Student Senate push statewide activism for student welfare and safety

Student Senators back state-level bill granting protection against underage drinking citations when reporting sexual assault

Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution to support the introduced Sexual Amnesty Bill, which would those under the age of 21 from underage drinking citations when reporting a sexual assault

Before Representative Joan Ballweg (R-Wis.) introduced this bill, Ballweg proposed a similar bill aimed to prohibit the issuance of citations to an intoxicated and underage individual who called the police in concern of their safety before it was defeated in the state assembly.

Director of Academic Affairs Mathew Riedel praised Senate’s resolution and called for his fellow representatives to bring awareness to the issue.

“We have to make sure that our fellow students know that this resource or option is available,” Riedel said. “If students don’t know that is an option then I think you won’t see it utilized as much as you could or should.”

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Katy McGarry, the author of the resolution supporting the bill, lauded Senate’s efforts to make the resolution a reality.

“(Sexual assault) can’t be talked about enough,” she said, “not just on our campus, but on all college campuses in general.”

It wasn’t a particular event that sparked the recent push for sexual amnesty, but rather greater awareness and activism at a societal level, McGarry said. She said UW-Eau Claire already utilizes a similar policy to protect its students in these cases, although she speculated the same protections may not extend to those who live off campus.

The next step is to publicize the issue and push legislators to approve the bill, McGarry said.

“Our best efforts would be to make sure that we are asking for (state representatives’) support,” she said, “showing them that students would like this to make a safer campus, making sure that bill passes.”

In other Senate news

Senate unanimously passed a resolution to support a state bill that would create a higher education aid board.

The board would provide loan assistance to students working in sectors vital to the state of Wisconsin, both supporting student loan debt and workforce development in the state.

Through the bill, students would get a more comprehensive approach to student loan debt relief, Riedel said. He advised members of the Senate to galvanize public support and contact state legislators in order to make the bill a reality for Blugolds.

Senate voted to table the McIntyre Library Student Advisory Board Constitution indefinitely. The advisory board was described as a student organization designed to utilize library resources more effectively, develop better functionality within the library and promote communication between library functions and the student body.

The current constitution lacked a definitive role for administrators on campus, Riedel said. Riedel motioned to table the constitution for consideration until authors could “work out a specific document that can highlight (a library administrator’s) role in the process.”

The motion passed with 17 affirmative votes and four abstentions.

On the docket for next week

Student Body President Jake Wrasse introduced a new resolution to change the Senate bylaws to reflect the UW system’s payroll policies that put a 25-hour cap on the amount of hours students can work at a university job.

Director of Finance Mary-Laura Samples introduced the 2016-17 $1.17 million budget to be allocated to organized activities.

Senate will convene on both matters during its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday in Dakota Ballroom.