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Students vote ‘no’ to UC

April 6, 2006

Students at UW-River Falls voted Tuesday and Wednesday to discontinue membership with United Council.

With a nearly 10 percent voter turnout, 662 students voted to withdraw from UC with 294 voting to stay members of the UW-System lobbying organization.

UC works on behalf of the System to lobby the Wisconsin legislature to voice student and faculty issues at a state level. UW-RF’s membership in UC was funded by a $2 per student fee added to tuition each semester.

Although most UW campuses are members of UC, several other Wisconsin universities have recently withdrawn from the organization.

Student Senate President Nick Cluppert said he believes UW-RF’s withdrawal from the organization will help the Senate maintain better communication with other non-UC universities.

“It will be a little bit more work for the Senate,” Cluppert said.

Senators will need to make more trips to Madison to lobby issues important to the University, Cluppert said.

UC President Beau Stafford said he thinks the student leadership at UW-RF has put the student body in a vulnerable position in the long run.

“It’s not going to do us any good to be divided,” Stafford said. “Short-term gain, long-term loss.”

Stafford was on campus Wednesday to help lobby students in favor of UC. He said he was surprised by the campaign and literature posted around campus against UC.

While Senate did not take an official stance on the issue, Cluppert said he felt UC didn’t fulfill its obligation to the University.

Rumors from a staff member that UC might increase its membership fee to $5 per student also concerned Cluppert.

A tuition increase of around 50 percent over the past four years also weighed on Cluppert’s decision.

“I don’t really think that’s effective lobbying,” Cluppert said about the tuition increase.

Despite this year’s vote to withdraw from UC, future students could rejoin the organization.

“It’s really up to the students if they want to be involved or not,” Stafford said.