SC Liveblog: Badger Partnership and Open Government Act
Here to talk about the Badger Partnership are Dean of Students Lori Berquam, Vice Chancellor for Admistration Darrell Bazzell, and Assistant to the Chancellor Don Nelson.
Council will also be discussing the Open Government Act, proposed with the intention of making Student Council more accessible to students. Read the proposed legislation on page eight of the Student Council Agenda (download).
6:35: Roll Call
Sam Polstein: There is a meeting Friday to talk about the position of a Government Relations Adviser Position. Anyone interested in talking about the position description can come or contact Polstein.
Sam Seering: I am now vice chairman of State Affairs for the ASM Legislative Affairs Committee. I am also on the United Council Board of Directors. As vice chair, I am working on outreach, meeting with individuals and organizations such as SLAC and MEChA. I have been talking to students about the Badger Partnership and restrictions we can put on the tuition flexibility. There are portions of the partnership that I support, and parts I don’t. I support the establishment of a shared governance committee, but I don’t support the requirement for a two-thirds majority needed. Moving on, I support the Open Government Act, which I helped create. “The idea of the act was to make Student Council more open to students. We’ve seen in the past month that more outreach is needed and this is a good step to make Student Council more open.”
- Hanley: What were your ideas for Shared Governance?
- Seering: One would be to draft a proposal to bring to the joint finance committee of what we want (verses what the governor wants). The other aspect would be a provision in the Badger Partnership that would essentially be an omnibus shared governance. It can’t legally be an equal to the chancellor’s office but it can have a strong advising role– basically the highest role of shared governance on this campus.
- Hanley: Would you still support a student-majority committee even if other members were added?
- Seering: I don’t support a student-majority because more than just students are affected by this legislation.
UW student Lena: I’m all for the Open Government Act, but I have a few suggestions. I suggest that office hours be posted online and not in the office. Attendance should be kept of when chairs are in the office and these should be taken into account with stipends.
Dan Posca: I am in favor of the Open Government Act. I am very sorry to say that my six-week vacation from United Council is up and I’m back involved with the organization. We’re trying to find ways to make the FAFSA more accessible to students, and make childcare more accessible to to students, potentially looking at having a day care center in Madison for students.
UW student Rashi Mangalick: I’m from WISPIRG, and we just chose our five campaigns: Big Red Go Green, Hunger and Homelessness, Transportation, Just Foods, and one other. We want your feedback on what we’re doing. I also want to support the Open Government Act.
Lori Berquam (Dean of Students), Darrell Bazzell (Vice Chancellor for Admistration), Don Nelson (Assistant to the Chancellor): speaking about the Badger Partnership
Bezzell: The State has faced a series of structural deficits for at least a decade. We’re anticipating a very difficult budget. We need to have more degrees of freedom if we’re going to continue to operate. If we can have a little more flexibility in how we move forward with our construction projects, we could save millions of dollars. Compensation is another area we want to focus on, to maintain the quality of our staff that you interact with every day. The chancellor wants the ability to reward teachers based on merit. I just want to remind you that this isn’t simply about tuition; there are a lot of important things at stake and it’s about having more degrees of freedom.
Nelson: My job is to advise the chancellor and administration on the political process that we have to navigate downtown. When we talk about the Badger Partnership, y’all want details, and I get that. For the past year, we’ve tried to put the chancellor and campus in the position to have a dialogue with the next governor. Specific ideas need to be fleshed out next to the next governor’s budget. The timeline of details is dependent on when we have a new governor. We don’t have any details yet about what this governor is going to do. What we’ve done is we’ve at least been invited to the table. What’s important about this is it has to be his proposal. The legislature has to work with what the governor gives them. It’s our hope that the governor comes to us. I expect that discussion to happen around mid to late January. The Chancellor is committed to ensure that Shared Governance is involved as we move forward and nothing happens in isolation.
