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Budget concerns motivate high turnout at Senate meeting

February 27, 2008

Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting comprised the largest student turnout of the semester.  In attendance were 22 members of the student body. High turnout was in response to an e-mail sent out by President Derek Brandt.  He requested student presence and opinion concerning, primarily, two issues. First, increasing the student contribution towards the total cost of the new Health and Human Performance (H&HP) building from an estimated $3,846,150 up to an amount no more than $6,173,000. The second issue concerns the student contribution towards the remodeling of Ramer Field.  This would allocate an amount from student funds (from segregated fees) not to exceed $525,000. These student contributions make up about 15 percent of the estimated total project cost.  The Motions to allocate funds were introduced today and will be voted upon on the evening of Tuesday,  March 4 in the Willow River Room of the University Center.

During the debate concerning Ramer Field, a number of students contributed to the discussion.

“The Ramer project would be a great step forward,” student Tyler Graves said.

One senator added that the Ramer project would “give our campus a better face.” Following that comment, Krista Hasselquist noted that recruits aren’t even shown the field due to its poor condition.

Also of great concern to the students in attendance were the possible revisions of chapters 17 and 18 of the Student Association Student Senate Constitution.  These chapters concern the Implementation of Wisconsin State Statute 36.09(5).  Implementation of this Statute would allow UW-Rivger Falls to impose penalties upon students found guilty of non-academic misconduct (including off-campus misconduct).  These would be in addition to any civil penalties the student might face.

Student Association Student Senate Advisor Gregg Heinselman said that the possible repercussions might include that the misconduct could “become a part of [a student’s] academic record.”

Heinselman also requested that the Senate form a subcommittee to help address the specifics of this issue.

Student Senate director reports were handled with great efficiency due to the foreseeable length at which the budget and statute issues would be discussed.  Shared Governance Director Tyler Halverson discussed Senate clothing and promotional materials in addition to the committee’s further inquiry into the Senate Constitution.

He was followed by Student Affairs and Academic Services Director Jenifer Biss reporting that their student survey was completed.  Finance Director Jason Meier informed the Senate that the finance committee was looking into the possibility of easing student fees with funds from the Senate reserve account.

Diversity Issues and Womens Initiatives Co-Director Nikki Shonoiki introduced two motions that will be voted on at the next Student Senate meeting. Co-Director Laura Adrian said that the “Take Back the Night” event is now scheduled for April 2. This event will include a live band, three speakers from outside the University as well a yet to be determined member of the UWRF student body.

Parliamentarian/Ethics Chair Nathan McNaughton reported that progress was being made towards the revision of Senate bylaws. Brandt informed the Senate that he would speak later at length about the changes concerning Senate election laws and campaigning rules. Leadership Development and Programming Board Chair Mike Defenbaugh reported that funding for Greek Life events would be limited to single events rather than a per- semester basis due to the “exclusive” nature of Greek Society.

Hasselquist then introduced details regarding the Senate budget as well as a per student breakdown of specific segregated fees that are to be charged to students in the upcoming semester.  The proposed increase of just under $70 per student will constitute a 7 percent increase in fees.

Two motions were passed Tuesday, the first concerning J-Term stipends for senators and the second concerning name tents and business cards for Senators. Seven motions were introduced to the Student Senate and will be voted upon March 4.  The motions to be considered will include funding to send 36 students to the Building Unity Conference in Madison (where students will gain insight into issues concerning minority groups and develop leadership skills). Also included were the aforementioned motions to approve funding for the HHP building and Ramer field. A fourth motion to approve changes to the Student Senate Constitution will be considered.  The final two motions to be considered were added to the agenda Tuesday.  The first concerns funding to send two senators to Legislative Days, where senators will lobby the Wisconsin state Legislature on issues concerning UWRF. The second motion added to the agenda concerned the student survey.  This motion would approve funding to distribute free movie passes to the first 100 students who completed the survey.

Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.

The next Student Senate meeting will be held at 7 p.m. March 4 in the Willow River Room of the UC. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend.