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Senate meeting focuses on Family Day, budget, campus safety

October 25, 2007

Family Day, an impending budget and campus safety concerns were all topics of discussion at Tuesday night’s Student Senate meeting.

The meeting began with a detailed report from Mike Hovestol concerning the current status of the Information and Instructional Technology Committee (IITC). The committee, whose operations unite many of the councils that deal with technology on campus, remains grossly underrepresented, with only two of the seven available representative spots filled. Hovestol and President Derek Brandt urged Senators to bring their input to the table as well as encourage other students to do the same.

“[IITC] is what is responsible for the bulk of what makes things work on campus technology-wise,” Brandt said.

Shared Governance Director Cindy Bendix announced that the Student Association meeting originally scheduled for Nov. 23 has been moved to Nov. 13 in the University Center. Students are welcome to attend the meeting, which will basically serve as a large forum for discussion of issues that students feel need to be addressed.

The legislature passed the compromise 2007-09 biennial budget for UW-River Falls and the UW System Oct. 23. It still must be signed by Gov. Doyle Oct. 26.

The budget will provide Wisconsin Higher Education Grant increases, fund First Year Experience to improve student retention, provide funds for the Health and Human Performance Building, as well as enable the expansion project for the George R. Field South Fork Suites II, according to a campus-wide e-mail from Chancellor Betz.

A Senate delegation is scheduled to travel to Madison at the end of the week in order to show support for Gov. Doyle, who “has supported the UW System through this whole process,” Brandt said.
Safety concerns were a topic of much discussion, from danger areas on campus to residence hall security.

An upcoming Safety Walk Nov. 27 will give students the opportunity to address safety concerns, such as poor crosswalk conditions and poorly lit sections of walkway, with officials such as Public Safety Director Dick Trende and Chancellor Betz.

Student Senate Advisor Gregg Heinselman brought up WCCO’s recent experiment that tested security levels on campus and found that six out of six times, individuals were able to gain entry to residence halls without identification. Often, this is due to the practice of entering a building and holding the door for someone else without checking identification, otherwise known as tailgating or shadowing.

Concern was expressed over whether or not students feel comfortable asking their peers to provide identification; Heinselmann encouraged any and all students to provide input. Students with thoughts regarding the residence hall security should e-mail Heinselman at gregg.heinselman@uwrf.edu.

Heinselman also discussed Family Day. With over 200 families enrolled so far, the goal to exceed last year’s enrollment numbers is becoming a reality.

Facilities and Fees Board Chair Patricia Fredricksen gave updates for multiple committees, touching on everything from the consideration of meal plan revisions and new concessions at Hunt Arena to Textbook Services’ upcoming move into Hagestad Hall and the possibility of TiVo becoming an option for students living in residence halls.

Three motions were discussed, but will be voted on at next week’s meeting, while Rodney Hillskotter was appointed as first year senator by a unanimous voice vote.

Overall the meeting was, “just as it should be,” Brandt said.

“Now that we’re really getting everything up and running, these meetings can be really productive,” Brandt said. “The intention is to give at least these 25 people in the room a broad-based understanding of what’s happening on campus so they can pass it on to other students.”