Senate mounts support for academic policy change, approves two other resolutions

A bill for student technology fees budget will be voted on next week


This week, Senate’s meeting lasted just over an hour in comparison to last week’s four-hour session. (Amanda Thao)

Story by Hillary Smith, Staff Writer

Student Senate passed three resolutions in an efficiently executed meeting this week. Additionally, the body introduced a bill regarding the student technology fee budget.

Information Technology Director Jarrett Yuknis introduced the bill which outlines the budget ranges the Information Technology Commission (ITC) planned for 2018 fiscal year. The funds would be allocated to maintaining and improving infrastructure already in place as well as continuing to develop more current technologies for student use.

“The biggest part is that it’s (the infrastructure) got to get faster,” Yuknis said. “If our students aren’t using what’s used in the market, they aren’t prepared for their careers.”

Yuknis said a large portion of the $1.1 million budget will go to maintaining what is already in place. However, he said he is looking forward to the Innovative Programs category, which received between $50,000 and $100,000 in allocated funds. Some projects the ITC will possibly develop include the bus tracking system and 24-hour labs for students.

“That’s our ability to show off what we can do for our students,” Yuknis said.

The bill will be presented to the body for discussion and voting next week.

Academic Affairs Director Nathan Altmann then introduced a resolution in support of an academic policy change mandating all academic suspensions last a period of one semester. Previously, a first academic suspension lasted one semester while a second lasted two.

The University Senate academic policies committee voted on Nov. 15 in support of the adjustment but Altmann said he thinks it’s crucial Senate shows their knowledge and support of the change and of University Senate.

Altmann said he was at first concerned the university was focused on the business advantages rather than student wellness and shortening the period would not allow students enough time to deal with the issues at hand. However, he said his fears were assuaged.

“After speaking with people in administration, it was made very clear to me the process they would be going through to get readmitted is very student focused,” Altmann said. “They’re going to make sure the student seeking readmission gets whatever help they need and can prove they are fit and ready to succeed before they’re readmitted.”

After several other members expressed their support, the resolution passed.

In addition, on Nov. 29, the UW System student representatives will host a lobbying day, which Eau Claire’s Senate plans to send a delegation to assist with the efforts. The student representatives meet monthly during the academic school year.

The group consists of leadership from each of the 26 UW System four-year and two-year institutions. Student Body President Ashley Sukhu and Vice President Colton Ashley will participate as student representatives.

The UW System student representatives established four legislative priorities to focus on while lobbying. These include protecting shared governance, financially investing in the UW System, advocating against sexual violence and having a direct voice in selecting student regents, as listed in the document.

Intergovernmental Affairs Director Nick Webber said he supports the resolution but was not entirely happy with the student representatives. Shared governance, which gives student governments a direct voice in decision making, was previously amended for an advisory function but had no actual power.

“I would also like to express my public disappointment at the UW reps for, first of all, not having protected shared governance in the original document,” he said. “This is the number one issue facing students today.”

Webber added he looks forward to mending ties and moving forward in advocating for UW students.

Finally, Mascot Coordinator Sam Milewsky introduced the third resolution, which supported adopting a revised version of the Twelve Points of Student Senate.

Past Senate sessions established the Twelve Points to create a base of procedural customs and courtesies.

As written in the resolution, “‘The revised Twelve Points of Student Senate’ better reflect the current needs and practices of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.”

Due to changes in state law and staffing as well as cultural changes, Milewsky said he thinks it’s good to have a new and improved version of the Twelve Points.

The ITC bill will be voted on next week, along with several student organization constitutions.