Student Senate president now required to live on campus
April 8, 2015
Student Senate met Tuesday night with one important topic on the agenda to discuss: an amendment titled "Senate bylaw Changes."
This amendment was moved by Senate Vice President Shelby Hehr, who was absent on Tuesday, and was seconded by At-Large Senator Brady Murphy. This amendment, as the name suggests, calls for some changes to be made to the current Senate bylaws. The changes that the amendment calls for includes: requiring the Senate president to live on campus during the academic year; adding the position of a chief administrator to work over the summer to attend to Senate business; and having the Senate president be paid during the months of September through April, taking away the summer pay in order to pay the chief administrator. After much discussion on the main amendment, it passed and will be effective as of next year.
It was also mentioned in the meeting that it has been discussed with administration about the possibility of the Senate president being compensated for housing costs if he or she is required to live on campus, but a decision on that will be decided at a later date.
There was a lot of discussion about this amendment, and there was even an amendment created to strike the requirement of the Senate president to live on campus. The reasoning for this was that the requirement to live on campus may discourage people from running for president, and that it is not set in stone that the president will be compensated for housing costs. However, that amendment was not passed.
Personally, I was glad that this amendment was passed without any changes being made to it. The Senate president is supposed to represent the study body, and for that person to live off campus puts up a wall between the president and the part of the student body that lives on campus.
The president should know the issues of the campus and what is going on on campus, and the best way to ensure that is if the president is required to live on campus. It's clear that being Senate president can often be a full-time job, so I also think that requiring the president to live on campus would make it easier for them to really focus on working toward making the campus better, especially if they're compensated for housing costs and therefore not worrying about having another job. I’m also glad that Senate is reevaluating its bylaws and making the appropriate changes.
Another thing I’d like to talk about that I learned Tuesday night at the Senate meeting is that there is currently only one person running for Senate president for next year. The polls for the Senate general election will be open April 15-17, and it's likely that Chris Morgan, who is currently the Senate external relations chair, will run unopposed for the position of president.
While I think that everyone should get informed on the candidates and vote, I would also like to encourage all students to take a good hard look at our campus and ask themselves if it could be a better place. The best way for change to happen is if people speak out and work toward that change, and the best way to do that is to work toward a better Senate. So, I want to ask each student to think about the future of our campus in this critical time and think about their part in that, and then seriously consider becoming involved in Senate.
All information in this column comes from the April 7 Senate meeting, and select documents from the OrgSync Senate page. It's very important for all students to stay informed on what is going on with Senate. Senate meets at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in the Willow River Room of the University Center, and meeting agenda can be found 24 hours prior on the Senate page. To see the details of what was discussed last Tuesday, go on the Senate page, and read through this week’s minutes document.
Natalie Howell is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during the 2016-2017 academic year.