Posts Tagged ‘ASM’

What happened at the ASM meeting?

March 4, 2010

I was going to comment on the lack of ASM news coming from the campus papers when I saw this buried at the bottom of the Herald news page: “Student Council fails to keep quorum.”

Neither of my go-to ASM blogs have updated on the matter.

An intern project for Academic Affairs was a major point of debate. The intern is working on a project to collaborate student organizations and students looking to volunteer called the Madison Community Academic Outreach project.

The intern project is a four-credit class, and the drop date for classes is March 15.

To vote ‘no’ on the intern project would effectively cancel the intern’s three weeks of work, Rep. Colin Ingram said.

What are the reasons the three guys walked out? Because other important people there, namely Jonah Zinn, the head of the Academic Affairs Committee, which is supposed to deal with intern projects.

To state the obvious: Why weren’t these projects approved before the start of the semester, or moreover, who is authorizing interns to do projects that may be cancelled half way through?

It seems like this is the week of legislative stalling tactics, at all levels of government. In D.C. we’ve got a senile hall of fame pitcher putting holds on unemployment benefits and COBRA health benefits. In the Sconz we’ve got Prosecutor Steve Nass not showing up to court because he’s worried Democrats will turn his trial of the most pathetic man in the state into a circus. Nothing at the city-level comes to mind immediately but go to Brenda Konkel’s site and I’m sure you’ll find something.

Student government comedy

February 23, 2010

Jason Smathers points out some particularly comical mess-ups by the Student Activity Governing Board:

The Student Activity Center Governing Board, in an attempt to remain impartial, created a system that was potentially more biased than before. I’m still trying to figure out the myriad of issues at this meeting and for that reason have filed an open records request for the recordings. I’ll let you know what comes up. But the straight and narrow of this seems to be this: They picked questions they knew the answers to after a previous series of questions were thrown out because of a View Point Neutrality violation. There are two main problems with doing it that way:

1) If you are picking questions based on answers you’ve already received, you can pick the questions based on which groups answered them best. Which, would violate VPN. Of course, Nancy Lynch is there, so that’s unlikely. Still a problem.

2) If all decisions are based on how well each group answered the three questions, it essentially comes down to subjective rankings, which, as Templeton mentioned, means your decisions can hide bias behind the questions. Considering the fact that members we apparently just motioning to move the rankings around with no apparent reasoning, that’s probably an awful idea.

What you need to know about tenant politics

February 9, 2010

Erik Paulson, who “can’t take it [my poor understanding of ASM] anymore,” has an enormous post up on the politics behind the Student Tenant Union, its successor, the Student Tenant Resource Center. This relates to recent discussion we’ve had about the Madison Property Rating Website.

The Madison Property Rating Website, ie the Tenant Rating Website, ie the Landlord Rating website, is an independent project of the separate from the STU/STRC. Originally proposed by Eli Judge, (see 2:00 into the video) ASM ultimately took the plunge and allocated funding for its creation in the 2008-2009 school year (I think about $8000) and put in about $2300 to run it in the 2009-2010 (July 1 to June 30th, 2010) school year. For the 2010-2011 budget that ASM is currently discussing, the operational money remains about $2300. Obviously, the isn’t up and running yet, but hopefully the final understandings can be reached in the University soon and ASM can actually spend the money, and the site could be up and running late this spring. Ideally, there’d be a good advertising push by the MPR Oversight Board, and people would start actually rating Landlords, so the website is useful in the Fall of 2010, when potential renters will start to actually need it.

What’s hard for me to understand is where the $2300 figure came from. ASM approved $5000 to fund the project –– but that was last session, and for the project to regain the money it would have to be re-approved. What am I missing? Erik?

ASM business tomorrow

January 26, 2010

Tyler Junger, chair of the Associated Students of Madison, was kind enough to provide me with an agenda for tomorrow’s meeting.

Highlights:

New Business

Support for Haiti Day of Action, 16-0127-01

Press Office Assistant Director, 16-0127-02

Press Office Director, 16-0127-03

Press Office Webmaster, 16-0127-04

MIU Budget Transfer, 16-0127-05

I haven’t heard news yet of any more expulsions or impeachments, but ever since the Student Council put I wouldn’t be surprised if the new attendance requirements make removals a standard practice of ASM meetings.

Looking for a place to study?

December 1, 2009

The Student Activity Center is apparently the bomb (and yes, I’d like to bring that expression back). ASM Voice lists the following times to study there during Finals week. From what I’ve heard, the SAC is a good place for group studying. It’s a brand new version of College Library, which is just too damn popular for people like me to stand.

Tuesday, 12/15 – Monday, 12/21 8am to 1am
Tuesday, 12/22 8am to 12a
Wednesday, 12/23 8a to 3p
Thursday, 12/23 – Sunday, 1/3 CLOSED
Monday, 1/4 – Friday, 1/8 9a to 5p
Saturday, 1/9 – Sunday, 1/10 CLOSED
Monday, 1/11 – Saturday, 1/16 9a to 5p
Sunday, 1/17 10a to 9p

ASM is at it again

November 18, 2009

That’s right, they are addressing a relevant student issue in what appears to be a competent way.

The Associated Students of Madison’s Affordable Textbook Campaign presented a resolution addressing campus textbook policies to the Faculty Senate’s University Committee Monday.

