last five minutes was really throw away time. Trust me, don’t worry about it.

10:00 Rep Fergus of SSFC: moving along swell and excited about the new committee members. He also tries to convince others to join the committee. Tough sell, it’s a tough job. Why is everyone talking about the Bush Administration? Some kind of inside joke? Politicians are never as funny as they think they are. Leave the humor to me, fellas.

9:54 ASM Vice Chair Templeton: TOAD training will be coming up so we can start getting in touch with the student body. He’s also been working on Madison Initiative proposals with Junger.

9:52 ASM Chair Junger: been working on proposals for Madison Initiative for Undergraduates. Process is a little difficult right now but he’s trying to smooth it out. Also, Junger turned 21 a couple days ago and didn’t get carded at Riley’s. Figures. I’ll now spare you the description of his birthday activities.

9:48 Chair Vollrath for SAC Governing Board: DoIT proposal for computer lab is now aiming for the 4th floor instead of the “social” area in the 3rd floor. SACGB approved concept of lab on 4th floor and preserving some lounge furniture. DoIT will pay for this. SACGB just demands students have say in designing and going forth with plans, however. And these will be new computers, too!

9:45 Chair Hanley for Shared Governance: Survey has been released to public about this past summer’s Move Out Night. Already there is goo response. Check y’alls e-mails for this link. I’ll get it to you later.

Faculty Senate wants to wait on Grad School restructuring until it can go through proper shared gov channels. She wants ASM to support the delaying of this until there is a full report on this topic. Basically, the restructuring of the Grad School needs to slow down and get more input.

9:44 Chair Sharpe for Nominations Board: having trouble meeting quorum but will be meeting Friday to make “paper cuts” on applicants.

9:43 Chair Johnson for Legislative Affairs: working on Downtown Plan b/c of significant student interest in Mifflin St area. However, the whole downtown area is a student area so we shouldn’t focus our energies on one aspect of the plan too much. Hey, they’re considering expanding the East Campus Mall all the way to Lake Mendota. A pedestrian walkway connecting our sweet lakes. Nice. I like.

Johnson got a call last Thursday from the office of US Sen. Tom Harkin. Little political will to change the Perkins loan section to help a few large beneficiaries like UW. Also, the Perkins loan is scheduled to end in 3 years anyway. Basically, the Senate is throwing grenades at our position. He’s still fighting, though. Even Herb Kohl ain’t doing a whole lot.

9:35 Chair Olikara for Diversity Committee: been working with MCSC and reaching out to students to see how to get people involved in the new Diversity Taskforce. this can result in a large restructuring of the way this campus promotes diversity.

9:33 Another update: I just ate my second peanut butter cup. Delicious! Also, Zinn believes we should be able to raise the missing $500 bucks from the swap by selling the remaining books.

9:30 Chair Zinn of Academic Affairs: want to get profs to post book lists for courses one month in advance of semester start to allow for students to find best deals. Looking into better system for the textbook swap, as well.

9:29 Special reports of Chairs!

9:27 Finance Committee wants a grant for $6,375 for Hoofer Ski and Snowboarding Rail Jam. Some kind of championship with about 500 people expected to attend. It passes unanimously. Congrats, Hoofers!

9:25 Proposal amended and passed. ASM Chair will now ensure a report is compiled about this mystery spending by the state. We gots to know how the state is spending your cash.

9:22 Debate still between whether Chair Junger should do this or a full-time ASM staffer.

9:17 Paulson is glad there is work being done to track this cash but he still wants a written report. Chair Vollrath would like this proposal to mandate that a report be compiled instead of assigning it to one person. Rep Ziebell agrees.

9:11 Basically, ASM has an amount of money the state is taking for general funds, program revenue, financial aid and, jokingly, “Head cream for Gov. Doyle”. He wants to know how much is taken and what it is used for. It’s “student money going to solve poor budget decisions by our Governor,” according to Templeton

9:07 Paulson introduces his Information Act: he wants a written report of the State transfer of auxiliary funds–what he calls “the seg fee sweep.”

