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Letter to the editor

Student Senate explains position

May 1, 2008

Over the last couple weeks, the UW-River Falls Student Senate has been very busy with the issue of the Leadership Development and Programming Board annual budget.

  As the article in last week’s publication pointed out, April 8 was, in fact, the first time that an LDPB budget had ever been denied. But let’s look closer at the facts.

  To simply state our main point, contrary to LDPB Chair Mike Defenbaugh and Rebecca Peine’s statements in the article, the failing of the budget was far from unethical, personal or the result of a biased senate. 

  Let us address the accusation that the Student Senate was biased.

  We assume the major intent of this statement was a shot at Greek Senator, Ben Casper, who had organized the Greek opposition to the budget proposal.

  If a senator whose job is to represent the Greeks is doing exactly that, how is that a biased?

  It is also important to point out that Student Senate had issues with the budget before that fateful Senate meeting. 

  For example, the Finance Committee brought up a number of issues (Greek funding, oversight, single event funding vs. annual budgets, etc) for the first time at its meeting the Friday before.

  Defenbaugh and former chair Mike Pearson didn’t seem to have a problem fielding our questions then. Defenbaugh knows this whole thing was in no way personal, and it never was.

  It has always been about the budget: what’s in it, what’s not in it, and why. It was never a personal attack on anyone.

  We would also like to point out that it is the Student Senate’s job to ask questions before ultimately approving (or gasp, even not approving) the LDPB budget.

  That is how the Shared Governance process works on this campus. Shame on Student Senate for doing its job and not simply acting as a rubber stamp.

  It seems as though this defeated budget did more than set a precedent, it also seems to hurt some feelings.

  While it is unfortunate that feelings were hurt and some took it personally, it still does not justify the use of words such as “biased” and “unethical” to describe the hard-working student senators simply trying to do their jobs.

  The budgeting processes here at UWRF is something the Student Senate will be making a top priority next year, and we will be working hard to avoid a case like this from repeating itself.

  It is clear, the key is going to be improving communication. Most importantly, members of LDPB and Student Senate need to know their roles and responsibilities within the Shared Governance process, and must work in a constructive and respectful manner throughout this process.

  The students of this campus expect nothing less and they should get nothing less.

Tyler Halverson,
Student Senate Shared Governance Director
Jason Meier,
Student Senate Finance Director
Matt Dale,
Student Senator and Finance Committee Member