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District 8

Alder Juliana Bennett

Image of Alder Juliana Bennett

Alder Juliana Bennett

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Bennett’s Blog


May 26, 2020 1:07 PM


Several student-related issues have been exacerbated by coronavirus (COVID-19). In this district update, you'll find student-focused census information, COVID-19 resources & updates, the 126 Langdon Development, and information on a Campus Neighborhood Association.


The response rate for students in the 2020 census has been a drastic low. In some student areas, the rate is just 14% of what it was in 2010. This data is hugely problematic because the number of responses directly relates to the resources allocated to specific jurisdictions and populations. It's quite simply an injustice that the census continues without an adequate adjustment for the vast numbers of student populations across the country that were displaced due to COVID-19 and might not ever return in time.


Despite efforts to reopen our community, we (young people and students) are still at risk of spreading COVID-19. Below you'll find links to testing information, updates on reopening, UW-Madison related news, and some thoughts on social distancing!

  • A group of volunteers has compiled a master list of mutual aid community resources for those in need. In it, you'll find important up-to-date information, mutual aid, rent support & housing, emergency financial resources, utility resources, food security, baby, pet, hygiene, & home care resources, mental health support, and more. Access it at
  • Everyone should get tested for COVID-19. Whether you think you have it or not, we must gather accurate data for our community. Find out how to get a free quick and easy COVID-19 test in Madison here:
  • Today (May 26th) at 8:00 AM Phase 1 of the Forward Dane reopening plan will commence.
    • Phase 1 includes the following:
      • Reopening all businesses--such as restaurants, gyms, and retail establishments--to 25% capacity with certain public health requirements and physical distancing.

      • Salons, tattoo parlors, and spas can open by appointment only.

      • Indoor gatherings at commercial facilities of 50 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.

      • Indoor gatherings at private residences of 10 people or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.

      • Outdoor gatherings of 50 or fewer are allowed, with physical distancing.

      • Select businesses and activities with high risk for disease transmission are still closed.

      • Park courts and fields are open; individuals must maintain physical distancing.

    • See the Forward Dane webpage for more details and plan specifics.

  • UW-Madison is issuing orders related to social distancing during COVID-19
    • The new order issued by Chancellor Rebecca Blank requires people to do the following:
      • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who are not part of their household.
      • Follow limits on the total number of people allowed in an area.
      • Remain outside areas that are closed with fences, gates, or other barriers.
    • Once students and young people prove our ability to follow health guidelines, and the science safely says it's safe to reopen, I will begin to push for the reopening of these public lands. Until that time, I am asking all students to abide by these orders and ensure our community is staying safe.

Lakefront Closure Map

  • Staying Safe and Healthy
    • While I know it's difficult not to let a lot of these beautiful days go to waste; it's crucial us young people especially are taking steps to mitigate the spread and protect others who cannot defend themselves. Below are the guidelines set by Public Health Madison Dane County that will help you stop the spread and protect our community: 
      • Remember to physically distance from people you don't live with by staying 6 feet away.
      • Wear a cloth face cover if you go out in public.
      • Continue to follow everyday prevention measures:
        • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

        • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

        • Stay home when you are sick.

        • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

        • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

        • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

      • Stay home as much as possible, especially if you are a person at a higher risk for severe illness.

  • In response to the Forward Dane Plan, other elected officials, including fellow student and District 5 County Board Supervisor Elena Haasl and I have sent a letter to Mayor Rhodes-Conway, County Executive Parisi, and Public Health Director Heinrich. We've outlined several concerns with the plan:

    • This is not political. Please read the letter linked below and focus on the scientific reasoning behind the opening. The reality is that there is no scientific basis for reopening right now.  The Forward Dane Plan, in effect, will slowly concentrate exposure and risk within the working class. The plan does ensure that there won't be a spike in cases and that our healthcare system won't be overwhelmed, but only in the sacrifice of more lives. Instead of forcing more exposure, we could just be giving everyone, especially low-income people, the financial resources to stay at home during this time. This plan, unfortunately, went into effect today. As a Council Member, I will stand with the working class and vehemently oppose any efforts that concentrate the exposure on marginalized communities. To understand this plan, all you have to do is look at who this is protecting: Many in this community can afford to work from home and have remained financially stable throughout this crisis. The plan caters to them; it means we will force low-income workers to be working in dangerous conditions so that those who can afford to do so can get served and "enjoy" the services our businesses provide during normal times. Aside from the injustice against marginalized communities, this plan does not adhere to the data and information scientists are telling us. I encourage you to read our letter to see the number of policies that were drastically changed to reopen our community.

    • Read our letter here


A brief update on the 126 Langdon Development: The Plan Commission voted to send the development back to the Urban Design Commission (UDC) to review the facade. In the meantime, student leaders are working on getting a skeleton structure for the new Campus Neighborhood Association (CNA) to act as a conduit for student voices when the development comes back for public comment (likely to be late this summer). Below are a few resources to help you stay up-to-date:

Hub II facade


Student leaders are working on setting up a structure to channel student voice into upcoming development deliberations despite the massive displacement of the youth population. We'll be posting information on how to get involved in the coming week. 


Thanks for reading, and please continue to check back for more. Always feel free to reach out through email and late Eid Mubarak to those who celebrated!

Be sure to follow District 8 on social media: Instagram: @d8alderFacebook: @d8alderTwitter: @d8alder

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