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Student Council Meeting Recap: February 12

Posted: 2020-02-12 23:54:21   Expiration: 2040-02-19 23:54:21

ASM Logo  Associated Students of Madison
  333 East Campus Mall, 4301 Student Activity Center, Madison, WI
  Website:   Phone: 608/265-4ASM   


The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Student Council met on Wednesday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Activity Center Hearing Room.

Adrian Lampron spoke in Open Forum about mental health on campus. They expressed concerns students that students have told them regarding University Health Services (UHS) accessibility, weekend hours, misgendering of students and translations of the corona virus email.

There were four special orders.

First, Student Council heard from Andrea Lawson, Interim Director of Mental Health Services and Jake Baggott, Associate Vice Chancellor and Executive Director of University Health Services. 

Director Lawson spoke about the “Eat Sleep Play Day” campaign, occurring right before finals. This campaign is designed to help students before things get intense in the semester. More details about will be provided closer to the campaign timeframe.

Moving on, Director Lawson shared that 23 new mental health counselors and front office staff have been hired since last session. 

UHS’ Mental Health Services (MHS) were then described. Director Lawson started with access appointments, which is a UHS service that helps connect students to the proper departments and resources. There are limitations about certain services; however, as UHS wants “to make students are connected to the care they need.” Within the overview of MHS, the following exist: Workshop SilverCloud You@WISC, Single Session Support Group, Counseling IP/Support Group, Assessments, Survivor Services, Urgent Counseling, Psychiatry, Managing Challenges, Crisis Stabilization, Transport to Hospital and On Call. 

To determine how a student may use any one service, UHS looks at that specific service availability, as well as the needs of said student. For example, Director Lawson said a case of mild depression will warrant longer wait times than a case which necessitates an elevation, which would receive “same day” attention. 

Director Lawson also stated that UHS will “help students be a better consumer of healthcare” outside the system. She emphasized how part of student growth pertains to their development as individuals and adults. 

The 24/7 crisis line and "Let’s Talk" program were discussed. Director Lawson stated how the Let’s Talk program is available each day of the school year. Accessibility is a key part of UHS’ future goals.

Finally, Director Lawson shared how students are experiencing more symptoms for mental health related concerns, with the stigma around it decreasing, at higher rates than ever before - a nationwide trend. 

At UHS, specifically in Madison during 2018-2019, there has been a 55% increase in total visits and 59% increase in patient visits. However, 15% of students have utilized UHS. Thus, the majority of students are not getting their mental health needs met on campus. To respond to such developments, six additional staff are being hired this spring.

Psychiatrists, survivor services, groups and ACT for social anxiety and depression are being expanded upon.

Director Baggott then talked about initiatives being taken this year, as well as in the future.

This year, 23 new mental health staff have been hired, including 10 new positions. Director Baggott reiterated Director Lawson’s point on the fact that six additional staff are being hired this spring.

Among future goals, Director Baggott stated a realignment of psychiatry services to medical services, addition of associate director of satellite and embedded clinical services to develop additional access points for mental health services, extension of mental health hours of operation to 7 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday nights and collaboration with public relations and marketing classes.

On the topic of expanding MHS locations, Director Baggott shared how he toured housing facilities with University Housing and had interesting conversations with UW Nursing about leveraging facilities. He said that UW Engineering has already made a commitment for MHS space. Although it is preliminary, this is “encouraging.” MHS is also looking at planners in developmental departments, as well as other schools and colleges. 

Director Baggott explained that such expansion is connected to the Natatorium project. Through the insistence of ASM leaders, a well-being space is planned to be incorporated in the new Natatorium. 

Further, it was shared that one of the chief things that came out of ASM’s mental health campaign last year was “awareness.”

Finally, Director Baggott discussed the phased renovation of UHS in the Student Activity Center (SAC). The plan is to shift non-student, support staff, administrators and human resources staff to the 8th floor. Mental health services will be expanded on the 7th floor. The 5th and 6th floors currently have under utilized space, so UHS would like to reconsider this space by growing capacity, increasing collaboration among professionals and improving services.

Several questions were asked by the Student Council body. The first question was related to confusion regarding why only a Chinese translation of the Coronavirus email was sent out when multi-language translations of the announcement link were provided in the beginning of the email. It was further asked whether UHS has considered that it would mislead the readers to believe that Chinese students were exclusively responsible for this Coronavirus outbreak. Director Baggott said the translation was available because the message was to the whole campus community, many members of which do not have English as their first language. He said he understands the message from campus community members regarding these concerns. Director Baggott said that UHS does not want to single out Chinese people as being of risk. He thinks that UHS could do a little better.

Another question was asked about the recommendation of not wearing masks without symptoms. It was said that even not for the coronavirus, wearing masks could be a protection for both individuals and other people from the flu outbreak in the United States. It was posed that such a suggestion could prevent people who want to wear a mask for protection from doing so because they do not want to be considered sick and alienated. Director Baggott responded by saying that data from the CDC tells us that the masks do not help as much as we would like. UHS did not want to create an expectation that everyone “mask-up.” Director Baggott also shared how UHS wanted to maintain its supply of masks. He expressed an intention to strengthen  messaging about masks in the future.

