In its final meeting of the academic year, members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's student government voted to back a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker which awards Wisconsin's flagship institution some long-sought autonomy from state oversight by granting it">public authority status and breaking it away from the UW System.

The">Badger Herald and"> Daily Cardinal each report that the Associated Students of Madison voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to support the plan -- which is being pushed by UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin -- as long as shared governance practices continue, need-based aid increases and two students are appointed to the new 21-person board of trustees, which would govern the university.

Martin has long stressed that shared governance would remain the same under the public authority model and that increasing need-based aid is a top priority. However, the board of trustees, as it's currently set up, would only have one student representative.

The university's student government has no actual say in whether or not the legislation -- which is tucked into the governor's proposed 2011-13 biennial budget that's currently being reviewed by the state's Joint Finance Committee -- ultimately passes.

According to the Daily Cardinal, outgoing ASM Vice Chair Adam Johnson said: "Students want to hear what we have to think (on this topic). Let's tell them what we think. We owe it to our constituents."

Earlier Wednesday, Mike Mikalsen -- the spokesman for Rep. Steve Nass, R-Town of La Grange -- told the Cap Times the proposal to grant UW-Madison public authority status is on "life support." Nass is chairman of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee.

"I've learned in this business to never say never because something isn't dead until somebody puts a fork in it," adds Mikalsen. "But we're close to that."

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