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Student Council Passes Four New Pieces of Legislation

Posted: 2020-12-03 13:46:14   Expiration: 2050-12-10 20:16:14

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Student Council Passes Four New Pieces of Legislation

MADISON, WI — On December 1, the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Student Council passed four new resolutions to divest from fossil fuels, ban UWPD facial surveillance, decriminalize cannabis on campus, and grant election officials working at polling locations an attendance exemption from classes. 

The resolution for divestment from fossil fuels aims to encourage the UW system and Board of Regents to remove any investments targeted at the fossil fuel industry and related properties, in an effort to mitigate the worst effects of climate change induced by the emissions of greenhouse gases from various industries into the atmosphere. This legislation specifically asks the UW foundation and Board of Regents to remove every aspect of the UW system’s 7 billion endowment related to fossil fuels and through a 3-5 year plan transfer these financial resources to renewable and clean energy initiatives.

UW Divestment Coalition Core Organizer Mari Belina had this to say regarding the passage: “divestment is a tool that can bring us one step closer to achieving climate justice. The color of your skin, the money you have, your gender, your birthplace, or any other part of your human identity should not affect your access to clean air, clean water, nor your potential to be happy and healthy.”

The next resolution that was passed demands that the UW-Madison Police Department be not permitted to obtain, retain, possess, access or use any face surveillance system. ASM also directs the UW-Madison Police Department to create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) specifically on facial recognition technology and include a ban of its usage within it before the start of the Spring 2021 semester. ASM does support exemptions to this ban, directly mirroring the proposed Section 23.63 of the Madison General Ordinances.

“I’m glad that my colleagues in the ASM Student Council assisted in taking one of the first steps in ensuring that the privacy of students at UW-Madison is upheld,” stated ASM Nominations Board Chair Lennox Owino in regards to this legislation.

Another resolution that was passed encourages University administration to explore ways to alleviate cannabis-related punishments to more closely align with the surrounding city ordinances while maintaining federal compliance. ASM respectfully requests that the University advocate for changes to UWS Chapter 17.09 pursuant to the amendments of the Madison General Ordinances from the passage of Legistar files 62417, 62420, 62422.

ASM Grant Allocation Chair Sam Jorudd had this to say about the passing: “I couldn’t be happier that my colleagues passed this legislation. For decades the criminalization of marijuana has been used to disproportionately imprison BIPOC folks, and we are one step closer to making sure it doesn’t continue.”

Lastly, ASM passed legislation that calls on the University to further promote student involvement in working election polls by granting students who work at polling places an exemption from class attendance during election days.

ASM Vote Coordinator Ellen Abad Santos expressed enthusiasm with the passage of the legislation: “It is important to recognize the challenges that our poll workers faced during this General Election in the midst of a pandemic. They are an integral part of the election process, and as students, shouldn’t have to compromise their academic standing to be civically engaged. I appreciate the work ASM has done in recognizing this issue and passing this legislation.”

The next Student Council meeting will be on Tuesday, December 8th 2020 at 7:00 p.m. via a Zoom meeting.

-- Associated Students of Madison: Jacob Broehm