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Letter to the editor

Student Senate has no partisan code

November 18, 2011

After reading Mr. Leonard’s letter in the Nov. 4 issue of the Student Voice, I feel it is necessary to set the record straight regarding service on the Student Senate. If one reviewed the Senate Bylaws – the document which, among other things, governs the behavior of Student Senators – one would find no reference to any limit on a person’s right to express their own opinion. To be perfectly clear, there has never been a ‘code’ that limits a Senator’s political affiliation, political opinion, or rights of expression. Mr. Halverson, as well as any other member of the Senate, are allowed to state their opinion in the manner of their choosing. Prohibiting this expression would be a gross violation of the member’s First Amendment rights.

In an idyllic world, political issues would never intermix into student politics. However, given the impact that decisions made in Madison have on all students in our current era, the entry of partisan politics into student government is nearly inescapable. To dismiss the actions of a member of the Senate as being purely partisan surely disregards the core of the issues and the impact they have on all students. It is possible for a person’s partisan interests and their desire to better the entire student body to coincide. To put it more clearly, Mr. Halverson does not act as a Democrat; he acts as a student representative to the student body, and advocates for those things that, in his personal ideology, offer the most benefit to all students.

Finally, I encourage Mr. Leonard, if he feels this issue is as dire as his letter seems to indicate, to pursue proper action through the Senate’s ethics process, rather than waste everyone’s time and the Voice’s column inches, with unsubstantiated claims that have no merit.

Patrick Okan

AFAB Chair

Comments

Lance on 06 Dec 2011: Mr. Okan, I can kind of see where you're coming from but why would the Voice choose to state that Mr. Halverson is a Democrat, if not to elicit something!? He is representing the Students alrighty, but not in a way that I find acceptable! Also, his continuous disrespect & unprofessional behavior towards myself, my friends and the College Republicans has really rubbed me the wrong way! If there's one thing I've learned in my 23 years of life; it's that just because there's not a specific code or rule, written or unwritten, that some things are better left unsaid! Mr. Halverson has always, in my one and a third years of knowing him, been one to push the limits and this time he has gone too far, in my opinion, and we're not going to take it anymore! God Bless! #recallhalversonnow

Patrick on 02 Dec 2011: Lance, obviously the Voice did run the fact that Mr. Halverson is a Democrat. Mr. Leonard's "unsubstantiated claims" are that Mr. Halverson was in violation of a non-existent partisan code, and that his actions were partisan in nature. As before stated, Mr. Halverson was acting to represent UWRF students, not the Democratic Party. Just because you disagree with his political beliefs doesn't mean that he is automatically acting from a partisan bias every time he takes a stance or works on an issue. Mr. Halverson rightly determined that voting and voter IDs are an issue that impact all students - acting to address that issue is in the best interests of all students, and is not partisan.

Lance on 01 Dec 2011: Mr. Okan, They're my beliefs as I stated, to which we are all entitled. I am very much aware that Mr. Halverson has done some good things for the University, but for as far "left" as he is it would be very hard to completely block that from entering the Senate business, as it would be for me to leave my "Rightness"! I was just saying that my time was not wasted by Mr. Leonard as you stated! Are you suggesting that Mr. Leonard just made up the whole incident that you referred to as "unsubstantiated claims that have no merit"? God Bless! #recallhalverson

Patrick Okan on 29 Nov 2011: Lance, believe what you like, but the truth speaks very differently than how you perceive things in your head. Mr. Halverson has proposed a lot of things that have been supported by the Senate massively, by Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. These issues transcend politics and, though he is a Democrat, show that he acted to benefit the students, not Democrats. The Senate - much of it Republican - apparently agreed.

Lance on 21 Nov 2011: Well that's interesting, I personally find it very hard to believe that Mr. Halverson "does not act as a Democrat" and I believe that my time was not wasted by Mr. Leonard and the responses on previous posts regarding incidents concur with me, therefore you stating that "rather than waste everyone’s time and the Voice’s column inches" is less than true! Also, just because there is no specific code, does not mean that the basic principles of representing ALL constituents should be ignored! #recallhalverson