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Student Senate debates funding for diversity awards

March 27, 2008

Funding for the upcoming 2008 Diversity Awards Banquet was widely debated at Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting. Senator Matt Dale opened the discussion.

“[Student Senate] really appreciates that you tried to keep costs down this year,” Dale said. “I personally feel that this motion has taken it too far with cost-cutting.”

Dale was not alone in his concern that the limited attendance was hindering the effect the ceremony would have on the student body at large.  He proposed an amendment to the motion to expand the expected attendance as well as the funding allocated.

“We need to bring this to the masses,” Dale said.

Diversity Issues and Womens Initiatives Co-Director, Nikki Shonoiki responded.

“The whole reason [we limited attendance] was because we couldn’t get the [University Center] Ballroom,” she said. “It would be a big problem to find a new venue … [we’re under] a time crunch right now.”

The Banquet will be held in the Falls Room of the University Center. The amendment was later defeated.

Alternatives were proposed.

“Is this something that can be done during Unity in the Community?” said Leadership Development and Programming Board Chair Mike Defenbaugh. “If you’re looking to get more people [to attend], could you team up?”

However, his alternatives were met with some debate.

“We want a whole ceremony … we want a performance … we want people who really care about these things [to be able to attend],” Shonoiki said.

Three other amendments to the motion were subsequently proposed and defeated.  These amendments were primarily concerned with increasing attendance and budget concerns.

“[Awardees] want to be recognized. I think Unity [in the Community] is the best place on campus to be recognized, when the whole University is there,” Defenbaugh said.

“This is a big deal [for the award winners],” Shonoiki said. “We … want to have this on the same level as the Chancellors Award … put this [award] in the [University’s] hands.”

Other Senate News
• Diversity Issues and Womens Initiatives Co-Director, Laura Adrian reported great success with t-shirt decorating Monday. She said as of meeting time Tuesday, 28 t-shirts have been decorated for the “Take Back the Night” event. The event will be held at the University Center from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday.

• Shared Governance Director, Tyler Halverson reported that the University Curriculum Committee will meet at 3 p.m. March 28 in Kleinpell Fine Arts 140 to evaluate the proposed military science minor courses.

• Student Affairs and Academic Services Director, Jennifer Biss reported that the Student Survey would be posted on eSIS.  A notification e-mail will be sent detailing the availability schedule of the survey.

• Senate President, Derek Brandt, reported that Student Senate primary elections would be held April 8-9.  Senator Dan Mahr later added that the candidate forum would be held in the University Center Ballroom April 7.

• A motion was presented intending to increase student awareness of the significant impact, as well as increase student voter turnout at local elections.  Student Senate unanimously passed the motion to fund promotion of the elections to be held April 1.

• The final motion of the night lent Student Senate support of the state legislation to disallow the Wisconsin Governor’s partial veto powers.  The motion passed by a narrow 10-8 margin.

Agendas and minutes for Senate meetings are available at the Senate Web site.  Senate meetings are held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Willow River Room of the University Center.  Students are encouraged to attend and participate.