EDI resolution voted up

Story by Thom Fountain

A resolution in support of equity, diversity and inclusivity at UW-Eau Claire passed unanimously Monday night, but not before an hour-long debate over its necessity.

Resolution 54-R-11, which was submitted by 25 senators and directors, defines the EDI initiatives and denotes that they are “central to the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.”

Amid initial discussion of the resolution, Student Body President Dylan Jambrek moved for the resolution to be sent back to the Student Life and Diversity Commission to add specifics about what senate will do to support these initiatives.

“It was a hollow statement,” Jambrek said in an interview with The Spectator. “It’s authors were looking for a unanimous resolution and unanimous support of EDI initiatives, but I don’t think it really did much of anything.”

Jambrek said the resolution was an obvious response to recent events testing the university’s EDI initiatives, such as Brother Jed’s visit to the campus mall and Information Systems Chair Tom Hilton’s e-mail response to the Eau Queer Film Festival.

“Obviously it was in reaction to some campus climate issues we’re having right now,” Jambrek said. “But it didn’t address those, nor did it suggest any events that senate might sponsor or support or any activity that we would like to see.”

Student Senate voted 13-16-2 on Jambrek’s motion and thus did not send the resolution to the Student Life and Diversity Commission for revisions – soon after, the resolution passed unanimously as it stood.

Senator Ben Krall, the director of the Intergovernmental Affairs Commission, supported the resolution because there had never been an official stance of Student Senate supporting the EDI initiatives.

“There were a lot of arguments that we shouldn’t have to say this,” Krall said. “While it doesn’t say specifics, I think that’s a favorable thing for it because we should say we are in favor of EDI in general.”

In opposition to sending the resolution back for revision, Senator Patrick Martin said he believed added specifics would look like more of a cover-up. Senator Jake Bernardy also said more specifics could make the resolution harder to pass with an overwhelming majority.

In support, Senator Chrissy Duszynski said the resolution needed to say something more than just general support and Jambrek said it was “a pat on the head” to senate.

Treasurer and Chief of Staff Sarah Tweedale said this resolution needed absolute affirmation, and that concerns about specifics should be addressed in a separate resolution.

The Student Life and Diversity Commission Director Allie Shilling said she fully agreed with Monday’s resolution, but also that a second resolution was in the works.

“I think the main goal is to have…Student Senate’s full support promoting EDI practices,” Shilling said. “That’s why I would like to see another resolution promoting it more.”

Krall said that after the results of the campus climate survey last year, it didn’t seem that Eau Claire was the best climate for diversity.

“I want people to know that as a Student Senate and as a student body, as well as we can, we are representing them and we are representing everybody.”