9:05 Back in action. Make it work. Rep Harris and I just had a wonderful discussion about her even more wonderful last name. Very regal, authoritative-sounding name.

8:53 And the Student Council unanimously supports the motion. ASM officially endorses Eagon’s proposal for a student vote on the ALRC. We’ll be rallying the troops so this isn’t the last you’ll hear of this. No word on the boycott of the Nitty Gritty started by the campus papers. 5 minute recess.

8:52 Chair A. Johnson talking about his Leg Affairs committee will be attending the Common Council meeting next week when the city votes on the issue. You should be there, too. I’ll be bugging you.

8:51 Gosselin thinks it’s a win if we get a student vote. A MATC or Edgewood student would likely approach the issue from the same point of view as a UW student.

8:49 Paulson on this issue and having a UW student vote on the committee: “We’re the 800 lb gorilla and it would be crazy to ignore us.”

8:42 What time is it? ALRC time! Yup Templeton wants SC to endorse a student vote on the Madison Alcohol License Review Committee. Leg Affairs endorsed it last night. Right now, students have an advisor on the committee who can’t vote. Guess what? Students are a large population in the city who have a large interest in the area of town where many businesses would like to obtain liquor licenses.

8:41 Unanimously this goes back to the drafters. Big issue, it’ll be back.

8:37 Templeton is asking the Council to refer the proposal back to him to work on the proposal to be resubmitted at a later date.

8:33 Manes makes another Junger mustache joke. Poor guy. I believe in your ability to grow facial hair. You just have to believe in yourself!…also, Manes does not like the 80% threshold and believes discretion is important.

8:31 Gosselin has no problem with automatic removal but believes the number should be looked at. He also does not support the excused absences list and feels prior notification should be sufficient for an excused absence.

8:27 And he’s done. Now SSFC Chair Williams agrees this proposal needs work “but I agree with the spirit of it.” There needs to be accountability for SC reps. Attendance is pretty important, no debate there. Williams also points out that SSFC does not automatically remove people for missing 3 meetings but uses discretion.

8:24 Paulson is still railing against the proposal. There’s not nearly enough checks for removing members and it doesn’t take into account other academic responsibilities besides exams. He also tells Chair Tyler Junger that he looks like he’s twelve and can’t grow a mustache (Tyler, not Paulson).

8:19 Hah! Oh man! Paulson pulls no punches, “Wow! I think these are nowhere near done.” Pretty straightforward. There are a lot of questions for reps about this proposal. Some things overlooked. But does having other responsibilities make it alright to miss SC meetings? Does it mean things might need to be sacrificed to do one’s duty on the Council?

8:14 I lied. We’re still in the Q&A for the attendance policy bylaws.

8:07 We’re still debating the attendance policy bylaws.

8:01 Rep Heywood has many great questions. And Smith wants to know who will decide what 80% of a meeting is. This 80% is the threshold for what is considered “attending” a meeting. A rep must also be present for one of the role calls–opening or closing.

7:54 Excused absences: religious observances; illness or death in the family; exam at time of meeting; other ASM duties that must be performed during time of meeting; other emergencies deemed excusable by Chair, Vice Chair or Secretary of SC.

Currently there is no excused absences limit.

7:51 Templeton introducing attendance bylaw changes. Nice. Each SC member will now receive four excused absences and three unexcused absences. After that they can be removed.

7:45 Next step is definitely how  SC reps reach out to members of colleges beyond RSO’s.

7:42 How do we keep bias or the appearance of bias out of the selection of the committees we reach out to?

7:38 As long as the approach is only a means to an introduction I feel this is a great idea. External Affairs will provide some tools and some content and the Reps will go their own route as they see fit. No one wants ASM members calling around, sounding like telemarketers for student government.

7:34 I’ve been missing the Ext Affairs meetings, but will a cookie cutter approach to outreach replace an individual relationship building approach? Will the relationships be as meaningful as SC reps reaching out on their own? Leave any thoughts in the comments.

