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Student Reps come to campus

October 3, 2013

The UW-River Falls Student Senate hosts the first meeting of UW Student Reps of the school year on Oct. 4-5, and aims to pass a series of bylaws to increase organization.

Student Reps is a statewide organization comprised of, usually, the president and vice president of the UW-schools’ student senates. Senate President Sam Tauchen and Vice President Anthony Sumnicht are the representatives for UWRF. The group meets five times during the school year to collaborate and implement policies that affect the 26 campuses in the UW System.

Student Reps decided to hold its first meeting at UWRF at the annual Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee (SUFAC) meeting, which is held in Madison at the end of summer.

“Hopefully we’ll be the most organized meeting of the Student Reps,” Sumnicht said. “A goal of our Senate is to increase awareness of River Falls, and relevance across the state.”

Sumnicht will present a set of bylaws for consideration at the Student Reps meeting. The constitution for the organization only passed last year and Sumnicht wants to restructure the document so the bylaws detail what can be changed, while the constitution will stay the same.

“River Falls is proposing a whole constitutional overhaul. We’re taking out a bunch of things and we’re proposing bylaws for the organization that will completely expand its structure and reorganize it to actually be able to accomplish things,” Sumnicht said.

Sumnicht explained that Student Reps might not seem like it affects students, because it does not deal with the everyday issues, but broader policy issues that are handled in the state legislature.

The United Council, another statewide organization that has been active at the state capitol in the past and works within the UW System, will lose its funding, so Sumnicht would like Student Reps to take the lead and tackle the issues that matter to students.

Gregg Heinselman, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said that he would like to see Student Reps accomplish a few issues at the state level.

He mentioned the voter ID bill and the fact that student ID numbers should not be tied into voting, since those numbers are only meant for school and personal business.

He also explained how the tuition freeze would negatively impact UWRF because the cost to operate campus is still present, therefore segregated and user fees could increase to cover those costs.

Heinselman also said that Student Reps should be the body representing the UW System, not the United Council, since Student Reps is comprised of elected members and the United Council is not.

“That’s the body the UW System needs to engage with. United Council is a separate entity that believes they have a role, yet none are elected to serve in that capacity,” Heinselman said.

Both Heinselman and Sumnicht agreed that Student Reps has an important role on UW campuses. Students should be aware of the power Student Reps holds to change policy.

“It’s hard to convey to student how important this organization should be, because it doesn’t really effect their daily life. It’s more dealing with the state legislature and UW System as whole,” Sumnicht said.

The Student Reps meeting is a public meeting and begins at 4 p.m., on Oct. 4, and continues at 8 a.m., on Oct. 5, in the St. Croix Room in the University Center.