Sunday, April 02, 2006

More outside support

James Wigderson has some interesting thoughts on student government and reform in general:
The year before I started at UW-Milwaukee, the student government there re-wrote the constitution. We made some radical changes while I was a student there, including allowing students to designate where their student fees should go. Right after I left, I believe student government changed the constitution again and impeached the student court.

During that period, students were getting paid thousands of dollars to serve in student government and other student activities. One student actually sat on the student government body that allocated fees to his student activity organization that paid him a salary. When that wasn't enough graft, he started a student publication, became it's advertising manager, had the student government body allocate money to start the student publication, had the student government body buy ads in the publication, paid himself a commission from those ads, had his student activity organization buy ads in his new publication, received a commission from those ads, and received a salary from the student government body, the student activity organization and the student publication. The story was he was reluctant to graduate because he would have to take a pay cut.

If you read the whole thing (which you should!), he's a bit less optimistic than we are about the prospects for lasting change, especially after his experiences at Milwaukee.

When Student Government has been an institution at the UW for 10 years, it may be that things will return to something resembling the status quo at the moment. But even if this is just a short break from the ineptitude of ASM, it is worth it.

The right precedent, at least, is being set.


At 4/09/2006 9:53 AM, Blogger robbodobbo said...

Hey, I support your efforts. My name is Robert and I am currently the Vice President at UW-Milwaukee. The things this person wrote about occurred over 10 years ago. They are not to date - in fact, we hope to assist you in the new model of your government to make it the most beneficial for your students.


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