What Happened To Shared Governance at UW-Milwaukee?
tl;dr version: The UW-Milwaukee Administration (Vice Chancellor Michael Laliberte) illegally decided not to recognize the Spring 2013 Student Association (SA) Elections. The Student Association Senate and Executive Branch were going to appeal this to the UW-System Board of Regents; before they got the chance to the Student Association Judicial Branch, the University Student Court (USC), illegally and outside it’s constitutional authority, decided to invalidate the results of the elections. This paved the way for only the USC being recognized by the UWM Administration after May 30th, 2013 due to their appointed terms being two years. The USC has since set up an illegal Board of Trustees (that they can overrule at any time) to pretend to be some semblance of fake student shared governance to ‘reform’ the SA, all-the-while disenfranchising students and illegally paying themselves student segregated fees while they repeatedly push back the ‘new’ elections (currently set for April 2014).
tl;dr version of the tl;dr version: UWM Administration illegally interfered with student shared governance with the complicit help of a few students with little integrity. Things have gone to hell and there’s no legitimate student shared governance at UWM.
Why You Should Care:
- UWM Students, up to $1200 of YOUR student dollars (in addition to your already high tuition) are being spent illegally.
- Segregated fees (your student dollars) that could be going towards student services and activities are instead being used to pay students that DON’T represent you.
- YOU, as students, have a voice in many things (your fees, University policy, activities, etc.) through shared governance.
- This voice, YOUR voice, YOUR statutory rights, are under attack by UWM Administration and State Legislators.
Full explanation coming soon…
This is a summary of the events surrounding the Spring 2013 University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM) Student Association (SA) Elections and the subsequent events following up to now. This page will be updated frequently to be more comprehensive and to continue to chronicle events as they happen.
During the 2013 UWM Student Association election cycle the Alliance of Students Achieving Progress (ASAP) party merged with incumbent Allied Student Voice (ASV) party to run under the ASV: MORE platform in the ASV party for the elections due to, what was at the time, similar values and visions. The other party running for the Student Association elections was People of Change (POC).
The Student Association elections were held April 9th-11th, 2013, the results are HERE.
People of Change (POC) was not approved to be on the final ballot due to late paperwork and eligibility requirements not being met (better explained later). Due to this POC filed complaints with the UWM Administration and the Student Association University Student Court (USC). The formal complaint accepted by the USC is seen below:
Student Association Deputy Speaker of the Senate Taylor Q. Scott and Senator M. Samir Siddique submitted the formal response to the University Student Court (USC), on behalf of the Senate:
The petitioner, Dakota Hall, then dropped the case after the formal response was accepted by the USC, citing that he felt that after talking to UWM Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Laliberte the UWM Administration was going to take care of the issues.
In the meantime the Student Association Election Commission (IEC) did review several complaints including: the above complaint referred to the USC, a complaint from an Architecture and Urban Planning student regarding a ballot issue (which was resolved though the reissue of the ballot [currently trying to obtain email documentation]), and this complaint that seemed to address the election process and was dismissed as it didn’t name a candidate or party. The Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Michael Laliberte also claimed that several students also filed complaints with him instead of going through the correct IEC process, those complaints were never produced. The SA Independent Election Commission (IEC) Commissioner also later found that during the party registration process the online registration forms were tampered/edited/interfered with by Student Government Relations Coordinator David Stockton, the Director of the Student Association Professional Staff (SAPS) Office which is under the Dean of Students Office.
On April 13, 2013: UWM Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Laliberte notified the Student Association he was launching an unprecedented investigation into the elections, citing complaints that were never produced. The Student Association Senate commissioned its own internal elections investigation, but it was disbanded after the University refused to fulfill public records requests for the complaints they received and the only legitimate complaints submitted through the IEC process were found to have been appropriately handled by the IEC.
On April 16th, 2013: The UWM SA President responded to the Vice Chancellor addressing his pattern of anti-student and anti-shared governance behavior and the ‘investigation’.
