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Senate makes changes for next semester

December 6, 2007

Despite several inches of snow, the Willow River Room of the University Center was nearly full during Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting, during which change seemed to be the dominant theme.

In a discussion carried over from last week’s meeting, Mike Pearson, chair of the Leadership Development and Programming Board, explained the motion on the table concerning zero-based funding.

Each year, students pay extra fees along with their tuition to go toward the funding of everything from student programs to special campus projects; LDPB is then responsible for allocating money out to student organizations. With students holding the responsibility for budgeting within their organizations, money left stagnant in accounts seems to be a budding issue, Pearson said.

“Last year we had just over $58,000 left out of a $300,000 budget,” Pearson said. “That’s a lot of money just sitting there that could be used for other things.”

Zero-based funding, the proposed solution, moves to take any allocated money left over in organization treasury accounts, minus the revenues from ticket sales, underwriting, advertising or other fundraising events, and put it back into the LDPB account the day after new allocations are made for the upcoming academic year. The unused money will then be reallocated for other causes, Pearson said.

Athletic Advisory committee chair Krista Hasselquist expressed concern over what to do if an organization is attempting to save money up for a specific project. However, money cannot be saved from year to year, so other options such as one-time funding are available. Overall, it should make the budgeting process much easier, Pearson said.

“It teaches proper budgeting,” Pearson said. “If you’re budgeting properly, you shouldn’t have a problem.”

After little discussion at this week’s meeting, the motion passed in a unanimous voice vote.

Also carried over from last week’s meeting was discussion concerning the Dream Act, a piece of legislation that moves to help undocumented residents get on the track to citizenship. Those who meet the criteria, such as having arrived in the United States at age 15 or younger and proof of residence for at least five consecutive years since their arrival, are qualified to apply for a temporary six-month residence. After graduating from a two-year community college, completing at least two years toward a four-year degree, or serving two years in the U.S. military, they are then eligible to apply for legal permanent residence—also known as green card status.

The motion on Tuesday night’s agenda, if passed, would move to support the passage of the Dream Act, the main intention being to work toward increasing diversity on the UW-River Falls campus, Legislative Affairs director Craig Witte, who proposed the motion, said.

“For River Falls, it would allow us to recruit from a larger and more diverse pool of students, which is a key thing we try and work for here,” Witte said.

Discussion ensued, with the main concern being confusion over some of the requirements and financial aid. After some debate, the motion was moved to a roll call vote, where it then passed, 9-11. 

Appointments included various committees as well as two motions to appoint existing senators to some of the committees that will be losing directors as a result of graduation.

Motions were unanimously passed, appointing Jason Meier, Tyler Halverson and Laura Adrian to Finance Director, Shared Governance Director and Diversity and Women’s Initiatives Co-Director, respectively, as well as appointing Michael Defenbaugh as Chair of LDPB.

Students are reminded that they are invited to participate in a broomball game after the Falcon Women’s hockey game Dec. 7.