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Opinion

Student Senate lacks reliability, students’ voices still unheard

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March 5, 2009

The UW-River Falls Student Senate does not seem to care where student money goes. From their own budget, of which they have a $30,000 surplus that they;re trying to get rid of, the Senate paid $200 for a stack of business cards for every senator. I understand that you want to look professional and it’s a miniscule amount for a committee that has such a big budget, but maybe there’s something else you can waste money on that will only impress moms and dads.

Oh wait, there is. The Senate has also suggested spending $890 on I-clickers because apparently they can’t raise their hands and vote. Granted, not all the senators are for this idea but the simple fact that it was suggested in the first place is disturbing. Here’s an idea: buy some Bic pens and go click crazy without wasting nearly $1,000.

I don’t think these are people that I trust to have a voice in where student money goes. That’s the point of the Senate in the first place isn’t it? To represent the students? I can’t recall the last time I was asked what I thought of this issue or where I would like my money to go, but they keep coming up with and approving ideas and our tuition continues to rise.

Look at the new statewide budget. UWRF saved between $5 and $6 million for new, on-campus buildings but the new plan from our governor took that away. Obviously, our Senate cannot control what the governor decides, but what they can control is stopping the construction of the new Health and Human Performances building and the add-on to South Fork Suites.

Yes, we need a new HHP building, but we also need a new KFA, which everyone uses for his or her liberal arts. If we’re going to build, then we should build what will help the most students and everyone needs KFA.

Everyone needs a new dorm though, too. Maybe not directly, but everyone is affected by the increasing student population, especially dorms and extended housing. Is the best solution really to add on to suites that students need to pay an extra $1,000 to room and board just to live in? No, build a new, regular dorm, there’s already a base for it in David Rodli Hall.

Speaking of Rodli, what is the Senate doing about it still being heated even though it’s not in any great use? Better question, how many students realize that one reason tuition is rising is because we are still paying to heat Rodli?

If they convert Rodli into an extension to Centennial Science Hall, are we still going to pay for it? I definitely see it as a possibility seeing as it doesn’t seem to be common knowledge where student money goes.

Most of this information can be found in the Senate’s minutes, which may be difficult to find, considering they haven’t updated since Feb. 10. The rest of the information can be found by just talking to a senator, if you know any. The way this Senate is run, I wouldn’t be surprised if your best friend was a senator and never told you because he doesn’t want a student’s opinion on campus matters.

The Student Senate is doing a poor job of what they were created to do. There seems to be more of a debate between its 25 members of what they want, rather than actually asking the students what we want. These are not the people we need representing us and it’s time we speak up against Senate President Cindy Bendix and her twisted view of student representation. They’re the Student Senate after all people, it’s our choice who we want representing us.

Editor’s note: In the March 6, 2009, edition of the Student Voice there were two facts misrepresented in Aaron Billingsley’s column “Student Senate lacks reliability, students’ voices still unheard.” The business cards cost only $38, not the $200 stated in the column. The column implied that Student Senate has control over the construction of buildings on campus, but they don’t. They can only petition and issue formal arguments.

Aaron Billingsley is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.