On the same day the Student Association Independent Election Commission (IEC) Commissioner requested that the UW-System independently review the concerns of the UWM Administration. That request was denied in the following letter:
After the denial, Vice Chancellor Laliberte brought members of Administration from UW-Whitewater to ‘independently’ investigate the complaints. They interviewed SA officials and candidates, seemingly ignored what should have been reassuring documentation, and then filed a report with the Vice Chancellor that was largely void of facts, full of biased opinion and presumptions, and completely lacking in any evidence of documentation to back up their report. The report in question is below (an unredacted version has not been publicly released):
On May 3rd, 2013: After reviewing the (very flawed) report, UWM Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Michael Laliberte makes a recommendation to UWM Chancellor Michael Lovell to not recognize the elections; thus ensuring that that there would be no student shared governance representation after the officials’ terms ended on May 31st, 2013. An obviously very misled and out-of-the-loop Chancellor Lovell concurs, as you can see below:
This is an unprecedented move and frankly an illegal one.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in Student Association of University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, et al v Baum, et al (1976) 74 Wis. 2d 283 left no ambiguity in their decision regarding Wis. Stat. 36.09(5) stating, “There is no question but that the students had ‘the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine.” Additionally, the court went on to conclude that the students have this right, “…without interference from the administration.” What happened was clear, overt, and heavy handed interference that violates the statutory rights granted to the students.
In Justice Abrahamson’s concurring opinion, it is reiterated that, “…the Chancellor could not unilaterally determine the structure and mode of selection of student representation…” Further, Abrahamson wrote, “There is no ambiguity here,” and, “The rights of selection of representatives and of organization are no doubt interrelated. However, two rights are created in the students, and both must be protected.” Abrahamson further wrote, “The administration’s view (with regard to student representation) would make a mockery out of the students’ statutory rights of organization and selection of representatives.”
This action by UWM Administration also was in-violation of Spoto v. Board of Regents (1994-95). The students, through ballot election, recognized the representatives they elected, as is their statutory right to choose their representatives as they see fit. The Student Association election results (due to their inherent recognition by the students) don’t need to be recognized by the UWM Administration to be legitimized under Wisconsin State Statute. Non-recognition by UWM Administration leads to an impasse between UWM Administration and the students at UWM, represented by the Student Association.
Per Spoto v. Board of Regents (1994-95):
“THE COURT RECOGNIZES THAT ITS INTERPRETATION OF SEC. 36.09 HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR IMPASSE. BUT IMPASSES CAN HAPPEN UNDER A SHARED GOVERNANCE SYSTEM. IN ANY SITUATION WHERE POWER IS GENUINELY SHARED, IF THE PARTIES SHARING AUTHORITY CANNOT REACH AN AGREEMENT, AN IMPASSE WILL OCCUR.”
“[…] THE ADMINISTRATION MAY NOT EXERCISE UNBRIDLED POWER WHERE IT REACHES AN IMPASSE […]” and “ANY DIRECTIVE OR POLICY […] WOULD BE IN SUSPENSION UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE MATTER WAS NEGOTIATED BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES […].”
“YET IN ALL THESE CASES, PITTING THE ADMINISTRATION, WITH ITS BROAD GOVERNING PREROGATIVES, AGAINST OTHER UNIVERSITY ACTORS, ONCE IT WAS ACCEPTED THAT THE OTHER ACTORS HAD SOME RIGHT UNDER CH. 36, THE ADMINISTRATION WAS REQUIRED TO ACCOMMODATE THAT RIGHT NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE AUTHORITY OF THESE OTHERS ACTORS WAS GRANTED ‘SUBJECT TO’ THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ADMINISTRATION. IT IS CLEAR IN THE PRESENT CASE THAT, IN ORDER TO GIVE THE SHARED GOVERNANCE CONCEPT FULL EFFECT, THE TERM ‘SUBJECT TO’ MAY NOT BE DEFINED AS AN EQUIVALENT AS ‘SUBORDINATE TO.’”
