Student Senate passes resolution in support of transgender students

Transgender students to use preferred bathrooms, following Title IX guidelines

More stories from Erica Jones

DIY diaries
May 9, 2018

Photo by Amanda Thao

Student Body President Ashley Sukhu and Parliamentarian Alec Putnam engaged in conversation; both were supporters of the update to Student Senate’s campaign policy.

Resolution in Support of Transgender Blugolds

Student Senate passed a resolution in support of allowing transgender individuals to choose to use whichever bathrooms match their gender identity, an idea which aligns with prohibition of sex-discrimination found in Title IX.

The resolution, written by Academic Affairs Director Nathan Altmann and Senator Bobbi Freagon, passed with a vote of  26-2-0. Many members of the body showed their support, including Senator Rashawn Williams.

Williams said being a minority at UW-Eau Claire affects the way he views this bill because he understands the value of an inclusive school.

“Being a minority on campus, I feel like this is extremely important, no matter if you’re transgender, black, white, Hmong,” Williams said. “I feel like it’s important to feel included and to feel safe to walk around on campus and just feel like you’re wanted here.”

Senator Brian Bauer voted in dissent of the resolution. Bauer said he took a poll of his three morning classes on the opinions of his peers to find 13 of 24 students surveyed would rather have separate unisex bathrooms with bigger stalls, such as those currently found in men’s and women’s bathrooms, than have transgender people use the bathroom correlating with their gender identity.

Because he felt this bill was not representative of student opinions, Bauer said, he voted it down.

Adopting the 2017-2018 Organized Activities Budget

Unfinished business from last week included a vote on adopting the 2017-2018 organized activities budget. Finance Director Jorge Herrero Berengue corrected a mistake from last week, saying the readership budget for 2016-2017 should read $8,000 instead of $15,000. The error has been amended.

Chief of Staff Katy McGarry voiced her support of this bill, saying it’s nice to see segregated fees are going to good places and are being used effectively.

Senator Lisa Krawczyk said while she supported this bill, one part in particular disappointed her.

“My only grievance with it is the continued decrease to the Readership Program,” Krawczyk said. “I think that that program is extremely important to the lives of our students’ knowledge and being aware of the world beyond Wisconsin.”

The bill passed with a vote of 28-0-1, setting in place a 2017-2018 budget which will see a projected decrease of 1.5 percent.

Updating Student Senate Elections and Campaign Procedure Policy

With Senate elections right around the corner, the body also discussed a policy update pertaining to campaigning introduced by Parliamentarian Alex Putnam, which indicated candidates are limited to 10 yard signs each and it is suggested they should be at least six feet from other candidate signs.

President Ashley Sukhu said the update is an attempt to reflect the university’s recently changed policy in the Student Senate Election and Campaign Procedure, attempting to provide students with a clear knowledge of accurate and updated rules before campaigning

Senate suspended the rules to vote early on this bill; it passed 27-1-1.

Special Allocation to Financial Management Association

A bill requesting $1,500 to allow Financial Management Association (FMA) members to attend a one-hour master class at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE) made its debut at the Senate this meeting. At the master class, FMA members would “experience a trading floor, prepare for the required derivatives class and meet traders and financial professionals,” according to the bill.

The money requested is a one-time expense which would be used only for the CBOE tour and class, as students are expected to pay for their own hotel accommodations, food and transportation through member fees and donations.

Finance Director Jorge Herrero Berengue introduced the bill, saying it would be more inclusive because non-FMA members would also be allowed to attend the event, as long as the number of students going remains under 50 to keep the fee at $1,500.

Senate will bring this bill before the body next week for a vote.