Student Senate tables bill regarding proposed restructuring

The bill did not follow bylaw procedure and will be brought back to the table next week

More stories from Rachyl Houterman


Photo by Lindsey Ambrosius

Before the bill can be brought to a vote, a mandatory public hearing for the student body needs to be held, in accordance with the Student Senate Bylaws.

Student Senate on Monday tabled a bill regarding a constitutional amendment to restructure the Senate body.

After it came to light that the proposed amendment didn’t follow the bylaws procedure, there was a motion to table the bill.

Bills regarding referendums require a mandatory public hearing between when the bill is first introduced and when it is brought to the Senate body for a vote, according to Chapter VI, Subsection 2, Part 7 of the Student Senate Bylaws.

If passed, the bill will allow the student body to vote on the proposed restructuring of the Senate seats in a referendum held in the fall.

The proposed changes would add five Senate seats to the current structure, totaling 35 seats, and creating four different categories for seats to be allocated.

The current Senate structure allocates seats under two categories: off-campus and on-campus, with 19 seats and 11 seats respectively. The new structure would include Academic Senators, 14 seats; Housing and Residence Life Senators, 4 seats; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Senators, 9 seats; and Specially Elected Senators, 8 seats.

Senator Austin Gulbrandson expressed concern about statements from the bill’s authors that the proposed restructuring would bring “no change” to Senate.

“In regards to ‘no change,’ I think ‘no change’ in that the sole purpose is to represent student needs, and by changing it this way, it’s still representing student needs,” Justin Vue, the Senate chair for the Equity in Student Matters Commission said. “Although the structure’s different, the goal is still the same.”

There were further concerns that this change would upset the simple binary structure of the current Senate and create space for subjectivity under the allocated seats.

The bill will be brought to the table at next week’s meeting after an informational meeting about the proposed restructuring is held for the student body to attend. It will need a two-thirds vote from the Senate body to pass.


Other news:

  • Senate passed a bill approving the Information Technology Commission’s 2018-19 budget, which totals to about $1 million.
  • Senate passed a resolution in support of student organization allocations of segregated fees.
  • Senate passed a resolution in support of UW-Eau Claire’s Climate Action Plan and the formation of a Sustainability Committee to carry out the details of the plan.