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

Growing pains

After semester-long deliberations, the Environmental Endeavors Commission introduced the EEC Fall 2010 Allocation bill at the Student Senate meeting Monday night.

However, the process for deciding which proposals would be approved was not a smooth one. Even though the EEC is a new commission this year run by new director Ben Ponkratz under new bylaws, there were some concerns within senate that protocol was not being followed.

Student Senate is a governing body and as such is subject to following the laws set by the state, said Student Body Vice President Phil Rynish. Senate needs to follow certain guidelines in order to ensure legitimacy, especially when it concerns segregated fees, which are 100 percent student dollars.

“We are allocating student money so we need to make sure everything follows what the state requires us to do,” he said. “If we didn’t follow them we could have action taken against us and the process deemed illegitimate.”

Around $140,000 is proposed in the bill that will be voted on on Jan. 24. Students contribute $10 each in segregated fees.

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Ponkratz said the process has been malleable because they’re trying to follow bylaws but at the same time they’re a new commission and it takes a while to work out the kinks.

“We’re a new structure because we’re kind of a hybrid between organized activity and a Student Senate commission,” he said. “We’re setting precedent.”

Several times throughout deliberations some issues arose involving the timely posting of agendas, quorum not always being met, certain members who voted on the proposals were not appointed and the role of the advisors was often ambiguous.

Rynish said there was no question about the legitimacy of the proposals chosen to be funded but, especially where student money is concerned, following the protocol
is essential.

“Even though we were still learning we want to make sure we keep everything as clean as possible” Rynish said. “There was absolutely nothing shady going on but we don’t want the legitimacy to be questioned.”

One of the main concerns involved the role advisors play in the meeting. In general, advisors are at the meeting to answer any questions that might come up. In the EEC meetings, the advisors had a little more freedom in their ability to speak on a proposal.

Ponkratz said in other commissions such as Finance, the role of the advisor is much stricter but felt that the EEC is in a
unique situation.

“I will defend to the bank for our commission advisors because they are the voice of feasibility and are able to keep an eye on the situation and say ‘this is the larger picture you aren’t seeing,’” he said.

Director Mark Morgan said he was concerned during the meetings about the advisors sharing personal opinions but doesn’t think it adversely affected the proposals that
were chosen.

“It’s tough to quantify the effect. The advisors were more outspoken, it’s not necessarily that it’s bad but it’s more that it’s not appropriate,” he said. Morgan also mentioned that the bylaws only outline the role of advisor but doesn’t specify what they can or cannot say.

After the issue was brought up both Ponkratz and President Dylan Jambrek contacted the advisors and tried to rectify the misunderstanding.


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Growing pains