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

Student Senate keeps tuition increase

Student Senate voted 13-12 on Monday against recalling last semester’s vote that approved a resolution in favor of the Blugold Commitment.

In order to pass the recall, a two-thirds vote was needed, which would have required at least 17 senators to vote in favor of rescinding the resolution. The resolution supports increasing tuition $1,200 over four years, with 40 percent of that money going towards financial aid.

The Blugold Commitment will now go before the Board of Regents tomorrow and Friday for final approval.

Student body president Michael Umhoefer was pleased with Student Senate’s decision not to rescind their original vote in favor of the increase.

“This is going to substantially improve the quality of the education we have here,” Umhoefer said. “This money – being controlled by students – allows us to update programs, curriculum and different areas of academia to match the trends that we want.”

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Overall, the Student Senate body was split on the topic, with many of the senators leaning powerfully toward one side.

Sen. Collin Hawkins was strongly in favor of rescinding the vote for many reasons, he said.

“It’s incredibly unspecific. We’re signing a blank check right now, based on promises or ideas of what might happen with it,” Hawkins said. “I think it’s not responsible to sign a blank check that future generations of students are going to have to cash.”

Sen. Dylan Jambrek argued that the reason why it isn’t known where the money will go is because it is going to be decided by the students. He said there will be an unprecedented level of student oversight in deciding where the money will go.

Another reason some senators were in favor of rescinding their original vote was because of the lack of student support. Intergovernmental Affairs Director Armon Tabrizi, who originally made the motion to rescind the vote, wanted to give senators another chance to vote in line with the student body’s preferences, which were acquired during a campus-wide survey.

“I think we have failed horribly with representing not only the student body, but the interest of the student body,” Tabrizi said. “I am saddened by that.”

Umhoefer pointed out that the results of the campus-wide survey on the Blugold Commitment will not be ignored. He added that senators who went against the student body used all of the information they were given to make their decision.

“Student Senate is the elected representatives of the student body, and it was our professional opinion that the Blugold Commitment was something worth supporting,” Umhoefer said. “The results of the survey and the results of the Student Senate vote are both going to be considered by the Board of Regents.”

The meeting was held in front of a standing room only crowd that was largely dominated by students who were opposed to the tuition increase. Many of the senators, regardless of the side they were on, commended the students on taking a stance and making their presence known.

Hawkins said he was proud of all of the people who spoke during the meeting, including the students, regardless of how the final vote turned out.

“I think everyone really came together . and put out an excellent and articulate case,” Hawkins said. “I think that in some cases it may have just fallen on deaf ears . but how many students showed up was just incredible.”

Likewise, Umhoefer was pleased to see the amount of students who attended, even though the majority of them opposed his stance on the topic.

“The amount of students there was awesome, I’ve never seen anything like that,” Umhoefer said. “They had some really good points to be made . but in any of the arguments, I never heard that the money wasn’t needed.”

Following Student Senate’s decision not to rescind their vote passing the Blugold Commitment, freshman Aaron Rice began a movement to recall Umhoefer and student-body vice-president Amber Bretl because of their involvement.

For the recall to pass, two-thirds of the amount of students who voted in the election originally are required to sign the petition, according to Umhoefer. That means Rice will need to collect 934 signatures before being able to submit it to the Organizations Director. If the petition passes through that, 30 days need to pass before the re-election can be held, Umhoefer said. Anyone would be able to run for president or vice-president in the event of a recall, including Umhoefer and Bretl.

“My main reason for recalling these two is because they did not represent the constituency,” Rice said. “I realize they are not the only two who voted ‘yes,’ but they are the two who are in charge of Student Senate, and, I hope by recalling them that the other senators who voted ‘yes’ to the Blugold Commitment will understand that they can not ignore the constituency like they have been.”

Umhoefer said that he understands students are frustrated with his decision to vote for the Blugold Commitment, but that he doesn’t feel as if he misrepresented the students. He pointed out that students didn’t support the original proposal of the Blugold Commitment as it was, so modifications were made to allow more student input, and he supported the modified proposal.

“The decision I made to support the Blugold Commitment was a decision that I stand by and will support,” Umhoefer said. “It’s something that I felt is the best decision for the students, for the university, and that’s something I’m never going to regret.”

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Student Senate keeps tuition increase