7:33 Gosselin just asked if SC reps reaching out to student groups is like Cheney reaching out to Halliburton. That’s a bit of a reach.

7:27 He’s got a nice flow chart and, guess what we’re working on. Yeah, it’s an eNewsletter. A good way for Groups to reach out to ASM and to students and for ASM to reach out to students and student groups. There’ll be key upcoming issues and things of the sort. It’ll be good.

7:24 Rep Tobelmann updates everyone on efforts of External Affairs Committee and even your humble press office. Yes, we are awesome. However, the initiative is still addressing the issue of a lack of communication between SC and its constituents. He believes a good first step is to connect each SC rep with about 3 student groups within their constituency. Here’s some outreach for ya.

7:21 18-0-1 the item passes and is now officially a bylaw. SSFC can vote remove its own members for viewpoint neutrality violations, threatening fellow members or missing too many meetings (which they could already do). There is a SC safety gap to prevent any abuse of this power. Onto the TOAD initiative!

7:19 Amendment passed to remove “coercion” from the proposal. Clerical error left it on their again today. Anyone with us last meeting knows how contentious that term is.

7:15 On Q&A over the SSFC accountability bylaws. This is the second meeting for the issue. If it passes, SSFC will officially have increased ability to remove members from its own committee. What’s more, I just ate my first peanut butter cup. Only one left! Have to pace myself but I can’t resist chocolate and peanut butter together or separate.

7:11 Paulson is willing to let it go but he believes ASM has a real problem not getting full agendas distributed out to the public in a proper manner. Believes ASM should be using the Press Office to disseminate the agenda. Can’t say I disagree with him.

7:07 Gosselin likes this problem as an opportunity to push for reps getting legislation in to the Chair earlier. Man, these guys are debating something that is normally barely more than a formality. I like it. These people have brought their A-game!

7:05 Vollrath wants to amend agenda to add something. Paulson doesn’t think changing the agenda is good for the flow of information. Vollrath and Manes both believe all good faith efforts were made to get the item on the agenda.

7:04 Open forum closed

7:0o Fergus also supports the SACGB bylaws. “Written better than anything ever said by the Bush administration.” Does he mean Bush I or II?

6:56 Chair Jonah Zinn wants everyone to buy the leftover books from the bookswap. Seriously, they’re still sitting in the ASM office. Apparently there was a problem with cashing checks because ASM can’t take money. and didn’t have time to process checks made out to sellers…

6:55 Vollrath, SACGB Chair, letting us all know the SAC will be closed this Saturday. Avoiding possible calamity. Sorry, no Halloween partying at the SAC. Hopefully, y’all had better plans anyway. Hopefully.

6:54 WISPIRG also hosting a march to the Capitol in a couple weeks to raise awareness for fossil fuel issues.

6:51 It’s Morgan from WISPIRG! Get excited. I guess she’s just promoting a conference the group will be attending. I’m sure you can go to their website and get informed. I

6:50 Looks like United Council will be voting in February to have another Madison rep on the Board to replace the rep from UW-Milwaukee. More power to us.

6:45 Tina Lee-Trevino up pushing to get all SC members to go to United Council conferences. Wants a United Council rep that is required to attend SC meetings like the SSFC Chair and SJ Chief Justice are required to do, I guess.

6:43 Up to Intern Andrea Nichols, also SACGB member. Second SACGB member talking about the changes in criteria for granting office space in 333. This issue may actually cause a stink now or in the near future as the SACGB begins its space granting decisions.

6:38 Swearing in of new representatives! A beautiful moment. Not the smoothest of proceedings, however.

Are we missing someone? No time, moving on!

6:37 Called to order. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

6:33 ZOMG!!!1!!1 There are a lot of people here right now. We’ve got a full house. Still waiting for the meeting to start.

Waiting to rock it.

Woohoo! Student Council time!

