My Response to the College Republicans ClaimsPosted: February 16, 2011
As my buddy and fellow blogger AJ points out, there were some serious factual errors in the College Republicans Letter to the Editor in today’s Badger Herald. But shortly after, the comment section exploded with dozens of posts criticizing the bias of ASM, claiming that ASM leaders are making bank off of student money, and overall saying we overstepped our bounds with regard to the Budget Repair Bill. Here’s my response to their comments:
I usually don’t comment on the Badger Herald because its generally not worth it, but in this case it seems necessary. To assume that you know my political agenda or affiliation, or to even think that you know who I voted for is ignorant (I voted Walker, by the way). ASM’s stance is based purely upon our defense of higher education. You elected us to stand up for this University, so regardless of who is in office–Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian–we will oppose anything that counters or hurts our fine institution. We strive only to represent and advocate for students on issues of importance to students, which is why we didn’t touch the issues of high school teachers or other public employees.
We have certainly given thought to the implications of the bill, and we understand why Governor Walker is proposing. The current fiscal climate in the state is undesirable, to say the least, and Governor Walker is looking for ways to address a budget deficit without raising taxes.
Keep in mind that ASM is comprised of students from across the political spectrum, but our ultimate objective is the protection of the university that we love. That said, we feel that the bill takes steps that exceed budgetary or fiscal considerations and undermine the rights of the graduate Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Project Assistants. In ASM, we represent undergraduate and graduate students alike, so while just over 9000 graduate students are directly affected by this bill, our undergraduate population will also suffer. Without the benefits of collective bargaining for things such as working hours or tuition remission, we will lose the ability to attract high quality graduate students and professors. Once the attractiveness of these positions is reduced, our University suffers, both in terms of world rankings and in terms of academic experience for students.
In terms of pay for student government leaders, it seems most people have their mind made up at this point. But just for reference, I logged 46 hours last week. I make an average of $166.50 per week minus taxes. I believe that calculates to $3.62 per hour, without including taxes. Maybe I should find a new job…
-Brandon Williams, ASM Chair
Understand that this was written in a bit of passion; I’m sick of these misconceptions flying around. Nevertheless, I think it was important for me to clarify a number of things even though a lot of the BH commentors are likely trolling for a response such as mine.