The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Roundtable debates Flipside column

A column printed last month in the Flipside sparked debate Monday during the final Chancellor’s Roundtable of the semester, stirring discussion on how the university and Student Senate should handle an essay that students argued was offensive to women.

The column, titled “Sexual Depravity,” was published in the April 16 edition of the Flipside and prompted an e-mail response to students by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich, in which he condemned the article for containing “offensive language and demeaning themes that objectify women.”

The most common concern among students was the use of segregated fees to fund the magazine, Senate President Ray French said in a letter addressed to the Flipside staff and several other Senators.

The Flipside received $6,863 during the 2007-08 school year and has been promised $7,200 for next year, French told The Spectator in an e-mail.

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He said after the Roundtable meeting, however, that Senate could not withhold funding in the future simply because students are offended by what the magazine published.

“The fact that it was offensive, the fact that it was probably irresponsible to be printed – that doesn’t matter,” French said.

Attendees of Monday’s Roundtable also called for changes to the university’s attendance policy, citing the unique responsibilities and needs of non-traditional students as causes for the desire for more leniency.

Other students argued the need for more online, evening and weekend courses to help meet the needs of non-traditional students, some of whom are apparently deciding to attend other schools because of the lack of such options here.

“I’m hearing responses from some people that they’ve chosen other schools because of the availability of online classes,” said Bonnie Isaacson, a non-traditional student adviser, who said surveys taken by prospective students have indicated a desire for online courses. Financial reasons and a lack of evening and weekend classes are other factors causing some non-traditional students to look at other schools, she said.

The university has increased its online course offerings in recent years, but Steve Tallant, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said UW-Eau Claire will seek to maintain a classroom-oriented environment and limit the number of online courses students can take.

“We believe in having a relationship between the student and faculty,” Tallant said, explaining that online courses diminish the experience offered in traditional classes.

Administrators and students also discussed the recent progress on the Davies Center redevelopment project. Plans are expected to gain ground this summer, with open forums for student input expected to begin next fall. Construction may have to wait as many as two years, however, as plans for the building become finalized.

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Roundtable debates Flipside column