Student Senate passes bills in fourth meeting of the semester

Bills passed regard funding and mental health, and swears in four new senate officers

Avery Shanahan

More stories from Avery Shanahan

Police Blotter
November 24, 2021

Student Senate met for the fourth time and proposed several new bills, also passing a few prior ones.

The Feb. 22 meeting began with a presentation given by Catherine Chan, the executive director of the Office of Research and Sponsored programs. Chan presented on the National Undergraduate Research Conference taking place in 2023.

Chan said the goal of the presentation was to give an update to the student senate on planning the event and outline the leadership opportunities that will be available for students.

The senate then moved on to weekly reports where they heard updates on previous projects and descriptions on future bills and projects in the works from the different commission directors. 

Some of these reports included updates on the current state of the Computer Science Department, the creation of new service learning programs for students translating legislature and the addition of the suicide hotline number to student ID cards. 

The conclusion of the weekly reports was followed by the body voting on bill 64-B-5. This bill was reviewed by Trenton Phillipi, the director of Finance Commission, .

Philippi said there was funding for organized activities which the university was unable to spend due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill proposed reallocating those funds to different expenses for other areas of student organizations rather than going back to the University. 

“We really don’t want to see student dollars go to waste, we really want to see students be able to benefit from these expenses this year,” Phillipi said.

The body decided to pass bill 64-B-5, with a vote of 24-0-2.

The meeting then turned to the new bills proposed. The first bill proposal was 64-B-6 given by Lauren Becker, the director of the Student Office of Sustainability Commission. 

Becker proposed the Student Senate partner with local artists to help fund an art installation outside of the new UW-Eau Claire Welcome Center. The collaboration of the student senate would cover a third of the cost of the installation. 

The body will vote on the bill during the meeting next week. 

The next piece of legislation introduced was a call for faculty and administration to implement mental health initiatives in the absence of spring break.

64-R-27 calls for professors to reduce the workload of students the week of March 22-26 in order for students to take time for better mental health practices. Proposed practices include extending assignment deadlines and excusing absences due to mental health concerns. 

Bill 64-R-27 was passed with an overwhelming majority vote of 24-0-2, with only President Ziebell and Vice President Joe Murphy abstaining.

The senate now includes four additional members. Zach Weertz, Aidan Voon, Dakota Bokath and Charlie Flatten were sworn in as senators at the conclusion of the meeting.

Shanahan can be reached at [email protected].