Here’s a little prep for you: Legislative Affairs voted to endorse ASM supporting a student vote on the Madison Alcohol License Review Committee. The Herald and the Cardinal already reported this.

Plus the newbs are here! Mario Ademaj arrived before the Chair and has already been quizzing me about how long these meetings last. He looks excited. Know what?  Me too.

Plus, I’ve got two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to keep me fueled so I’m all good to go.

Wait! Update. Just heard Gosselin say we’re gonna start 5 minutes late. Everyone relax.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Lindsay Bembenek permalink
    October 28, 2009 6:45 pm

    Bonsoir, Monsieur Press Office Director!

    • Friendly Neighborhood Press Office Director permalink*
      October 28, 2009 7:03 pm

      Bonsoir, Casual Reader! Long time no see.

  2. October 28, 2009 7:03 pm

    Curious as to what the textbook check problems were exactly… did students who used checks get their books for free?

    • Friendly Neighborhood Press Office Director permalink*
      October 28, 2009 7:09 pm

      I’m sort of unsure myself. We’ll have to sort this out later. Interesting.

  3. Adam Johnson permalink
    October 28, 2009 7:28 pm

    In response to Chair Beemsterboer’s question, yes they did. We have contacted most of the ones that we could and the ones with “a moral core” have come back and gave us cash. But apparently there were many who didn’t.

    Originally, we were down $1600 but its down to $500.

    Just fyi!

    • Friendly Neighborhood Press Office Director permalink*
      October 28, 2009 7:30 pm

      There you have it. Sounds like Chair Zinn is addressing it, however, so next semester’s swap will be more smooth.

  4. Adam Johnson permalink
    October 28, 2009 7:46 pm

    RE:TOAD campaign

    The bias is easy to avoid. We’re contacting everyone! Pretty much. It’s not like we’re picking politically allied groups or anything. I’m confused with the concern over this.

    • Friendly Neighborhood Press Office Director permalink*
      October 28, 2009 7:49 pm

      Any concern I can see is that not necessarily all groups have been “discovered”. Not any bias there, but those who are missed, I suppose, could possibly groan.

  5. bucky badger permalink
    October 28, 2009 8:03 pm

    If council members get to pick and choose the RSOs they want to reach out to then there’s a chance some of them will get overlooked or not picked. I think that’s where the bias comes in.

    • Friendly Neighborhood Press Office Director permalink*
      October 28, 2009 8:26 pm

      I like this. Debate away! There are no Roberts Rules around these parts!

      • October 28, 2009 11:19 pm

        There is state open meetings law, which council members should keep in mind when debating here. (ie, don’t debate with other council members here). They can certainly post and answer questions though.

      • Friendly Neighborhood Press Office Director permalink*
        October 29, 2009 12:22 am

        Your concerns are duly noted, sir. However, this is not a private meeting where anything is decided behind the backs of the public. This violates no open meetings laws.

        This is a place for Reps to comment on relevant (or not so relevant) issues in a public forum. They can share their educated opinions on subjects which is a great outreach to the public.

        Trust me, we’re legally safe so stop scaring off useful comments. Besides, I personally can throw my opinion out there as a member of the public and it is not illegal for reps to respond to that.


  6. Adam Johnson permalink
    October 28, 2009 8:40 pm

    Oh Robert’s Rules…how I love thee.

    I see where the concern lies. As a drafter of the plan through External Affairs, I’m unsure of how we can codify a way to ensure that bias is not a factor but part of the point of the program was that reps could pick groups that they were involved in and in a way that does increase the connectivity with that group and Council.

    It wasn’t an effort to marginalize groups or anything, and we welcome feedback.

    • Friendly Neighborhood Press Office Director permalink*
      October 28, 2009 9:03 pm

      Definitely. The plan is a great first step for much needed outreach. However, the danger is that the concentration will then be to focus on this plan and the outreach does not get expanded beyond these initially selected groups.

      We must remember that this is not the final solution to the problem. But I don’t think it pretends to be that.

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