Another question was asked about what students can do to help improve mental health efforts on campus for UHS. Director Baggott said that by sharing the student voice, he would like to continue opportunities in connecting staff and students. He wants to set a positive tone to talk about mental health. Director Baggott expressed an intention for students to openly talk about their experience and be connected with services through various student organizations and initiatives.

Chair Pasbrig then presented the Student Services Finance Committee (SSFC) FY 21 Internal Budget. He emphasized the internal budget from FY14-21 and discussed allocable money, as well as the supplies budget for FY21.

Chair Pietroske presented the Student Activity Center Governing Board (SACGB) FY21 Budget. He touched on allocable segregated fees in particular.

Chief Justice Zufelt presented the Student Judiciary (SJ) FY21 Budget. He pointed out the reductions in segregated fees allocated for the Student Judiciary salaries, supplies and services.

Representative Ben-Yitschak offered an update about the Wiscard Design Committee. He expressed an openness to receiving feedback about any design options.

Chair Goyal asked Representative Ben-Yitschak if there will be any efforts pertaining to Wiscards being voter identification compliant through the Wiscard Design Committee. Representative Ben-Yitschak stated that additional space could potentially be left on Wiscards for this, if it were to become a reality. Chair Lang added that the emergency hotline numbers can be added to the Wiscard in a short timeframe, while adding the voter identification component is more of a long-term proposal. 

Chair Lampron announced that this upcoming Tuesday is the Spring Primary. 

Chair Goyal is working on improving Graduate student treatment.

Vice Chair Grunow said that the SAC front desk staff accidentally recycled a tera-cycle box and are in need of a replacement. In the interim, there is a tera-cycle box in the ASM office.

Chair Downer announced that Our Wisconsin is looking for facilitators.

Director Mitnick provided an update about the Campus Neighborhood Association. He referenced the controversial 126 Langdon Street development, referred to as “Hub II.” Such a project might be deterred through community oversight on a neighborhood association. Director Mitnick expressed a desire for members of the Student Council and Coordinating Council, as well as the student body and residents of Langdon Street, to get involved. Efforts are currently underway with Alder Rohrer and other stakeholders to establish this body.

Chair Lang motioned to move all legislation to after a reading and approval of the minutes. With a vote of 14-0-2, the motion passes.

Vice Chair Grunow motioned to move conference selection committee appointments to after the adoption of the agenda. With a vote of 13-0-3, the motion passes.

With a vote of 13-0-3, the agenda was approved.

Chair Lang introduced the Nominations Board Spring Appointments legislation. He shared how the Nominations Board solicited applications and conducted interviews with a number of students in search of nominees to fill positions within ASM.

The legislation resolved the following appointments be as follows: Samantha Henschel as Assistant Press Office Director, Zoe Dlott as the Open Seat Internal Director, Lennox Owino to the Grant Allocation Committee, Lily Holden and Crystal Zhao as Inclusion Ambassadors, Donny Xu as a School of Education Student Council Representative, Tessa Reilly and Izzy Boudnik as College of Letters and Science Student Council Representatives and Izzy Boudnik as Assistant Internal Director of the Open Seat. 

Chair Lang made a motion to suspend the rules and allow for debate on the legislation. With a vote of 13-0-2, the motion passes.

Chair Lang introduced an amendment. The amendment resolved to amend that Crystal Zhao is an Inclusion Ambassador, while striking the name prior. With a vote og 13-0-2, the amendment passes.

With a vote of 13-0-2, the legislation passes.

Representative Xu, Representative Reilly and Representative Boudnik, were thus sworn in to the Student Council.

Vice Chair Grunow introduced the Recognition of the League of Women Voters legislation. 

The legislation moves that ASM recognizes and appreciates the commitment of the League of Women Voters’ volunteers and commends their dedication to promoting civic engagement by helping the students of UW-Madison register to vote.

There was a motion by Representative Santas to suspend the rules and debate on the legislation. With a vote of 16-0-2, the motion passes.

With a vote of 16-0-2, the legislation passes.

The Student Services Finance Committee (SSFC) FY 21 Internal Budget was introduced. With a vote of 16-0-2, it was approved.

The Student Activity Center Governing Board (SACGB) FY21 Budget was introduced. With a vote of 16-0-2, it was approved.

The Student Judiciary (SJ) FY21 Budget was introduced. 

Representative Ben-Yitshak made an amendment to increase the Student Elections Commission (SEC) Chair line from $378 to $4500. With a vote of 13-1-3, the amendment passes.

With a vote of 16-0-2, the Student Judiciary (SJ) FY21 Budget was approved. 

The approval of the Special Committee on Campus Alcohol Policy standing rules was up next. Representative Resch shared that he was appointed Chair, with Representative Miller as Vice Chair for the committee. At the last meeting, standing rules were made. Representative Resch iterated that if anybody had specific alcohol related topics they would like to see on the agenda, please email him. With a vote of 16-0-2, the standing rules were approved.

Student Council will meet next on February 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Activity Center Hearing Room.

-- Associated Students of Madison: Matthew Mitnick