Senate to receive formal response

Story by Alex Zank, News Editor

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The United Council of UW Students is planning on releasing a formalized response to Student Senate concerns with the organization, according to several senators, and a commission has been put in place to evaluate the response and decide appropriate action.

At this point the commission is waiting on the formalized response to be sent out and will meet to discuss options based on the content of the response, Vice President Patrick Martin, who is heading the commission, said.

“At this point it’s kind of a giant question mark,” Martin said. “It’s all in UC’s hands at this point, and that’s why I’m hoping we see a … response that invites for further dialogue.”

Senior senator Stephen Kahlow went to the UC meeting where a draft of the response was given out and he got a copy.

Kahlow said he appreciated most of what he saw in the draft, since it had taken a section of all the major concerns addressed in that paper.

“I could tell they put a lot of thought into (the response),” he said. “Many responses were very thorough in their reasoning.”

Martin said that he was hopeful that the official response would be as thoughtful as the White Paper, given the depth of the initial draft.

The White Paper is a document containing research and recommendations made by Student Senate members that was sent to UC along with the request of a prompt and formalized response.

After months without a response by UC, the Senate passed a resolution demanding that the organization reply to the White Paper as soon as possible.

During this time, the actions being taken by Senate even prompted a visit by UC President Geoff Murray to a Senate meeting to personally answer questions.

Freshman senator Jacob Wrasse, a member of the commission, said although he had not seen the draft of the response, by his understanding some of the concerns have been viewed by UC as a “vocal minority.”

Wrasse also pointed out past problems of UC’s responsiveness to the Senate.

“As a body that is supposed to be representing students, they have not been responsive to the desires of this campus,” he said.

Martin said he would be severely disappointed if the concerns were not addressed and communication between the two groups broke down as a result, but he is hopeful the situation won’t reach that point.

“I very strongly believe that (UC) is an amazing organization,” Martin said. “I would hate to take a ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ approach on this, just because we have functional bylaw issues with some of their activities.”

Martin said if the formalized response gives the commission something to work with, the commission might pursue another White Paper with scaled back ideas.

In a worst-case scenario where UC does not address the Senate concerns and communication breaks down, a referendum may be an only option at that point.

But for right now, before anything fully develops, Martin said that they will have to wait for the formalized response to decide what actions to take.

 

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