Provost announces spring semester will end a week early, no spring break planned

UW-Eau Claire Chief of Police talked to senators about policing on campus and the senate passed several bills


Student Senate began its fully virtual meeting at 6:04 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30. UW-Eau Claire Chief of Police Jay Dobson gave a presentation about the perception of the police on campus and in Eau Claire. Dobson said he is a graduate of the university and has worked on campus since 1996.

Dobson shared statistics with senators, highlighting services the department has provided last year. These included more than 85 public assists, responses to 98 emergency calls and 52 responses to student mental health crises.

Dobson said officers also made 35 arrests last year, with only three of which consisting of students. 

“It’s really about public safety on this campus,” Dobson said.

Dobson said the force is rarely used on campus. Force has only been used once in the last three years on a student who had consumed LSD and became aggressive. 

Dobson said he does and will continue to emphasize de-escalation training among his officers. He said in his training courses he teaches officers to be respectful, empathetic and understanding in incidents where people are in tense situations which could lead to violence.

Provost Patricia Kline then spoke with senators about the university’s plan to keep the campus as safe as possible during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will not have spring break next semester,” Kline said.

The provost said the academic year will end a week early in May in lieu of having a week-long spring break.

“It was a difficult decision to come to,” Kline said. 

 Afterwards, Vice Chancellor Warren Anderson said he would be leaving the university to work at the University of Wisconsin system to further his work in Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity. Anderson also left praise for the senators.

“This has been the most active Student Senate I have ever seen in my career,” Anderson said.

President Anna Ziebell then introduced Bill 64-B-2. This bill reformed the It’s On Us Special Committee. The committee would formally affirm the “It’s On Us” national movement to recognize sexual assault survivors.  

“This specific committee shows our support for the victims,” Ziebell said.

The bill passed 28-0-2, with only President Ziebell and Vice President Joe Murphy abstaining.

Next, the body introduced Bill 64-B-3. The bill focused on student segregated fees and its allocation. Senator Trenton Phillippi, commission director of finance, introduced the bill and gave the body a rundown on the finances of next year’s budget. 

The bill will be reintroduced next week and voted at the last meeting of the semester.

After that, Senator Anna Wendorff reintroduced 64-R-12, the bill withdrawn last week by former Senator Alyssa Monson, which sought to formally change the name of “Thanksgiving Break” to “Fall Break.”

The body passed the bill with a vote of  26-0-3.

Next, Ziebell introduced Bill 64-R-13. This bill was meant to support the regular testing for COVID-19 on campus by students and faculty. 

The bill passed with a vote of 27-0-2.

Bill 64-R-14 was then introduced “in support of administration, staff, faculty and students to display personal pronouns more frequently.” 

Senator Avery Hartling said it was important for cisgendered people to be more forthcoming with their gender pronouns to make those in the LGBTQ+ community more comfortable when they need to provide their pronouns.

The resolution was passed with a vote of 26-0-2.

Bill 64-R-15 was introduced by Lucy Chapman, chief of staff. The bill acted “in support of enforcement of mask policies on campus.” Chapman said while enforcement has been good, it was not uncommon to see students without their masks on in the Davies Center despite them not eating or drinking.

The senate passed the bill with a vote of 26-0-2.

Next, the body introduced bill 64-R-16. Senator Jaden Mikoulinskii, director of the Commission of Academic Affairs, introduced the bill and showed support for university-wide priority registration for graduating students.

She said students who may graduate in one or two semesters find they cannot enroll in classes they need due to small groups of students, such as honor students, getting early enrolling privileges.

“I have met with five total students who have dealt with this issue and that is far too many,” Mikoulinskii said.

The senate passed the resolution with a vote of 26-0-2.

Resolution 63-B-4 was introduced by Lauren Becker, director of the Student Office of Sustainability. The bill was meant to extend a contract with Xcel Energy providing blocks of renewable energy to sell to the university.

The blocks represent kilowatt-hours of renewable energy sold at a premium and Becker suggested a discussion take place to remain cognizant of the future costs of an extension of the contract.

The bill will be introduced at next week’s meeting to be voted on. 

Kristof can be reached at [email protected].