Berquam: The new Badger Partnership is about this great place, the place that I love and many of you love. I know we want this campus to thrive long after we leave. In order to make that happen, this plan has to evolve and involve you. I want to be clear about something: the Chancellor can’t propose anything in the budget; only the governor can. I want to be clear about something else: we are all committed to Shared Governance. This has to be a partnership. It has to involve us, you, people at the capitol, and people around the state. The most critical part of this is the partnership component.
Q & A
- Manes: You said the new governor is not in favor of one-time funding options.
- Bazzell: He’s saying he doesn’t want to use it at all. I’ve never seen a governor not use it at all, but there will likely be less than usual.
- VandenLangenberg: Looking for clarification on Shared Gov.
- Bazzell: There could be a change of statute that would allow us to purchase goods and services and develop our own contracts. I’m not sure how the governance model works with purchasing construction materials.
- VandenLangenberg: You mentioned there might be some budget cuts, and the ability to procure our own materials could save a lot of money.
- Bazzell: I’ll give you an example. If we have the ability to purchase our own laboratory materials, we think we can get a better price and save about a half million dollars.
- Junger: How will tuition changes, and financial aid changes affect students?
- Bazzell: There is no specific proposal yet about what that set-aside will be.
- Zinn: Is it possible to open up this Q & A to people not on council?
- Williams: We would have to exit rules.
- Council exited rules. Now anyone at the meeting can ask questions.
- Zinn: Why have the people who this proposal most affects not been involved in this process in a substantive manner at all?
- Nelson: I would say nothing substantial beyond those initial discussions have been fleshed out until recently. Everything has been general because we don’t know what the governor’s going to do.
- Bazzell: Many of the ideas in the partnership (outside of tuition) are old ideas, and were in the regents’ proposal. The difference here is saying the campus wants to have more involvement in setting tuition.
- Zinn: If I’m understanding what you’re saying, these ideas have been in the work for years. We have the Chancellor meeting with candidates in February, saying she will release details after the election. Now she has met with the governor… and we still don’t have the details? I understand that what is going to be voted on is not formalized yet, but are you telling me there is no written documentation for the goals of the Badger Partnership?
- Nelson: We’re waiting to hear from the governor. We don’t have an idea what he wants to do. We have general ideas, which outside of the tuition ones (kind of modeled after the Madison Initiative), are old ideas. Discussions with the governor happen on a constant basis. The new Badger Partnership is one of many things we’ve been talking about.
- Berquam: It’s just concepts right now, because we’re hoping the governor will allow us to negotiate the details with him.
- Nelson: We’re at the table. When he asks us for specific proposals, we’re going to run those past you guys.
- Bazzell: I get your point, and it’s a good one. But what you’re hearing now is a strategy. If something significant is going to happen, the governor has to own it. It has to be seen as his proposal. We want to keep it at a conceptual level so we can work on the details with the legislature. Our strategy is to allow the governor to own it. Otherwise, nothing will move forward.
- VandenLangenberg: What’s happening to our budget over time?
- Bazzell: Private institutions are looking at tuition revenue and private endowments. For public universities, we are looking at tuition revenue, and public investment. We need to get a certain amount of money from state coffers. Over the years, there has been a shift in the budget from our “core mission bucket” (or the fund 101 bucket) to our “specific purposes” budget. So even when the bottom line isn’t falling, the dollars we have to carry out our mission is.
- VandenLangenberg: I’d like to hear your thoughts on increased tuition deterring students from coming here.
- Bazzell: The challenge of increasing tuition, but delivering the message that we actually can accept students from lower economic standing, requires us to do a better job marketing. We’re living it right now with the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates. Let’s take a look at what we’re living right now. We should be looking at our own experience rather than at other universities.
- Berquam: I believe really strongly in the university’s committee in providing financial aid packages to make students able to come here.
- Nelson: I can tell you that there will not be any kind of authority given to UW-Madison without a Shared Governance process.
- Yah: Elaborate on how the university can save money on construction projects.
- Bazzell: We have such a purchasing power that if we pull away from the state, and vendors have told us this, we can cut better deals. And we can probably extend those deals to the rest of the state of Wisconsin. We can be much more nimble and clear with vendors in ways that the state government can’t articulate.
