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Letter to the editor

Senate member corrects errors from United Council article

March 10, 2010

This letter is in response to last week’s Voice article regarding United Council. First I want to say that I’m glad that Mr. Billingsley chose to write this article – the students deserve to know the story.

At the same time, there are some errors in the article that I feel need correction for the whole story to be truly understood by the public. This is nothing against Mr. Billingsley; it’s difficult for a spectator to try to enter into a situation such as ours and understand it completely, not to mention try to write an article about it.

First, the mandatory buy-in hasn’t occurred yet. The meeting at UW-Oshkosh was simply to draft and sign a Memorandum of Intent to be sent to the Board of Regents, in which the various UW schools support the idea of a buy-in. Under the buy-in, schools that join United Council (UC) would be required to stay in UC forever.

This was one main aspect of Student Senate’s opposition to the proposal – basically, students at UWRF would have no way to assert their possible displeasure with UC. Currently the Board of Regents requires UC to be placed on student referendum every two years.

The Mandatory Refundable Fee rate for UC member schools is currently at $2 per term, or $6 for a full year, per student. The proposal to increase the MRF from $2 to $3 a term ($9 a year) is accompanied by a proposal to the Board of Regents to allow the fee to automatically increase every year.

Currently, increases to the fee level must be approved by the Board of Regents whenever proposed.

Finally, the actions of United Council in this event should not be ignored. One incident that occurred at Oshkosh is especially noteworthy. There, one of UWRF’s student representatives was told by a representative of United Council that the UW system might close UWRF, and that if UWRF were not a part of United Council, they would not be able to protect us. It is blatant lies like this that have radically changed my stance on United Council.

Patrick Okan
UWRF Student Senate Member