Bias response program supported

Allocation approved for ridesharing


Story by Glen Olson, Staff Writer

Senate approved allocations for the Zimride program and for renewable energy credits for Davies Center.

The  Zimride program, which some Senators said has had great success at the university, received $8,000 for the further development of the website.

The program, which began almost three years ago, has had 6,387 users since it started, according to the proposal.

Student body president Sam Fish said he thought the program was beneficial to the students and has used it to provide rides for students before.

“I think it’s just a fantastic program,” Fish said. “It’s a great way to reduce costs, and no one wants to drive home for hours alone … I think that’s incredibly valuable and lets our Blugold family expand that way.”

That allocation was passed by an initial vote of 22 to zero, with one abstaining.

The second allocation was to purchase renewable energy credits for Davies Center, the building now running entirely off of renewable energy.

Christian Paese, information technology director, supported the bill and said “it’s great.”

“If we are to attract students to the university, showing our commitment and dedication to being green is important,” Paese said.

According to the proposal, Xcel Energy does not profit from the purchase of the Windsource energy.

The cost would be added to University Center’s utility bill and reimbursed out of the SOS’s Environmental Responsibility account.

The $19,194 allocation pays for 85 percent of the energy used in addition to the 15 percent the UW System pays for.

The allocation for REC’s was passed by 21 votes, with one abstaining.

Bias Incidents

The Senate also passed a resolution to use their resources to help advertise the Bias Incident Response Team to students.

BIRT is a group of faculty, staff, administrators and students who deal with instances of bias and hate on campus.

The resolution was the product of concerns that students were unaware of the process to report problems, according to the resolution.

Student Senate’s public relations commission will be working with BIRT to bring it to a larger student audience.

Amy Jewell, the public relations director, said they will be reaching out to students because they feel it will be more affective than the dean of students office.

Jewell said they will be concentrating on the promotion for next semester.

“Basically it’s something a lot of students don’t know about,” Jewell said. “A lot of students hear bias incidents, like things against LGBTQ, but they don’t know how to report it.”

BIRT’s contact information can be found on the dean of students area on the university’s website.