From The Badger Herald

April 19, 2002

ASM breaks ties with Lehman Bros. - Objections to financing of prison prompt end to investment relationship

by Kristine Rellihen, News Reporter

The Associated Students of Madison accomplished several agenda items at its meeting Wednesday, including breaking ties with Lehman Bros., supporting permanent employment positions at UW-Madison and student representation on the Faculty Senate.

Lehman Bros., an investment bank in which ASM has invested over $300,000, is also a major financer of private prisons. Some ASM members object to the funding of prisons and Lehman Bros.' practices.

"We need to look at prison as a last resort, not the only answer," said ASM diversity committee co-chair Jennifer Epps.

L&S representative Jeff Pertl said he believes the money spent on prisons could be more effectively spent elsewhere.

"The No. 1 competition for state money for higher education is the prison system, whether private or public," he said.

Kevin Wehr, a UW criminal-justice lecturer, said private prisons are not beneficial.

"Private prisons are in the business of making a profit, not rehabilitation . . . They reinforce the cycle of imprisonment," Wehr said.

ASM recently found out Lehman Bros. put $780 million towards refinancing private prisons; the group passed the referendum to trade its stocks and bonds and cease all ties with Lehman Bros.

ASM also addressed permanent employment positions at UW.

Wanda Ashman, a DARS encoder for nine years in the School of Agriculture and a former limited-term employee (LTE) of the university, said she supported full benefits to UW's LTEs.

Sarah Turner, Student Labor and Action Committee member, said LTEs are critical to the university.

"LTEs do the jobs that keep the university going . . . They are committed to the university and committed to the students," she said.

LTE is a program used to fill a position temporarily; however, many of the LTEs on campus have been working for years without the benefits of permanent employment.

The council agreed to support the LTEs' desire for permanent employment benefits.

The Shared Governance Committee presented a referendum to create a student appointee position on the Faculty Senate, which the council passed. ASM also changed several bylaws, including clarifying chair positions and changing budget rules. The last ASM meeting for the current session will be held next week.

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