With Spoto in mind, the impasse in question can be legally defined as an irreconcilable difference of opinion between students and UWM Administration, subject to appeal to the President of the UW-System per UW-System Regent Policy 30-3:
30-3 Guidelines B. Appeal of Issues -"In the event an irreconcilable difference of opinion develops at any institution between or among student organizations, the faculty, the academic staff, and the Chancellor, over whether or not a particular campus policy or procedure meets the letter and spirit of § 36.09(5), and after institutional procedures have been exhausted, any of the contending parties may request the President to review the dispute and take such action as may be appropriate to its resolution. The request for review shall be made in writing, and shall include the evidence and reasoning upon which the request for review is made. If a decision is necessary, the President shall render the decision within 20 working days of receiving the request for review. Upon receiving the decision of the President, any of the contending parties may request a review of the President’s decision by the Board of Regents by writing to the President of the Board. Upon receiving such a request, the Board shall determine whether or not to provide a review. […]"
The Student Association (SA) Senate and Executive Branches decided to appeal the impasse/irreconcilable difference of opinion. SA Deputy Speaker of the Senate Taylor Q. Scott and SA Executive Branch Chief of Staff Michael S. Ludwig put themselves to the task of preparing the appeal. They first drafted an appeal cover letter to UW-System President Kevin Reilly, below (draft):
Concurrently, they worked on a complete contention of the ‘facts’ of the UW-Whitewater report. Pointing out the many flaws, below:
APPENDICES TO THE ABOVE APPEAL
Appendix 1: Independent Election Commission (IEC) Bylaws
Appendix 2: Student Association Constitution
a. Exhibit A: 7/17/11 Student Association Senate Agenda
b. Exhibit B: 7/17/11 Student Association Senate Meeting Minutes
c. Exhibit C: 8/18/11 Student Association Senate Meeting Minutes
d. Exhibit D: Independent Election Bylaws signed 7/20/11 a>
e. Exhibit I: SA Accountability Act
f. Exhibit H: Current IEC Bylaws
Appendix 6: Invoice for ASV Fliers from UWM Marketing [existed in paper form, request sent out for electronic copy]
Appendix 7: Correspondence Between IEC Chair and Redacted Write-in Candidate [existed in paper form, request sent out for electronic copy]
Appendix 9: TRO Request – Dakota Hall, et al. v. IEC
Appendix 10: University Student Court Bylaws
«TO BE CONTINUED»
May 29th, 2013: The UWM SA University Student Court (USC) Chief Justice Anthony DeWees issued an emergency court order invalidating the SA elections (below). This is beyond the purview of the USC, as it only has the authority to solve disputes between students, the Student Association, and registered student organizations (RSOs) per the SA Constitution. The order makes up a complaint, Michael Lovell v. Student Association of UWM, that was never brought and the court itself takes up a case that it made and does not have the authority to take up. The order is here:
Additional USC orders can be found HERE or here: http://uwm.orgsync.com/org/sa/PublicRecords1314001E
The University (via the Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs) stepped in to illegally invalidate the Student Association elections, stating they would not recognize the results when they went into affect June 1st. This led to an impasse between students (represented by the Student Association President and Senate) who elected their representatives, and the University Administration. Under Spoto v. Board of Regents (1994-‘95), in shared governance an impasse needs to be negotiated and resolved (and in times of irreconcilable differences appealed to the UW-System President/Board of Regents [BOR Policy 30-3]). In this case, the University Student Court Justices (who are appointed by the SA President and approved by the Senate, NOT elected) didn’t allow the impasse by illegally invalidating the elections themselves before the appeal could be filed (going beyond all authority given to them under the Student Association Constitution and state law).
We now have a situation where the University Student Court (USC) illegally appointed (hand-picked) students to an interim board (the Board of Trustees) that they can overrule and have the final say in all matters any in anyway. (http://uwm.orgsync.com/org/sam/PublicRecords1314001E) They are illegally allocating segregated fees and paying themselves high salaries, while the University Administration supports them through the Student Association Professional Staff Office (a division of the Dean of Students Office) that is being illegally funding through segregated fees (see link:https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B_f2Et1cbWUAd0RfYTZxS2ZEekk&usp=sharing).
In UWM SA v. Baum (1976) the Wisconsin State Supreme Court sided with the students’ argument that:
“If there is a student governmental entity on campus, and if it is elected by all students and recognized as the student government, then it has the power to appoint students to committees.”