- Hanley: How is it possible to have a commitment to obtaining input from students when it’s possible that the governor could be proposing his budget in February when students aren’t around? It doesn’t add up.
- Nelson: The governor will ask for an extension on the budget. This budget won’t really see the light of day for public consumption until mid-February. There will be extensive conversations on this budget all of next semester.
- Bazzell: We’ve lived through this many times, when important issues don’t align with the student session. You’re hearing a commitment from us that we will work with you in earnest when the details start to form. Something you can do is think about how you can be nimble and responsive when that information does in fact come forward. We think we’ll get a preview, but we don’t know when. You need to decide what the forum for engagement will look like when that time comes.
- Berquam: In January, the chancellor will be having a meeting with you all to engage students. I think there’s a huge fear factor here of the unknown. The question of potentially more furlows, additional expenses. Those are all things we don’t know, and we are also fearful of.
- Nelson: I encourage you to contact the governor directly. He has a lot of ideas, and the only to find out what those ideas are is to get him in front of folks and see what he has to say. I would encourage you all to invite him to come speak to campus. There are a lot of nervous folks. We’re all worried about our pensions, our health care. We’d love to get some answers. Please make that request, and I’ll make the commitment to follow up with that. You have that right to call upon your governor.
- Hanley: I think the concern from students is that, while we’re happy you’re having conversations about the partnership, we don’t know what’s happening in these conversations so it’s hard for us to form an opinion on them.
- Nelson: The website, http://newbadgerpartnership.wisc.edu/ has all the information that we’ve given the governor. The meetings are basically us talking at him. We’re just as worried. Even though it’s one-way, at least we’re talking.
- Fergus: What do you see as ASM’s role in lobbying?
- Nelson: I have no problem incorporating students into our strategy, or aiding whatever strategy you have. I would be happy to give you whatever knowledge I have about legislatures.
- Dan Posca: Can you give us an estimate on how much tuition will rise?
- Nelson: We don’t know yet; we don’t have a specific proposal.
- Member of the audience: Is the aim to just recoup what you’ve lost from the state, or go beyond that?
- Bazzell: There are certain losses we’ll just live with, that we’ll never regain. But we want to maintain areas that we remain strong. The goal here is not to simply use tuition dollars to replace state dollars, but some dollars would go toward that purpose.
- Zinn: If the issue (with not giving us details) is that it needs to come from the governor, then why was it released publicly at all? And why is this being discussed in the house if the governor hasn’t proposed anything yet? I resent the implication that the university doesn’t have any power yet. At this stage in the game, when we’re making proposals, why can’t students and everyone at the university be involved in that process?
- Bazzell: At this point, we’re just waiting for a signal from the governor that he’s willing to engage. That’s where we’re at right now.
- Berquam: Putting up the website is inviting everyone to know what we’re thinking, and opening it to a public forum. But we haven’t given specifics because there aren’t specifics.
- Zinn: These proposals have been in the works for years. You’re sitting down with the governor. It’s really hard for me to believe that you’re not proposing statutory changes. If you don’t have specific proposals, then I think it’s wholly inappropriate to be proposing it in this budget cycle.
- Bazzell: The level of conversations with the governor are at the level of the proposals on the website, not beyond that. If we get a signal that he’s ready to move, absolutely we have specific proposals.
- Zinn: So why don’t you tell us those?
- Nelson: We’re not to that point yet. We don’t have a governor yet.
- Bazzell: I’ll give you some specifics. We all know the section statute that deals with tuition– we know that will have to be changed. We all know what those statutes are.
- From the audience: Kevin from TAA: You talked about the governor needing to own it. You might also want to worry about us knowing it.
- Bazzell: The belief is that if it doesn’t show up as a governor’s proposal, nothing is going to happen. That’s a calculated roll of the dice. We hope the governor signals that he is open, and asks us for a proposal.
- Kevin: Looking for clarification
- Bazzell: We’re not talking about getting rid of oversight. We’re talking about cutting red tape and bureaucracy to get things done. We’re just trying to be more nimble in how we move through the process.
