Senators table a bill to require more outreach during election process

Senators share ideas for the 2020 campus plan


Photo by Andee Erickson

Senators exchange cards with their suggestions for the 2020 strategic plan and rank each idea from one-to-five to prioritize.

Student Senate tabled a bill intended to encourage Senate candidates to do more outreach to students when running for a position.

The president and vice president petition would require 250 signatures instead of 125, while the Senator’s would require 100 instead of 50, Chief of Staff Abigail Kielman said.

“As the number of students who participate in the elections and voting increases,” Kielman, who presented the bill, said, “we felt it was necessary to require candidates to talk to more people, to get the word out about Senate and to talk to their classmates or peers about issues they feel strongly about.”

After the bill was introduced at last week’s meeting Senators worried the extra outreach would hinder students from running, Kielman said. This was especially true for underrepresented students, which was not the intention, she said.

With petition pick-up beginning next week, Kielman said they also decided it was too close to election season to make changes to the requirements.

“We didn’t want to confuse anyone,” Kielman said.

The bill was tabled indefinitely until either deemed worthy or not worthy of reconsideration, President Jake Wrasse said.

In other Senate news

Student Senators participated in a discussion about where the state of UW-Eau Claire should be in 2020.

MJ Brukardt, executive director of marketing and planning at Eau Claire, asked each Senator to record on paper a distinct trait about the campus that should remain preserved come 2020 as well as an instance in need of improvement or change.

Senators were then asked to rank each other’s ideas from one to five based on how significant they thought the suggestions were.

The suggestions Senators shared included:

-Ensuring the top academic majors remain competitive
-Not resorting to teacher assistants in the classroom to maintain student and professor relationships
-Updating residence halls
-Continued support of extracurricular opportunities and organizations
-Putting more effort into making class sign-up easy to understand and ensuring students can get the classes they need
– Increasing the four-year graduation rate

Since the Centennial Plan began in 2008, the UW-System has received almost a $700 million reduction in state funding, Brukardt said. With less support from the state, every dollar spent at the university needs to be used for priority investments, she said.

“What will have the greatest impact for students here on this campus?” Brukardt said. “A plan needs to help us focus, focus on what’s most important.”

Which is why she said she’s asking for student input as the new 2020 strategic plan is created. After tabling in Hilltop and Davies and having students write their ideas for the plan, hundreds of student suggestions were made, Brukardt said.

Students can pick up petitions to run on the spring ballot at noon next Monday in office 220B of Davies, Wrasse said. There are 30 senator positions total, 11 on campus and 19 off campus. At least a 2.0 GPA and minimum enrollment of six credits is required, Wrasse said.

For students running for a senator position, 50 signatures are needed, while the President and Vice President tickets require 125 signatures, Wrasse said. Petitions are due April 8.