Senate to review bylaws
Student Senate bylaws and UW System policy collided Monday night over a bill allocating more than $600,000 of student funds.
The money in question is the budget for the student technology fee, which comes from 2 percent of tuition.
Controversy erupted over the lack of hearings held by the Information Technology Commission, the body that decides how to spend the student technology fee.
“Having budget hearings, which no one usually attends, would push it back a few weeks,” ITC director Scott Olson said.
Because Monday’s meeting was the last of the 47th Senate session, the budget bill would be delayed to sometime in the next session.
Senate bylaws state senators must attend two hours of ITC hearings. System policy states since the ITC budget comes from student funding, students must participate; however, Olson said participation guidelines are not explicitly stated and could indicate only students on the ITC need to participate.
According to Olson, student technology fees go to provide additional funding for services not entirely covered by System funds, like printer toner.
Senator Josh Pade said he wanted to have the hearings even if they were a formality.
“We should stay true to our bylaws,” he said.
Senator Matt Flaten, a former ITC member, stressed the requirement that senators must attend two hours of ITC meetings.
In the end, Flaten said he voted “aye” on the bill so the next session wouldn’t have to tackle a complicated budget right away.
“I think not passing this will do more damage than passing this,” he said.
The bill passed 21-0 with six abstentions.
“It seems like a rubber stamp,” Olson said of the Senate’s approval.
Olson and senators agreed they want to review the bylaws on the ITC budget so the procedure becomes more clear and students have more of a say in how to spend student funds.
Senate also passed a resolution in support of pay increases for the future Senate presidents, vice presidents, directors, treasurers and parliamentarians. Flaten, the author of the resolution, said the document is not intended to force future sessions to raise salaries – it’s a statement of this session’s opinion.
Flaten ended his Student Senate career Monday night with a resolution in recognition of his years of service. He lightheartedly called himself the “a-hole,” and the “thorn in the side,” and urged someone to take over the roles.
New senators will come into their positions next week.