Senate focuses on safety
Two unanimous decisions sent a bill to fund Gender Fest and a resolution supporting an additional blue emergency phone near Chancellors Hall through the Student Senate with minimal debate Monday in the Tamarack Room in Davies Center.
Introduced by Senator Aaron Olson, the resolution supports placing a blue emergency phone along University Drive past Chancellors Hall in a poorly lit area, according to the resolution.
“We are a safe campus because we have blue lights,” Olson said. “This (additional light) would only make it safer.”
Including trenching and wiring for power, communications and set up, the cost will be between $1,000 and $2,000, according to the resolution.
“If safety does have a price tag, it’s worth a lot more than $2,000,” Olson said.
While the resolution only supports the phone’s installation – not forcing the university or the city to take any action – it would have to wait at least a year or two, he said, because the city plans to reconstruct roads near Upper Campus.
“(The resolution) is telling the administration that as a student body, this is what we want,” Olson said, “and that gives them the firepower to go out and do it.”
Senator Lindsey Nelson supported the resolution, but said that since July 1, 2003, the blue lights on the phones have been activated for non-emergencies 53 times. Despite that, a real emergency hasn’t been reported, she said, adding as long as the university already has one in the Towers storage, they should use it.
The Gender Fest bill will provide $400 for Kristin Effland, a youth program coordinator for GenderYOUTH, to host an activist training workshop from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Davies Theater.
Costs break down to $251 for airfare, $62 for an overnight stay, $53 for gas to and from Minneapolis and $34 for meals, according to the bill. Gender Fest will run Tuesday to Thursday, Nov. 11 and Nov. 16 to Nov. 18.
Senator Jessica Janiuk, a transgender student, said passing the bill helps emphasize the importance of gender equality issues on UW-Eau Claire’s campus.
“Gender issues affect every one of us,” she said. “It affects both men and women.”
The bill was supposed to be debated during next week’s Student Senate meeting, but the rules were suspended. Senator Avril Flaten said passing the bill now will help get financing out of the way sooner, because the event is a week away.