The most boring ASM Meeting ever, or, you didn’t miss much (July 2009)

[This originally appeared on July 26th on Muckrakers, the BH opinion blog. There’s less of a need to do these now, with the ASM press office.]

The ASM Student Council met on July 18th for its monthly meeting.  There wasn’t much on the agenda, and no members of the media attended the meeting, so there hasn’t been any coverage of the meeting. In fact, no one attended but ASM council members and an ASM staff member, which is the first time that’s happened this year.

I did want to briefly recap the meeting so at least there’s some record beyond the minutes that it even happened, but I think most readers will agree that they didn’t miss much.

Poor attendance was not limited to media and public, the Council was barely there as well. There are 29 members of the council, but only 13 made this meeting. (If you’re wondering how we even had quorum, there’s a special rule for the summer that says you only need a third of the council to make quorum. ASM doesn’t always set the bar very high.)

The first substantive thing the council took up was the BUCCE campaign. This is the name of the outreach campaign that was proposed at the June meeting and covered by the Herald last month (http://badgerherald.com/news/2009/06/13/asm_devise_outreach_.php) What the council did was effectively strip the idea for parts. We referred the proposal to the External Relations committee, which ostensibly already does much of what the campaign proposes, and told them to keep the ideas they liked and send the rest back to the council.  The council will figure out what, if anything, to do with those ideas at a future meeting.

The council also added three new members to the ASM Nominations Board: Katrina Flores, Tom Templeton, and Raechel Bartz.  The ASM Nominations Board is basically the Human Resources department for ASM, and is responsible for finding and filling nearly every job in ASM that is not directly elected. (The big exception is finding students to be on University committees, the Shared Governance Committee selects those.)  With the three new members, there are now nine members on the Noms Board, which is the maximum size the bylaws allow it to be. The additions passed unanimously.

Tyler Junger then gave an update on the auxiliary fund raid. There was no new information that wasn’t already covered in earlier Badger Herald (http://badgerherald.com/news/2009/07/18/uw_owes_22_million_t.php) or Daily Cardinal (http://dailycardinal.com/article/23163) stories.

Three of the remaining four resolutions we took up I either sponsored or co-sponsored, so I was probably more interested in the rest of the meeting than everyone else in the room.

The first resolution was in support of the High-Density Shelving Facility for the 2011-2013 budget. The UW will have to pick out the buildings it wants to ask for in the next budget later this year. The High-Density Shelving Facility was on the list for the 2009-2011 budget (See the proposal here: http://www.uwsa.edu/capbud/Capbud/09-11cap/msn/MSN_High_Density_Shelving_Facility_PRD.doc ). The state Department of Administration removed it from the budget it proposed to the Legislature, and the UW has to decide if it’s going to ask again. I think it’s important: having this facility is essentially expanding College or Memorial or Steenbock or any combination of the libraries for far cheaper that trying to build a new floor on top existing buildings. The student representatives to the Campus Planning Committee have been supportive of the project and argued for it the last time around, hopefully this will help them make the case that it should be supported again.

The next resolution is pretty toothless, and just directs the ASM Legislative Affairs chair to tell us if ASM should get in the game on Obama’s student loan reforms. ASM doesn’t have a lot of infrastructure to be effective in lobbying on national issues. Furthermore, the reform proposals are moving very fast, probably too fast for ASM to gear up and do anything worthwhile. On the other hand, this is an important issue and seems like something ASM should be paying attention to and getting involved with. If ASM can do so without embarrassing itself, it should, and if it’s too late then it’s not worth chasing after.

Kurt Gosselin sponsored a housekeeping resolution. In June the council gave the SSFC some explicit powers to manage the auxiliary/128 fund raid and present at the July regents meeting, and now that the meeting is over we passed a resolution removing that power.

The last resolution we took up was authorizing the graduate student caucus to be a neutral source of information on Research Assistants and Collective Bargaining Rights. I jointly sponsored this with Colin Ingram. RA Collective Bargaining/Unionization is a subject for another day, but ASM has agreed to be a source for information and to keep graduate students informed of what RA Collective Bargaining is all about. ASM is not taking a stand one way or the other on RA Collective Bargaining.

We finished up with reports of the chairs. Very few committees are doing anything interesting right now, with the exception of the Student Activity Governing Center Board. In addition to Move-Out night, the SACGB is continuing work on finding a café operator for the 3rd floor the SAC. Unfortunately, (because their food sucks) the Union has the right of first refusal on the space. Rep. Katy Ziebell, who is the point-person on Move-Out night, implored us to help out however we can several times during the meeting.

That was pretty much the entire meeting. The whole thing took just a bit over two hours. There were no ‘No’ votes cast, except for a few people who voted ‘Present’. The Coordinating Council, which is the “Executive Committee” of ASM, was scheduled to meet immediately after the council meeting, but they were unable to keep enough people present to get quorum, so they were unable to meet. Ironically, they were going to vote on a procedure to handle the case when the Coordinating Council needed to act but couldn’t get quorum.

The next student council meeting is Saturday, August 22nd at noon. This will be a more interesting meeting, because during the summer ASM is prohibited from making changes to the by-laws. Summer, by ASM’s calendar, ends two weeks before the first day of classes, so that restriction is lifted. However, we also lose the shield of a lower quorum, so it could be a very short meeting if more people don’t attend.

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