A New Constitution for the Students of WisconsinPosted: January 28, 2011
Some of you may be familiar with United Council, the quasi state-wide student government that handles statewide policy and brings students from across the state. Even less of you are familiar with Student Representatives, the body composed of the President and Vice-President of all 26 UW schools which meets to discuss grander issues such as Shared Governance policies and enforcing other system-wide policies.
Long has there been a discrepancy between what United Council is doing and what the Reps are doing. United Council has lacked the institutional legitimacy that Reps has and can lead to conflict between the bodies and the individual student governments.
Last year, 16th Session Chair Tyler Junger and Vice-Chair Tom Templeton led the charge to write a new governing document that would bind the two organizations together. Essentially allowing the Presidents/Vice-Presidents to override decisions of United Council and provide more accountability. In October, Brandon and I voted to approve the most recent draft which was then forwarded to President Riley.
The important changes of this draft that affect us are:
- Mandatory Membership: No longer can UW-River Falls hitch a free ride off the backs of Madison and Eau Claire students that fund United Council. We all benefit from advocacy at the capital and we all should pay for it. The free rider problem needs to be eliminated. Along with this comes the benefit of NO MORE REFERENDUMS! This is a colossal improvement that will allow staff much more time to actually do work and not worry about membership.
- Student Representatives Review: The Presidents/Vice-Presidents should know their own student governments and campuses well and should provide oversight for United Council’s Board of Directors which has occasionally taken stances that don’t mesh with the student governments and another check on their (and staff’s!) power.
- Appointments to Statewide Committees: We don’t have statewide Shared Governance right now. This document gives the body the opportunity to actually make these appointments and represent students.
I’m sure there will be more changes to this document as we’re discussing it again today. President Riley was concerned about the mandatory membership so we will be reviewing that point as well.
More updates this weekend.