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ASM At Odds With Administration - Passes Student Relief Fund

Posted: 2021-01-27 04:11:29   Expiration: 2050-02-04 04:11:29

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ASM At Odds With Administration - Passes Student Relief Fund

MADISON, WI — Last night, the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Student Council sent a clear message to UW Administration that they would no longer accept the unethical lobbying and flawed legal analysis that has so long defined shared governance. Student Council passed three substantial items: the $2 million COVID-19 Student Relief Fund to provide housing and rental assistance to students not currently being covered, placeholder in the budget for the funding of a Crisis Response Team to replace UWPD in responding to mental health related calls for service, and a demand for Pass/Fail grading policies in the second semester.

The COVID-19 Student Relief Fund will be administered by the Tenant Resource Center, with an online application set to go live in the next couple weeks. It was shared in the meeting that University Recreation & Wellbeing, as well as other administrators, have been personally lobbying ASM leaders to direct excess funding to other units instead of students in need. ASM condemns these actions. On the authorization of this fund, Chair Mitnick shared: “The many students and community members who shared their stories with the Student Council and Reserve Board, as well as the elected officials who co-sponsored this fund, deserve all the credit. We will now start the process of allocating funding to the Tenant Resource Center so that students can start receiving housing assistance as soon as possible. ASM is prepared to legally challenge the administration if attempts are made to block this critical fund.” Representative Lampron also reacted with enthusiasm: "I am so excited for this opportunity to provide an essential service to housing insecure students in this time of crisis."

Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets (CAHOOTS) is a Crisis Response Team made up of medical and crisis workers to respond to mental health related calls for service, rather than law enforcement. It is a 24/7 innovative model for mobile crisis intervention that would otherwise be handled by public safety or emergency medical response. Tarah Stangler, spokesperson for the UW-Madison BIPOC Coalition and co-author of the legislation explained: “While I am thrilled that members of ASM recognized the importance of finding police free solutions to mental health crises calls— especially given the fractured relationship UWPD has with the community as a result of their actions this past year— this is only part of the battle. We must continue to recognize the collective power the student body holds and use it to fight for what is not only right but necessary because administration have proven time and time again that they will not.” Grant Allocation Committee Chair Samuel Jorudd added: “I’m happy to see that my peers passed legislation as important as this. With this legislation, we can properly handle mental health crises and I am looking forward to working out the details.”

Finally, ASM passed legislation requesting for a Spring 2021 Pandemic Policy Task Force, complete with student representation, to have power over academic policies for the spring semester. These policies include Pass/Fail grading and inclusive accommodations with an emphasis on equity. On this item, Nominations Board Chair Owino stated: “I was personally corroborating for the legislation to be passed and I’m glad it eventually did because we want to establish early on as ASM that we would want accommodative grading policies this semester unlike the last.”

The Student Council will next meet virtually on February 9, 2021 via Zoom.

-- Associated Students of Madison: Jacob Broehm