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Student Senate Update: Week of Oct. 12

October 15, 2015

The Student Senate meeting Tuesday, Oct. 14, included guests that spoke about a variety of issues facing UWRF and the discussion of the Safe Ride Home Allocation.

Chancellor Dean Van Galen and Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Fernando Delgado visited the Senate meeting to give an update on what the university was doing well, what is currently being worked on, and what could be improved. Van Galen talked about the importance of Shared Governance and UWRF’s strategic plan for the new academic year. He also mentioned the addition of science majors to the UWRF curriculum in the future, including a possible neuro-science major.

When Delgado addressed Senate, he mentioned that based on polling from graduating students, UWRF is lacking in student perceptions compared to other UW-System universities when it comes to academics. This means that in students’ opinions, UWRF did not meet their expectations when it came to curriculum and classes. Delgado said that the university is going to continue to look at what needs to be changed in order to fix this problem.

Senate then discussed the Safe Ride Home Allocation, which was moved by Senate Vice President SJ DeGroote. This motion is to allocate $5,400 from the Student Senate funding pool to fund a pilot of the Safe Ride Home Program. The Safe Ride Home Program, discussed at length in previous meetings, is a program in which a taxi would pick up UWRF students from bars in River Falls to make sure that students get home safely if they have had too much to drink. It was the original idea to have UWRF buses be involved, but that was changed after concern about liability.

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.

There was a lot of discussion about this motion, with some members of Senate voicing concern about the logistics of it and whether or not the idea of a safe ride home for intoxicated students would seem as though Senate was promoting drinking and getting drunk. It was also mentioned that this year’s program will be a pilot, meaning that Senate will look at the effectiveness of the program in March and determine what needs to be changed and whether or not it will continue into the next year. Because this motion was introductory only, Senate only discussed the motion, with the plan to vote on it at its next meeting.

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.