Letter to the editor
Student Senate lacks appropriate governmental documentation
April 22, 2015
Wisconsin open meeting and record laws aren’t only legitimate functions of government, they are necessary functions of legitimate governments.
I have been attempting to follow the actions of Senate through its records. Senate’s records as posted online aren’t complete and show alteration. For example, all of the agendas posted by Senate in 2014-2015 show as being posted at 9:02 a.m. on April 21. This makes it impossible for a citizen to ascertain if the agendas were posted late, changed after the fact or altered in some way. What should be an official government document now has no validity and is impossible to verify.
Amendment SS-14-15-082 “Student Life Operating Budget,” simply states that Senate approves the budget, and not what that budget actually is. These are just a few of the numerous irregularities that don’t meet either the intent or the letter of the laws in Wisconsin intended to protect and inform the public about our government.
Government documents are official records. Every other governmental unit in River Falls publishes their agenda and minutes in a newspaper of record. This allows the public to be informed, and protects us from malicious or unintentional destruction or alteration of records.
Senate should follow the example of other local government units and publish their agendas and minutes in the appropriate newspaper. For campus this would be the Voice when that option is available, and when not the River Falls Journal or Pierce County Herald. In addition, records should be kept in paper form and available in the office for inspection as required by law.
Open and honest government requires that the public be able to ascertain what government is doing. That is currently not possible with the incomplete records of Senate.
What Senate does is important, students and the public deserve to know what this important government body is doing.