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Students voice concerns to a sluggish Senate

November 2, 2006

With every position filled on Student Senate, the ball should begin to start rolling for major motions to be passed. Yet the majority young and new senators have had a significant effect on business, resulting in consistently weak meetings.

“It is a little frustrating,” Senate President Joe Eggers said. “But there are 17 new senators, leaving over three-fourths being especially young, like freshmen and sophomores.”

Senate basically had to start from scratch with only a few returning senators. In the past, a majority of the members returned from a previous time on Senate, Eggers said.

“Our institutional memory in the past was much more reliable,” he said. “This year it is not, which is a great disadvantage to us.”

Student Ashley Graef, a sophomore, said she is concerned about the rising tuition at UW-River Falls and around the country in general.

“Tuition will always be a concern,” she said. “Tuition [at UWRF] is pretty good compared to Minnesota schools.”

Once the Nov. 7 election results are in, the governor and the Wisconsin State Assembly will begin work on the new budget for 2007.

The UW System will receive funding through the budget, Eggers said, leaving the cost of tuition at UWRF up in the air until the budget is passed. This will give Senate an opportunity to hear what students think about tuition and get the concerns and issues of UWRF to the legislature.

Senators worked on registering student voters for Election Day, Eggers said.

The 2006 election year is extremely important at both the state and national levels, Eggers said. Senate has not been faced with issues because candidates and incumbents have been busy campaigning, Eggers said.

“Nothing is being pushed through because of an election year,” he said. “Everyone is working on their campaigns.”

Student Edward Kringle said he wants better food on campus. Even with the new Student Center, he said he doesn’t think the food will be any better because administration and staff only focused on the building rather than the services.

Kringle also said he finds parking and winter plowing to be a huge problem on campus, but he is skeptical of Senate addressing any of the issues.

“I haven’t seen them push their weight around yet,” he said. “They’re probably doing it for a resume booster.”

If a student pays for a parking pass on campus, it should allow them to park anywhere, said freshman Deonte Compton.

Compton said parking is a major issue at UWRF.

Eggers said Senate has looked at the problem of parking, but the few solutions have not been feasible. One of the options was a parking ramp, but the costs are too high.

“A parking permit for a student would be around $800 to $900,” he said.

The availability of parking is also a city issue.

Freshman Mike Gillen said he noticed first- and second-year students stressed due to advising and class registration.

“They previously had help with it all,” he said. “Now, they are on their own.”

There are outreach advisors in all the residential buildings on campus, Eggers said. Besides contacting their advisors, students can contact an outreach advisor if they have questions and concerns about their classes, registration and advising.

As for the lack of events at Senate meetings, Eggers said every other September and October agenda for the past seven years have only motions that fill vacant seats.

Occasionally, Senate voted on a current legislative bill - like the Taxpayer Protection Act.

“A lot of our motions are when something significant happens,” Eggers said. “These agendas this semester are the same as seven years ago with getting and appointing new senators and starting off fresh.”

Other Senate news

The Leadership Development and Programming Board (LDPB) will start its annual budget request process this week, LDPB Chair Natalie Hagberg said. The annual budget forms are available at the Leadership Center. The requests are due by Feb. 2 at noon.

There will be two annual budget workshops to explain the request process and answer questions Nov. 15 and 16 from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The location is to be announced. For more information contact Hagberg at natalie.hagberg@uwrf.edu.