Student Senate allocates $1.17 million to organized activities

The Finance Commission set an organized activities segregated fee of $131


Photo by Kendall Ruchti

Director of Finance Mary-Laura Samples introduced the organized activities budget. Student Senate approved at the 6 p.m. meeting Monday in Dakota Ballroom. Tweet: Student Senate set a $1.17 million organized activities budget with a $131 organized activities segregated fee.

Student Senate passed a bill adopting a tentative $1.17 million to allocate to organized activities for 2016-17, showing an increased total of 0.8 percent from the previous year, according to the legislation document.

Organized activities granted an increased budget including Flip Side magazine, Artist Series, International Films and the Women’s and LGBTQ Resource Center, according to the document.

Taking into account an expected 2.5 percent decrease in enrollment for the next academic school year, the Finance Commission agreed on a 0.53 percent increase in the organized activities segregated fee of $131.

The $131 organized activities segregation fee is an added fee on full-time students’ bills and is only part of a larger segregated fee, Director of Finance Mary-Laura Samples said. The full segregated fee also includes non-allocable activities, such as athletics, Student Health Services and Counseling Services, Samples said.

The Finance Commission puts a lot of thought into the fee amount, Samples said; it’s more than just dividing the total recommendations by total enrollment.

Senator Ryan Ring, sworn into Senate Monday night, served on the commission last fall as a non-Senate member during the bill’s deliberation and research process.

“We thoroughly and diligently looked at each organized activity and what they requested and we had great discussion on each one,” Ring said.

President Jake Wrasse said liaisons between the commission and organized activities contributed to the budget consensus with the questions they raised.

“Which then in return greater informs the finance commission as they make their decisions,” Wrasse said.

The motion passed with 23 affirmative votes and 7 abstentions.

In other Senate news

Senate passed a bill changing its bylaws to reflect the new payroll policies that puts a 25-hour limit on the number of hours students can work under the UW-System’s employment.

Director of Human Resources David Miller explained the payroll policy changes to senators before they voted. New implementations from the Affordable Care Act requires the UW-System, treated as a single employer, to provide health insurance to at least 95 percent of those who work more than 30 hours a week, Miller said.

The potential penalties to the UW-System would be around $67 million if changes weren’t implemented, such as the 25-hour week cap and eliminating lump sums with exceptions for resident assistants and the executive board of Senate, Miller said.

Senate’s 10 executive officers were granted the exception to remain on lump sum payroll until a long term solution is determined, Miller said. The executive board of Senate includes the president, vice president, chief of staff and seven directors, which aren’t required to report to anyone in the administration, Miller said.

“Those positions are not an employee and employer type relationship,” Miller said. “That’s a service type position.”

Senate’s updated bylaws remove all positions from lump sum except the 10 executive officers.

Chief of Staff Abigail Kielman said Senators don’t have the ability to change what’s happening with the 25-hour work week cap.

“So I’m going to support this,” Kielman said, “because it reflects changes that are currently being made and have already been made, which I think is necessary to be noted.

The motion passed with 29 affirmative votes and one abstentions.

Senate then approved the constitution for Eau Claire Jazz Organization, which seeks to provide community and communication between jazz students and the jazz studies area as well as coordinate jazz events, Director of Academic Affairs Colton Ashley said.