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Senate begins year with positive outlook

September 20, 2007

The first two Student Senate meetings have already taken place, and after getting some basic paperwork out of the way, Senate officials are optimistic about plans for the upcoming academic year.

During the first meeting, returning members reacquainted themselves, followed by the introduction of new members. Although Nate McNaughton has been previously involved in Senate, he did move to a new position as he was appointed as chairman of the ethics committee and parliamentarian by a unanimous voice vote.

Although the Wisconsin State Senate and the bipartisan Joint Committee on Finance have essentially agreed upon budget recommendations by Gov. Jim Doyle for the UW-System and UW-River Falls, the state of Wisconsin has yet to pass a budget for the 2007 to 2009 biennium, according to Senate’s agenda for Sept. 11.

Due to reductions in the prospective budget, as well as the students the reductions may pose a threat to, a motion was unanimously passed for Senate to encourage the conference committee to approve the proposed budget. Pushing for a hasty solution is necessary at this point, Legislative Affairs Director, Craig Witte said.

“We need to have a stance in order to make the urge for resolution stronger,” Witte said. “This directly affects students.”

Although the second meeting was briefly delayed by a tornado warning that gathered students in the basement of the University Center, it didn’t take long after the warning lifted to get down to business.

Senate’s financial situation as well as homecoming and increased handicap-accessibility to certain buildings were among the topics discussed, and the motion was passed to finally allocate money for prizes to be given to students for completing last year’s MAPIT survey. Lakiesha Townsell and Craig Witte were appointed to the Ethics committee by a unanimous voice vote as well.

Last week’s motion to combine the Women’s Issues Committee into the Diversity Issues Committee was brought back into focus and discussed in detail.
While some immediately supported the motion, others seemed reluctant for fear of losing sight of what Women’s Initiatiatives is really about.

“I don’t like the idea of getting rid of the ‘women’s issues’ part, since it seems like we’re dissolving the ‘women’ part of the committee,” senator-at-large Amy Bohrer said.

After accepting an amendment to include women’s initiatives in the committee’s name, the motion was passed by a majority vote.

Overall, the meetings went well and all signs point toward a promising year, President Derek Brandt said.

“It’ll be a good year,” Brandt said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of voices become active in upcoming weeks.”