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Chancellor requests reasoning behind three failed segregated fee proposals

March 9, 2012

Chancellor Dean Van Galen has requested a list of reasons as to why three motions for proposed segregated (seg) fee increases were rejected by Student Senate.

After a meeting with Student Senate President Tyler Halverson and Facilities and Fees Board Chair Beth DeLong the chancellor decided that in order to better understand why the motions failed, he would like to know the specific reasons the senators voted the way they did.

Halverson and DeLong explained to the Senate that they were both embarrassed to meet with the chancellor and tell him that they really did not know why the motions failed even after the lengthy discussions that came with two of them.

“There was so much nitpicking involved in the discussions and the same questions were asked multiple times,” said DeLong. “The focus should be on the big picture when making these decisions not on little things like picture frames and furniture.”

The departments whose proposed seg fee increases failed at the Senate level are fairly disappointed in the decision made by the Senate.

“Of course one would hope that the seg fee increase would have received the support of Student Senate, but that is not the case,” said Cara Rubis, University Center director.

The UC and Residence Life Assistant Director of Dining Services Jerry Waller explained how he really doesn’t know why the motion for the proposed increases in meal plan rates failed.

“During the discussion, I received no negative comments and only one general question regarding the basis of the increase. The motion was under consideration for very few minutes prior to being called for a vote.”

When it was asked of the senators to explain their no votes, it was discovered that many of them were uninformed and perhaps would have voted differently with more information and understanding.

DeLong expressed that this is a big problem for the sen- ate and the fault lies with the senators themselves. Every proposed increase was dis- cussed at the small committee level and at the Facilities and Fees Board meetings. Those are the two places where all of the information could have been obtained, but very few senators get involved at these levels of the process. President Halverson echoed DeLong’s statements.

“There may need to be a change with the current budget process. If Student Senate does not trust the work of the committees under this governing body, then the process does not work,” said Rubis.

The decision made by the Senate to fail the three motions definitely has some people confused because the motions all passed through the small committee level and Facilities and Fees Board without problems.

Dining Services, Residence Life, and the UC just hope that the chancellor will review their motions and make a final, unbiased decision.

Chancellor Van Galen ensures that he will do what he can to make an unbiased decision. In addition to asking the Senate for their list of reasons for no votes, he has also asked Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Greg Heinselman, for some background information on the seg fee requests that were not supported by Senate.

“I take seriously the vote by Student Senate. However, along with the vote and rationale provided by Student Senate, I must also consider the recommendations of professional staff and the need to ensure a high-quality educational experience to current and future UWRF students. I am entering this phase of the process with an open mind,” said Van Galen in an email.

Senate Advisor Paul Shepherd told the Senate that in the future they need to get involved and ask the important questions.

He encouraged the senators to invite some of the professionals within any department to come in and speak to the Senate if they have questions or don’t understand something.

If the chancellor does not approve the seg fee increases he explained that it would vary by area, but would ultimately result in fewer or lower quality services for students.

He will make his final decisions and then forward his recommendations to the Board of Regents.

“I think that the list of reasons for the no votes given to the chancellor will help him understand the views of some of the senators. However, whether or not he will agree with them, I just don’t know,” said Halverson.

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