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Senate drops coverage of event fee

October 19, 2006

A group of about 60 students were planning to attend United Council’s Women’s Leadership Conference, but now the numbers may drastically drop. Student Senate agreed to pay for only transportation and lodging, totally $3,440, rather than the original $5,534 that was requested Oct. 10. Sixty individuals planned to attend the conference at $35 each just for registration.

At the Oct. 17 meeting, Finance Director Adam Koski said the Shared Governance Committee removed the registration fee coverage for two reasons.

“The first reason is the UC referendum showed students spoke against their money going toward any UC event,” he said of last year’s campus vote to get out of United Council (UC). “The second reason is the tradition behind the number of students going reflects that it is their decision to go, and it should be their decision to pay like any other event.”

Since UW-River Falls is not a member of UC, students attending the event would have to pay a $35 registration fee. In the past, UW-RF students went for free with Senate paying for the cost of transportation and lodging.

UC is a non-partisan, non-profit, student-operated and directed organization committed to the enhancement of student life and the higher education in Wisconsin, according to a UC brochure.

The money for this year’s conference will be taken out of the Shared Governance account, which now has a balance of $32,700 without the $3,440 removed, Koski said. The account is used to operate and support Senate. The major costs for Senate are traveling, supply and stipend costs.

The students who plan to attend the conference initially went to the Leadership Development and Programming Board to get funding, but were turned away because it wasn’t a specific recognized student organization attending the event, rather a collective interest of students, Koski said.

Instead the group was encouraged to bring the issue up to Senate.

“We wanted the decision to be as fair with students’ money as possible,” Koski said.

The money in the Shared Governance account is allocated from student segregated fees, collected at the beginning of each semester, Koski said. Each student pays $6.75 to this account.

The students attending the conference will now have to pay for the $35 registration fee, and it will most likely change many minds as whether or not to attend for the amount of money, Eggers said.

“$35 is a lot of money for students.” Eggers said. “I think the amount of students will drop by half, but it will benefit the right amount of people who want to go.”

The Women’s Leadership Conference works to empower female students with a number of workshops presented by students, and it is an opportunity to share knowledge, skills, experiences and passions with peers, according to a UC brochure.

If UC wasn’t the sponsor of the event, there wouldn’t have been any issues with paying for the registration or any other costs, Eggers said. But UC is involved, so it made it a little more difficult to make a decision.

“I will stand behind my Senate,” he said.

Eggers said the reason the group came to Senate was due to past involvement with UC, and the association has paid for the students’ traveling and lodging costs.

“Because UW-RF is not connected to UC, these events are now even more important to stay connected with what is going on in the state and other campuses,” he said.

Eggers said he has attended the last two conferences, and it is a great tool to meet with other students across the state. He used the event to keep up on political issues through different workshops.