- Johnson: At least two of four areas in the concept of procurement and construction are pretty much system wide, and it’s not just UW-Madison saying, screw you Board of Regents.
- Bazzell: That would be true. And we would never tell the Board of Regents to go screw themselves.
- VandenLangenberg: If we learned that applicants were turning away due to “sticker shock,” would the administration change it’s idea?
- Bazzell: I would suggest that in this day and age, the idea that we can survive by relying on our share of state revenue is not a sustainable business model. I don’t see a pathway that allows us to maintain our services without a tuition component. The question isn’t whether tuition needs to increase; the question is how do we do it in a way that opens our doors offers. It’s really about relaying the message that the doors are open to everyone. That’s our challenge.
- VandenLangenberg: There’s a lot of speculation that one of the next bubble’s in the world is the college loan bubble. I’m concerned that increasing tuition to a level that allows us to compete will inflate the debt of a UW-Madison students by requiring median-income families to take on a substantially larger portion of debt. So what about the families that don’t qualify for the grants?
- Bazzell: There’s a presumption that need-based aid will be implemented in the form of work-study and loans. But I would presume that the form of need-based aid will in fact be in grants, as it is in the MIU. Given the quality of education here, we’re an extreme bargain. Clearly there’s a hope that families are active participants in helping to fund students’ educations. We don’t want students to work ten years before they get back to a level playing field. That’s not what we have in mind at all; that’s something we have to be careful about.
- Polstein: I was wondering if we could get some commitment of when the governor’s preview comes out, how we can work together and talk about what parts of that proposal you are going to advocate for, and what parts you aren’t as favorable to.
- Nelson: Definitely once we see those specifics we will bring those to you. The chancellor will be asking what students think. That feedback can also be given directly to the governor as well.
- Polstein: I was wondering if, once I get a lobbying group together (of students from various political organizations on campus), if you Don would come talk to us so we can get an idea of where the administration stands.
- Nelson: I would be happy to do that.
- Diaz: How would the tuition increase affect the People Program and programs like that?
- Bazzell: There will be a set-aside to make sure that there are enough funds for these programs. The campus has that obligation and responsibility. That obligation doesn’t change, but it does create a challenge. But we will always continue to meet it.
- Brigham Schmuhl: How will this affect graduate students?
- Bazzell: Graduate student tuition is frozen. We have to attract the very best graduate students. The upper limit you can expect to be the same as in-state undergraduate students. But we want to keep it as level as possible.
- Brigham Schmuhl: Is our governor so contemptuous that the only way to frame this proposal is as his proposal?
- Nelson: I wouldn’t quite say that. I wouldn’t say we have to tiptoe around him, but if we can get the opportunity to have discussions with him, we’re going to take them. We want to educate him about things we don’t want changed. And we won’t go down without a fight. We will fight.
- From the audience: How will raising out-of-state tuition affect campus diversity?
- Bazzell: We haven’t seen that happen here with the MIU. Our challenge to reach out to all students to make sure they know that we are accessible and affordable.
- Follow-up: Do you have something in place to get the student voice when we hear something from the governor?
- Bazzell: We are committed to getting feedback, but we don’t know yet what form that will take.
- Berquam: The entire concept of how we can include students is something we’re hoping to hear from you. There is a blog on the website, and Sam Polstein has commandeered getting the chancellor here in January.
- Niebart: Question comes from an absent SC member: Would you be looking at including students on the faculty senate?
- Bazzell: That would not be for us to decide. We want to have dialogues just like the ones we’re having now. It would not be for the administration to dictate how the faculty senate operates.
- Berquam: We could have this body work with that body, but it couldn’t be directly by us.
- Stephenson: When will be able to see specific proposals?
- Nelson: Many of the things are in the budget proposed by the Board of Regents. The only thing he doesn’t have details on is our ideas of tuition flexibility. We can’t take any meaningful action until he’s actually in office. Rest assured, before that budget hits the street we will have our say.
- From the audience: I’m from the TAA. We think the chancellor should have been talking to us before she was wining and dining with the governor. Our members are very concerned about that, and this to us is too little too late. That said, the stable state funding that we really would need to have to keep tuition from sky-rocketing, what does that look like? Can you give us a concrete example of a guarantee?
