Debate rages over referendum bill

Story by Sam Rosenberry

 

Student Senate passed a bill for a United Council referendum that contained two separate sections Monday night. The first passed with a voice vote, and the second passed on a 14-13 roll-call vote.

 

UC’s mission is “to represent all students of the UW System and advocate for them,” according to their website. The first section of the bill was about holding the referendum to stay in this association and it passed easily.

 

The second section proved much more contentious. It contained language stating the Student Senate supported a yes vote and would suggest that students vote that way.

 

Many senators thought no opinion should be given in the bill. Vice President Mark Morgan said that it was not the senate’s place to tell students how to vote.

 

“Those who elected you to send you here did not send you here to decide on United Council,” Morgan said. “If they did, we wouldn’t have a referendum.”

 

Director and UC board member Ben Krall said that it is not improper for senators to give an opinion.

 

“We are elected to have our voices heard and to represent the student body and give our opinion to the student body as well,” he said.

 

UC Vice President Dylan Jambrek spoke in favor of the bill and said Senate is in a good position to recommend this to students, but the choice is in the Senate’s hands.

 

“They can, of course, ignore it,” he said.

 

Also, Krall pointed out that the same language was used in the last UC referendum bill.

 

However, Morgan stressed to the senators to not make a decision just because it happened in the past.

 

“You judge this based not upon … whether it’s been done in the past, but whether or not you think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

 

Though the vote was close, the language stayed in.

 

The referendum is set for Oct. 26 and 27 and will ask students if they want to remain members of United Council, which will cost $3 per semester. Even if the campus votes to stay in, individual students can get their money refunded.