I’ll preface this by saying that I am on the Board of Directors of United Council, which seems to imply that I was part of a board that could, you know, direct action for the organization. Well, this novel concept is not very well embraced in United Council, and today’s “Students are as good as dead to legislators” Zombie Day was no exception. The plan for students to come, dressed up as the living dead is certainly a cute idea but cute doesn’t have a lot of currency around the Capitol, even among Democratic offices.
Now, United Council has done stupid things before, and I’ve even participated, but at least the stupid events that I’ve done have been with approval from the Board. Newly elected President of United Council Seth Hoffmeister, if you’re reading this, please use this occasion, regardless of if you like or dislike the event, to assert the Board’s authority over staff.
United Council internal crap aside, I have numerous other problems with the horde.
- Poor theatrics. Staffers didn’t know they were Zombies unless I told them about the event because the makeup was ambiguous and the students were walking around like normal. You have to sell these things.
- Don’t commit crimes by smearing your paint on the carpet of the Co-Chair of JFC’s office. Additionally, if you do a “die-in” somewhere, the last 3 students who haven’t been dragged out should NEVER just get up and leave. Way to stay united on that one.
- Don’t disrespect other students for the sake of spiting anyone. Especially fellow students. Especially those being honored in a state-wide ceremony. This was a once in a lifetime thing for these kids and it was ruined for a quick photo op. Think it really affected Governor Walker’s morale? No, but I can bet that he was mad as hell for the athletes whose ceremony you interrupted. I know I am mad as hell for those athletes when I wasn’t even there and I’m VERY sympathetic to the plight of students, you know, from being one. Edit: Video added below
Nearly all of you are aware that it is ASM’s election season once again (go VOTE if you haven’t, preferably for me 🙂 ), and again most of you know that United Council membership is again on the ballot. You may be receiving lots of invitations to vote one way or another and whichever way you vote is truly fine, as long as it is an informed vote.
Today, a large ad crying Vote NO! and an accompanying piece from the Editorial Board appeared in the Badger Herald. While not denying that these groups have a right to express their thoughts, I wish it was at least accurate and informed.
The Ed Board piece comes from a group that only knows of United Council through press releases and having UC’s governmental relations guy, Michael, tell them what the story is at the capital. While I commend them for trying to act in the best interest of campus, there are many factual errors in the piece.
There are two main errors within the main argument
- Technical colleges ARE NOT a part of United Council. If anything we spend a lot of time thwarting them because our UW College system directly competes for talent, resources, and their very livelihoods
- Failed to mobilize students: This is a half truth. In general the campaigns are not mass movement in nature. It’s more like Policy Wonk A from Madison meets Policy Wonk B from Stevens Point and they team with Policy Wonk C from Milwaukee in implementing a program that Policy Wonk D started at Parkside. That being said, United Council did take part in the protests against the Budget Repair Bill (specifically for our Teaching Assistants and Faculty) by funding buses and organizing students from around the state to come on down.
Folks, United Council is far from perfect. We have infighting, personal issues, procedural snafus and overall legitimacy crisis; so basically, it’s the same as every student government that has ever existed. With Madison likely to begin operating under a new administrative model after July 1, we need statewide support to continue. We cannot think that issues that will affect UW System will not affect us. Cuts to Education are top down, indiscriminate of models of administration. Additionally, United Council maintains the largest archive of Shared Governance information in the state. This archive has stuff from every school going back decades. It’s absolutely essential this is preserved going into the brave new waters of public authority status where we will need to fight to keep Shared Governance as we know it.
Vote Yes. A vote no is taking your ball and going home because the other kids playing ball are being mean to you. Let’s grow up a bit. You can’t reform a system from the outside; you need to be at the table. Let’s stay at the table and keep ourselves open to our Badgers across the state.
Disclaimer: I am a current Board member of United Council and am a candidate for President at the upcoming convention. Take anything from those statements that you wish.