- Bazzell: As in the situation of Virginia, the state hasn’t always kept their end of the bargain. So there are no perfect iron-clad guarantees. A good marker is to get about 20 percent of the budget coming from the state. We’re past that marker. An adequate level of state support is a function of– what is our vision? We have to keep the state at the table at a reasonable level. What that mix is is subject to conversation.
- Follow-up: So you can’t give us a concrete example of a guarantee in our state?
- Bazzell: The strongest way to do it would be to codify it in law. But there’s no guarantee that it would stay in place.
- Follow-up: How high would you let tuition go?
- Bazzell: That’s not for me to decide.
- Zinn: I want you guys to put yourselves in our shoes. We come to school in early September and get announcement about the Badger Partnership, saying she wants to restructure a lot of the ways the campus works. She says we’re going to have specifics solidified after the elections. It’s been now about two months since the public forums, and the only thing we’ve seen is emails about these general ideas. The way we’re looking at it, without any outreach to members of the campus communities, it’s now the middle of December and winter break is coming up. I think we have a fairly legitimate fear that this will be proposed over break. Do you see how we can see this as an infringement on Shared Governance on this campus?
- Nelson: The website has been up with the ability to comment on it. “After the election” means exactly that– after the governor is in office. There’s been no effort to exclude y’all, and there’s nobody in her circle to make that happen. I can assure you that’s not happening and it won’t happen. When we have the details, you will get those. I will personally make sure that happens. We’re not trying to hide anything from you guys.
- Berquam: I think I would feel the same sitting in your share. What we’re committing to is that we’ll come back to this table. If you have ideas, we’ll take them and we’ll bring them to the chancellor.
- Yah: What will happen to special students under this plan?
- Bazzell: They would be subject to the same tuition increases as other students. If there are things we need to be sensitive to, we need to hear that. Special students are important to the campus community, but it’s a voice we don’t hear a lot.
- Yah: The younger generations of special students generally have someone to help them out with tuition, where the older generations do not. Do you foresee any financial aid to special students who have to pay out of pocket?
- Bazzell: I would submit that there is a higher emphasis on special students right now, and if there are issues like financial aid, we want to make sure the governor addresses that.
- Ivins: How do you feel about the concerns of the workers on this campus, that this will contribute to the trend of hiring non-unionized workers?
- Bazzell: The campus is not privatized. Private research institutions hire non-union workers. This campus has always had a strong tradition of recognizing labor.
- Ivins: What about public-private partnerships like the Institute for Discovery?
- Bazzell: I think we’re much more mindful as we think about future private-public partnerships in the future, after the Institute for Discovery. I think we have a heightened awareness, and that is a conscious part of our conversation.
- VandenLangenberg: Higher education is becoming increasingly market-driven. I think that something that has always been nice about UW is that it’s more about the pursuit of knowledge as a whole. This seems like another step in sacrificing education for the bottom line, on a philosophical level.
- Bazzell: Part of what we’re arguing is that for us to compete with other universities, we need to have more flexibility to compete with them. At a philosophical level, that’s what we’re talking about when we talk about “market-driven.” We don’t just want to be like our peers– we want more freedom.
- VandenLangenberg: I think the central point in the resolution is the ability for me to make my own assessment. We need the ability to come to the conclusion ourselves. We want a list of every statute you want to change so that we can digest it ourselves.
Note: VandenLangenberg is referring to the “Resolution for a Democratic Badger Partnership,” found on page three of the Student Council Agenda (download). Council plans to discuss this resolution, sponsored by Zinn, tonight.
- Bazzell: If you’re asking what general section statutes address our general concerns, I can give you that. What I can’t give you is what we would actually change in that. We’re not able to be precise about that.
- VandenLangenberg: I’d like to meet with you after open forum to discuss what we can get from you.
9:40PM Ten minute recess.
10PM Agenda approved, with reports moved to the end of the agenda.
