Student pushes for changes in student senate

Student proposes wide-scale changes to the structure of student senate


Student Senate passed multiple bills and a student called for change to the structure of the senate at the group’s most recent meeting. 

President Anna Ziebell began the second meeting of Student Senate at 6:02 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8. 

Nikolaus Spittlemeister, a fourth-year business student, gave a presentation about various bigoted incidents that have taken place on campus and the ability of student senate to combat them.

Spittlemeister said although UW-Eau Claire has a progressive student body with a history of being active in change, there needed to be a greater effort in reducing the amount of bigotry on campus. 

After explaining why he was there, Spittlemeister called for a separation of powers within Student Senate. He said there should be a difference in the directors who lead various commissions who are appointed by the president and senators who are elected by the student body.

Spittlemeister also called for an 11 seat increase to the Student Senate body. He said this would lower the student to senator ratio and help the student body as a whole. He also called for the senate to allot seats for various colleges and identity groups.

“Why are we denying students from participating in Student Senate?” he said.

Spittlemeister also called for greater representation of LGBTQ students in Student Senate, saying there are too many cisgender and white people voting on things like where segregated fees go and what they pay for. 

“I seek change within Student Senate because people’s experiences, perspectives and ideas are very valuable and when we omit them because of systematic barriers people will start to lose interest,” Spittlemeister said. “This is not only a disservice to the student body but also ourselves.” 

After taking questions, Ziebell gave her weekly report and she said she spoke in favor of the local mask mandate ordinance which was recently passed by the City of Eau Claire. 

Ziebell also announced the executive board of the student senate has moved the election process for Student Senate forward two weeks, with petitions to run for office being due Friday, April 2.

The senate then introduced Bill 64-R-20. The bill showed support for a mask mandate in the City of Eau Claire. The mandate comes after Wisconsin Republicans voted to remove the state-wide mandate. The bill was passed with a vote of 25-0-2.

Bill 64-R-21 was then introduced for a vote. The bill showed support for increased antigen testing on campus for off-campus students. After a discussion of the bill, it was passed with a vote of 24-0-3.

Finally, 64-R-22 was introduced and showed support for UW-Eau Claire’s policy on travel and its relation to travel. Following CDC guidelines, the policy suggests not making any unnecessary travel or spending time with people who may have or have been exposed to COVID-19. The bill passed with a vote of 24-1-2.

Kristof can be reached at [email protected].