Student Senate passed 5 bills in one night, condemned racist social media posts

Student representatives confirmed their legislative priority for the semester

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The third Student Senate meeting of the semester saw several presentations and multiple resolutions passed which condemned the recent racist Snapchat incident.

President Anna Ziebell started the meeting at 6:03 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15. 

Jacob Wrasse, UW-Eau Claire’s legislative and community relations liaison, first gave a presentation on how the Wisconsin state government interacts with the university system and how the university system gets the funding it requires to operate.

Wrasse said in every other odd-numbered year, the state legislature meets to pass the next two-year budget. He described the process the state legislature goes through, how negotiations take place and where the money for the UW system comes from. 

Kayde Langer, a fourth-year sociology student, then gave a presentation which called for the resignation of Chancellor James C. Schmidt and the rest of the university administration over an alleged lack of action against students involved in racist social media incidents. 

“White students are getting better education than people of color because we carry the burden of racism,” Langer said.

After the second presentation, Nikolaus Spittlemeister, a fourth-year business student, spoke on his proposal to make changes to the body and to further answer questions senators had.

The senate then passed a number of resolutions. 

First, Bill 64-B-5, “Organized Activity Reallocation Request of Budgeted Expenses,” was introduced. 

This bill is meant to reallocate funds that could not be used due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as travel. It will allow student organizations to find different ways to spend their allocated funds. The senate passed the bill with a vote of 24-0-2.

Next, the senate voted on 64-R-23, “In Support of Preferred Names to be Displayed More Frequently.”. This bill was introduced in order to be inclusive to those who identify outside gender norms.

“UWEC strives to foster an inclusive environment through support services, the LGBTQ Resource Center, Safe Space training and inclusive curriculum,” the bill read.

With a vote of 23-0-2, the resolution was passed.

64-R-24 was then passed with a vote of 24-0-2. The bill, entitled “In Condemnation of Recent Racist Events,” condemned another racist Snapchat incident by a UW-Eau Claire student. 

As reported by The Spectator, a student was found with racist material on his Snapchat account. 64-R-24 was meant to formally condemn such behavior. 

“This legislation is wonderful… but it is the bare minimum,” Senator Jacksen Wolff, a first-year political science student, said.

The bill was passed with a vote of 24-0-2.

Additionally, 64-R-25, “In Support of the Spring 2021 Legislative Priority Summary,” was introduced. The bill outlined the legislative agenda for the Student Senate this semester. 

The bill included the Senate’s commitment to the Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Initiative, a focus on student housing, the building of the Sonnentag Event and Recreation Complex and mental health advocacy.

The bill passed with a vote of 24-0-2.

Finally, Bill 64-R-26, “In Condemnation of Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans,” was introduced. The bill condemns hate crimes and the spike in hate crimes against the Asian American community due to people associating them with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the bill, a United Nations report claims over 1,800 racist incidents were reported in the 8 weeks between March and May of 2020.

Student Senate finalized the meeting after a vote on Bill 64-R-26. It passed 23-0-2.

Kristof can be reached at [email protected]