New Legislation: Resolution for a Democratic Badger Partnership
Zinn: This resolution demands that students are involved in the partnership process. The administration says they haven’t included students yet because of strategy. I think this is an important proposal that would change all aspects of student life. It’s not fair to keep students in the dark for this long. It might be true that they don’t have something written up. But frankly it is really hard for me to believe that this proposal, which has been in the work for years, that they don’t have some intention of where they want to go with that. You don’t bring a proposal that fundamentally changes the way the university works without having some kind of goals there. What this resolution says is that we want students to be involved in the process, and we’re going to stand up for that.
- Hanley: Would you be open to language changes that don’t affect the content?
- Zinn: Certainly.
- Hanley: Has anything you’ve heard tonight change what you think this should look like in its final state?
- Zinn: I think some of the language could change, but the message should be the same.
- Manes: I think this boils down to a fundamental trust or mistrust of what the administration is pursuing. Would you still be pushing for student involvement in this if that would hurt them?
- Zinn: That’s kind of like a paradox. I don’t think student involvement could make a bad impact. I don’t want to take the administrative word for face value. The process this has gone through is a little shady.
- Manes: Do you believe that administrators were telling the truth tonight?
- Zinn: I think they were to an extent. Do you think that they don’t have any intention behind their proposal? The purpose of this legislation is to say that we want to be included in those intentions and part of the process in deciding where that goes. I think it’s very plausible that they have these written documents. I can’t believe that they don’t have anything written at this point. I want to put my full faith in their actions, but it’s hard for me to do that.
- Smathers: I think the Shared Governance aspect of this makes a lot of sense. Is there any compromise on asking for the complete outlined plan?
- Zinn: What I’d rather have is students having the conversations with the governor. The intention of this is including students fully in this process.
- Smathers: Two-thirds seems a little off-putting to me. How do you defend the idea that this body should have a little more sway to minority opinion? What is the rationale of two-thirds?
- Zinn: This is getting to be high-time. The chips are down, everything’s on the line. We need to be able to make an opinion, but we can’t do that without that information.
Note: The proposed resolution says, “If the Chancellor intends to propose the Badger Partnership in the 2011-2013 state biennium budget and does not release the details of the proposal by December 15, 2010, the ASM student council shall not provide any support, in the form of resources, endorsements, nor resolutions, for the Badger Partnership without a two-thirds vote of council”
Q & A was closed.
Open Government Act
Bulovsky: Through campaigning, we found out that eight or nine students of every ten, had no idea what ASM does or that it even exists. This legislation is a great opportunity for outreach.
Niebart: I think this really gives students a voice. When Student Council members bring forward a bylaw change, they can participate in debate. I think that when other students want to change a bylaw, they should be able to participate in debate.
- Junger: What do you think about the implications on the funding process? Would you be amendable to solutions to that?
- Ostenson: We had not considered that. How could we change it?
- Junger: I don’t have ideas right now. About the town halls– whose job is it to organize them? We already have the ability, but we don’t do it.
- Johnson: It’s the last line in the resolution [the job of the Chief of Staff]
- Johnson: Can you explain why people should have the right of debate, rather than just participating in Q&A?
- Neibart: People already have a Q&A aspect in open forum. I think it’s empowering for other students should be able to participate in debate.
- Johnson: I’ve heard the concern that granting the right of debate could invite a particularly motivated person to give themselves a de-facto membership on council. Have you thought about any ways to prevent that?
- Ostenson: That’s a valid point that should be looked at.
- Nichols: Have you thought about only giving them the right to debate if they were unable to find anyone on council to debate on their behalf?
- Neibart: I don’t think anyone would be able to fully represent another student’s voice.
- Nichols: I didn’t notice anywhere that it makes it someone’s responsibility to keep track of some things like attending town hall meetings.
- Bolovsky: The secretary takes role, so they could make sure everyone went to one per semester.
- Fergus: What are the punishments for not fulfilling the requirements in this?
- Ostenson: We weren’t really seeking to punish students for not doing it– it’s more to give members the ability to do them. So I guess it’s on your own conscience.
- Fergus: What we’ve found in the past couple years is that when we say things without tying them to punishments, they don’t happen.
