Student Senate passes resolution in response to Freedom of Expression policy

Three bills were introduced and two Senators have resigned

More stories from Rachyl Houterman


Photo by Kar-Wei Cheng

Student Senate introduces bill proposing to allocate money to the Confluence Arts Center project and one proposing to amend the Student Senate Bylaws.

Student Senate Monday night passed a resolution to oppose the passage of Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 299-Campus Free Speech Act and introduced three bills to be voted on next week. Two senators resigned from Senate.

61-R-5 – Resolution in response to the Board of Regents’ imposing the Freedom of Expression policy

Martin Sandberg, the intergovernmental affairs director, introduced the resolution, which surrounds the Freedom of Expression policy passed by the UW System Board of Regents on Oct. 6.

The resolution supported the Board of Regents’ implementation of the policy but opposed passage of the Campus Free Speech Act because of redundancy. The Act is currently in the Wisconsin State Senate waiting to be voted on.

“And the primary reason for this (the resolution) is when these things are put into place by the Regents it has to take into account the shared governance that we have — we have a say in this — and additionally when passed by the Regents, if we need to make changes or alterations to this in the future it’s a lot easier than if we need to go through and amend a law that’s already been put in place by the legislature,” Sandberg said.

Senator Hillary Smith stood in support of the resolution, reiterating the points Sandberg highlighted during his introduction of the resolution.

“It’s good to show our support of that, because that puts the power to the students and not the UW System,” Smith said. “But once it goes to the state legislature that’s something we should be a little concerned about, I think, because that takes power away from us.”

The resolution passed in a voice vote.

Bill 61-B-8 – Amending the Student Senate Bylaws

Senate also introduced a bill to amend Chapters IX and XII of the Student Senate Bylaws to remove the Academic Affairs Policy Coordinator position.

Chief of Staff Branden Yates introduced the bill for Academic Affairs Director David Miller as he was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting. Speaking on behalf of Miller, Yates said the director chose to eliminate the position because he had already taken up those responsibilities himself and found the position to be unnecessary.

The bill will be voted on next week.

Bill 61-B-9 – Special Allocation to Kinesiology Club

The Finance Commission introduced a special allocation bill to the Kinesiology Club to fund registration fees for a conference and networking event on Oct. 12 to 13 in Minnesota. The Kinesiology Club requested $110, which the Finance Commission decided to allocate in full.

The bill will be voted on next week.

Bill 61-B-10 – Allocating funds for the Confluence Arts Center

A bill proposing to allocate $71,540 for the lighting in the Confluence Arts Center was introduced by the Student Office of Sustainability Commission.

Introducing the bill on behalf of Student Office of Sustainability Director Kristina Haideman was Student Body President Katy McGarry.

The bill pertains to a long background of Student Senate assisting with the Confluence Arts Center, beginning in 2012 when Senate passed a resolution pledging $50,000 to the Confluence Center for lighting.

In 2015, the SOS Commission passed a proposal to pledge $50,000 to the Confluence Center but a formal bill was never brought to the full body Senate to be voted on.

On Oct. 11, the SOS Commission reintroduced the proposal but with the updated total lighting costs. It passed 7-1-0.

The allocated money will be taken from the Green Fund, which is the SOS Commission’s financial fund.

The bill will be voted on next week.

Other news

Senators Derek Lindquist and Aubrie Peterson resigned from Senate.