ATC made several recommendations to the committee. They suggested professors provide book lists at least one month before classes start, use new editions of textbooks only when necessary and become educated about alternative textbook options, such as open source and electronic options.

All of these are very good ideas, and well overdue. A couple of thoughts:

1. UW-Lacrosse has a rental system in place in which students pay, I believe, something like $75 at the beginning of the semester to rent all the books they need for that semester. I realize this isn’t a viable option for our entire campus, but why not try to get some funding to do this for huge gateway courses like Chem 103, etc. ? This would also help deal with the problem of publishers no longer publishing older editions. We would already have  as many books as needed, so we wouldn’t have to go back to buy more in large numbers.

2. Bring the fight to freshman. If this business about getting book lists earlier is going to have any effect, people have to know how this helps them. Freshman come in and the bookstore is easy and obvious. After a few years some students break out of this habit, but most do not. An aspect aimed at teaching incoming freshman, or more importantly their parents, how to find cheap textbooks online, and how much less expensive they are, would be huge.

Any thoughts?

ASM and gay rights

September 23, 2009

The Badger Herald has a point. Maybe it would be more appropriate for ASM to stay out of national affairs. And if ASM were to fully fund the travel expenses for students to participate in every worthy cause in D.C. we’d probably have to start paying six figure tuition bills.

However, the Herald editorial was, in all frankness, disturbing. The ed board invoked a series of ideological arguments against ASM’s expression of support in favor of the gay rights march in Washington.

It is easy to forget, as students at the University of Wisconsin, that what seems politically black-and-white to student leaders has many shades of gray for the average student. And while our students and broader culture mull over an issue as agonizingly complex as same-sex marriage — an issue that immediately implicates religion, culture, moral conceptions and constitutional interpretation — the members of Student Council have an ethical responsibility to withhold public statement.

Agonizingly complex? How? The agony in the issue come from cultural reluctance to accept homosexuality, not from an extraordinarily difficult legal decision. The Herald seems to imply that gay marriage is inherently dubious constitutionally, as if a rational interpretation of the U.S. Constitution could somehow lead to the conclusion that gay marriage is unconstitutional. That is only the case in Wisconsin, which the march in Washington has nothing to do with.

It is bad enough that a conservative student could easily get the impression that our university administration has formally endorsed the full gamut of same-sex rights proposed by activists, and that they are expected to follow suit.

Is it? What’s worse is the impression some students may get that the largest paper on campus is passing judgement on civil rights issues based on the cultural and religious views of members of the editorial board. Nobody who believes in the secular tradition of American government would invoke “religion” in the discussion of a civil rights matter.

ASM succeeds at something!

August 14, 2009

Incredible. Although I pledged that I would never write about ASM, the UW student government, it appears that there finally may be reason not only to write about it, but to commend it!

This morning my roomates and I, stuck with a car and a U-Haul, were pondering the options for parking. We are technically homeless until noon tomorrow, and we didn’t know anybody who was renewing their lease and had a parking place for us. Then we remembered ASM’s move out initiative, which offers sleeping spaces at the Student Activitie’s Center and parking spaces at various lots around campus. Done. We secured two parking spaces for the truck and the car, and we don’t have to worry about parking tickets or worse — getting towed.

Kudos to ASM for creating this service for students. Hopefully it can expand next year. If you’re still looking for a parking place or a place to sleep make sure and call 608-265-4276.

Move out preparations

August 9, 2009

Kurt Gosselin elaborated on ASM’s move out night plan, in response to several questions I asked. On how the program could be made bigger, to accommodate more students:

There are really only 2 ways to make it bigger:
1) Use space other than the SAC for sleeping
2) Not designate the SAC as sleeping space, instead making it “sitting space” – unfortunately, we have to take direction from the Fire Marshall on capacity issues. Acc. to the Marshall, each sleeping person gets a 6×10 foot space (which is larger than a queen bed!).

Gosselin also mentioned that a “new service” will soon be unveiled to students. He gave no indication as to what that may be.

For my part, move out is not as bad as it was last year. I have no personal effects besides a broken chair, clothes, and some posters. If anybody’s looking to sell a mattress, seriously, hit me up on facebook or twitter.

Open records for UW student government?

August 5, 2009

Frankly, I don’t know why anybody in their right mind would care to look into the business of student government, but just in case any of you are crazy or bored enough to attempt, Patrick McEwen and Tom Templeton are looking after you. I ran into Patrick and Tom the other day. They were looking spiffy after their meeting with Rep. Mark Gottlieb, a Republican member of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities. They’d been discussing proposals to subject UW student governments to open records law. Gottlieb is the author of one such bill.

As Patrick noted, a point that has been raised in advocating for more transparency in student government is the situation at UW-Milwaukee, where members of the student council refused to release their minutes to the student newspaper. Nevertheless, there are legitimate reasons to be cautious in approaching the issue, according to McEwen. His position, which I support to a certain degree, is that although governing bodies, such as ASM and SSFC, should be subject to open records requests, not all GSSF groups should be. Patrick cited PAVE – a counseling session with a student should not be open to the public. That being said, I can’t imagine that being a problem – all kinds of reasonable exceptions exist in state government as well, although sometimes the Doyle administration attempts to expand “reasonable” to unreasonable degrees.

What do you think dear reader? Can you think of any exceptions or concerns that should be raised?


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