- Savoy: Would you be open to increasing the minimum number of signatures to something larger than 100? I was thinking something like 1-2,000, which is still low for this campus and feasible for one person to get.
- Bolovsky: I think 100 is large enough as it is, before it intimidates students from trying. We would be up for raising it. I think 2,000 would be too high, but we would definitely be open to that.
- Savoy: Would you be open to limiting debate rights?
- Bulovsky: Yes, we would be open to that.
- Smathers: Is there any idea to make town halls happen on a regular basis and make them meaningful?
- Ostenson: I think we should model the town halls around the major issues of the semester. It’s finding what students want to talk about.
- Nichols: Why did you decide on town halls as the most effective form of outreach?
- Ostenson: We didn’t discuss other sorts of outreach that we thought should be institutionalized.
- Nichols: Did you think about that people coming to the town halls are people who are already involved?
- Ostenson: Town halls are easier to institutionalize, rather than just stuff we should do.
- Johnson: Do you think putting someone in charge of it is enough to change our extremely woefully low attendance at town halls?
- Ostenson: It may not be enough, but this legislation is just a step in the right direction. It’s better than what we have now.
Council closed Q&A. Moving on to Commencement Speaker Fund.
Manes: Currently, commencement speakers are not paid. This would create a fund to pay those speakers.
- VandenLangenberg: It is the responsibility of the faculty to handle commencement speakers. It is the faculty’s opinion that we should not move toward a single commencement. If we don’t do that, can you comment on the feasibility of paying for seven commencement speakers.
- Manes: It might be that only a few speakers are paid. But the fact that we can’t pay anyone at all really hampers us.
- Johnson: This says it will charge all students. I assume you meant undergrads?
- Manes: No. It would work out to approximately $1 per student, but the numbers bounce around for how many credits someone is taking.
- Smathers: What would $40,000 get us?
- Manes: I don’t have any example. I’m just getting the conversation going. People have been talking about this for years. You know, “my commencement speaker blows.” This is saying that we as student council like the idea of paying someone to come in and do a crackerjack job as a speaker.
- Stephenson: Why did you pick $1 per student?
- Manes: It just seemed reasonable. It’s just a start.
10:55PM Q&A closed. Onto Old Business.
SACGB Seat Reaportionment.
Ziebell: I want to postpone this indefinitely, scrap it, and move on in the Spring.
Council voted to postpone it.
Support of Draft Student Representatives Constitution
This can be found on page 13 of the Student Council Agenda (download).
Johnson: The UW System Student Representatives have drafted a new Constitution. One change is that the mandatory refundable fee will be $3 per student per semester. Additionally, all UW schools will automatically be members of United Council.
- Junger: On part 5B, does that mean each UW-Madison representative’s vote is multiplied by the size of the student body?
- Johnson: Yes (although the vote is first taken under 5A). It gives Madison and Milwaukee quite a bit of power in that regard.
- Fergus: Is this vote today to adopt the constitution?
- Johnson: This is a vote to support the idea of this constitution.
- Fergus: Why haven’t we taken a campus-wide survey on this?
- Johnson: Because this isn’t a vote on the constitution.
Junger: I want the language in 5B to be clarified. If ASM gives its support, it should include a note requesting an amendment clarifying 5B.
Fergus: I don’t like the increase. I know it’s just a dollar, but I’m going to be a stickler of it. United Council has plenty of revenue already, so much so that they’re throwing thousands of dollars into food, so I don’t think we need to increase it to $3. Or, let’s put a note on students’ tuition bills so that students know that the $3 is refundable.
Johnson: I’m looking at: one can you do with that extra dollar? We could pay a lobbyist a competitive wage. We could pay them $150,000, hire a real professional– a team, even. And it would be just another drop in the bucket here. I think we could really expand student power in the state if we have the better infrastructure that this constitution gives us. I would prefer that we give this a clean approval rather than including addendums because that could make President Riley think we don’t know what we want, and it would take a long time to get back there.
11:15PM By a vote of 21-1-1, the resolution was approved.