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Student Senate Update

October 21, 2015

At the Student Senate meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, the Safe Ride Home Allocation and the Resolution Against Campus Carry Act were discussed and voted on.

The Safe Ride Home Allocation, which was introduced at the Oct. 13 meeting, is a motion to allocate $5,400 from the Senate funding pool to fund a pilot of the Safe Ride Home Program. This program is a service in which a taxi would pick up UWRF students from anywhere in River Falls if they have had too much to drink or generally feel unsafe and make sure that students get home safely.

This program would run from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, starting in November and run for 15 weeks, ending in March. This program would utilize the River Falls Taxi Service, using one taxi that would be responsible for taking students back to campus or their homes. This would cost $30 an hour for extended service hours, equaling $360 per week and $5,400 for the 15 weeks. Because this is a pilot of the program, Senate will re-evaluate the effectiveness of it after the 15 weeks and determine if the program should continue into the next year.

When it came time to debate on this motion, former concerns and critiques that were voiced at the last Senate meeting resurfaced. Many members of Senate said that they were worried that this program would be seen as promoting students to drink and that the program would alienate students who don’t drink. Other members said they believed that the money that would go into this program, if passed, would be better spent elsewhere.

After much debate and no clear consensus among Senate about whether or not this motion should be put into place, the Safe Ride Home Allocation was voted on and passed with 10 yes votes, five no votes and one abstained.

Next, the Resolution Against Campus Carry Act was introduced. Moved by Brady Murphy, this was a resolution for Senate to adopt an oppositional stance to the proposed Campus Carry Act, a bill that was recently introduced to Wisconsin State Legislature by Representative Jesse Kremer and Senator Devin LeMahieu. This bill calls to amend the statutes that prohibit people from going into university or college buildings while armed with a firearm.

For the second time that night, the members of Senate seemed to have a difference of opinion when it came to this resolution. Many members thought that this bill, if passed, would compromise the safety of students and faculty at UWRF and other universities in Wisconsin, while others thought that the addition of firearms on campus wouldn’t really pose a problem. Even with a split in Senate, the Resolution Against Campus Carry Act passed, with 10 yes votes, 6 no votes, and 2 abstained.

All information in this update comes from the Oct. 14 Student Senate meeting, and select documents from the OrgSync Student Senate page. It’s very important for all students to stay informed on what is going on with Senate. They meet at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in the Willow River Room of the University Center, and the 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.