In no way can the Board of Trustees or the University Student Court in any way be construed to have the right to appoint students to committees under Wis. Stat. 36.09(5), or previously, to invalidate the Student Association election. Again, there was no case before the University Student Court, they acted themselves to invalidate the elections. The University Student Court was appointed, not elected. They were set up to resolve disputes between students and student organizations, and only those issues are within their purview (as explicitly stated in the SA Constitution).
September 17: The SA University Student Court (USC) approved a motion in-meeting to suspend the Student Association Constitution, thus ensuring the eradication of all semblance of student shared governance or legitimate student representation at UW-Milwaukee.
October: The current initiative being taken up by the Board of Trustees (BOT) and proposed by UWM Administration is the changing of categories of segregated university fees (SUF) from ‘allocable’ to ‘non-allocable’.
Segregated fees are fees that all students at a respective Institution pay for student services in addition to tuition. Under F50 Allocable SUF are seg fees “that are allocated by students, in consultation with the chancellor”. Non-Allocable SUF are seg fees that “chancellors, following consultation with students in accordance with Regent Policy 30-5, as amended, are responsible for the development of budgets and expenditures of non-allocable SUF." So as you can see, Administration has a vested interest in SUF being non-allocable as they unilaterally set them.
Although, the difference between allocable and non-allocable is one that is arguably in violation of WI Stat. §36.09(5) anyway, which states, in part:
“Students in consultation with the chancellor and subject to the final confirmation of the board shall have the responsibility for the disposition of those student fees which constitute substantial support for campus student activities.”
Statute does not differentiate between fees being allocable and non-allocable, that differentiation is made by UW-System (agency) administrative policy and in violation of Statute. WI Stats. 227.10(2):
“No agency may promulgate a rule which conflicts with state law." (2m): "No agency may implement or enforce any standard, requirement, or threshold, including as a term or condition of any license issued by the agency, unless that standard, requirement, or threshold is explicitly required or explicitly permitted by statute or by a rule that has been promulgated in accordance with this subchapter….”
Additionally, Stats. 227.40(4)(a):
“In any proceeding pursuant to this section for judicial review of a rule, the court shall declare the rule invalid if it finds that it …exceeds the statutory authority of the agency …”
But while F50 remains uncontested, University Administrations UW System-wide will co-opt shared governance, and in the case of the Board of Trustees at UWM, try to categorize more student services as non-allocables.
Recently the Board of Trustees voted to change the UWM Child Care Center from an allocable to a non-allocable. Even though F50 states that child care is acceptable as a non-allocable, F50 I. Segregated University Fees. B. Limitations on Expenditures of SUF. (4)(c) Child Care states, in part: “Consideration should be given to utilizing non-allocable SUF or requiring a three year budget process [allocable under F50 I. B. (6) (a) 3.]comparable to that required for athletics and intramurals…" [emphasis added] The UWM SA Senate Finance Committee (SFC), which is the official SUFAC (Segregated University Fees Allocations Committee), has historically allocated to the UWM Child Care Center on a 3 year allocable SUF module without complaints. There seems to be little reason to change a historically accurate and uncontroversial allocable funding module to a non-allocable one with no final student say, thus effectively signing away most all student voice and responsibility in this category, except that the UWM Administration has a vested interest in student services being classified as non-allocable.
Sources say that UWM Administration is pushing the Board of Trustees to turn the already ridiculously high Athletics budget into a completely non-allocable budget. But according to F50 I. SUF. B. Limitations on Expenditures of SUF. (6.) 3. Athletics budgets must be Allocable with a 3 year process. The only exception is under F50 I. SUF. B. Limitations on Expenditures of SUF.(6) (b) 4. where only things related to”athletic schedules and/or personnel commitments” may be non-allocable. Inquiries made to UWM Athletic Director Amanda Braun and Associate Athletic Director - Finance Charlie Gross went unanswered.
«TO BE CONTINUED»
[Documentation and meeting information to be included soon]
«This will be updated as events arise»
For more information on actions/orders taken by the USC visit: http://uwm.orgsync.com/org/sa/PublicRecords1314001E
For more informations on actions taken by the BOT visit: http://uwm.orgsync.com/org/sa/SABoardofTrusteesSummer20131314001E
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