Student Senate does not pass constitutional remodel

Bills on land acknowledgement and nonbinary gender language in constitution pass but a bill for altering the entirety of the constitution fails

Avery Shanahan

More stories from Avery Shanahan

Police Blotter
November 24, 2021

This week, the senate voted to implement new language and land acknowledgement in the constitution, but voted against changing the constitution in its entirety. 

The meeting began at 6:09 p.m. with a presentation from the University Planning Committee Strategic Plan. MJ Brukardt, executive director of marketing and planning, discussed the university’s strategic plan for 2025. 

Brukardt said they received feedback from the student senate as well as the student body on including more EDI and sustainability initiatives to the 2025 strategic plan. 

“Our new plan calls for distinction around health and human well being,” Brukardt said. “We think it also reflects our true goal which is interdisciplinary connections across colleges in support of human health and well being.” 

The presentation was then followed by the open forum section of the agenda, which included two speakers this week.

Nikolaus Spittlemeister offered clarification on the bill 64-B-9 which was introduced at last week’s meeting. The bill proposes several new amendments and changes to the current student senate constitution. 

Spittlemeister said the bill represents a student petition and shared what the proposed amendments will be when the bill is reintroduced later in the meeting. 

The next open forum speaker was Jeremy Gragert, a city council representative from district three. Gragert discussed upcoming plans that the city council is working on, including renewable energy strategies.

Gragert also said he wanted more student involvement and identification of students who want to work with the city council. 

“One of the ideas I have to help students get more involved in the community and help governance in the city is to open up more seats on our commissions and committees for students,” Gragert said.

Following open forum, the student body president, vice president, chief of staff and all of the current commission directors each gave reports.

These reports include updates on upcoming events as well as updates of current affairs happening within each commission. 

The body then moved to the unfinished business portion of the agenda. Three of the bills introduced last week were reintroduced and voted on during this time. 

Both bills 64-B-7 and 64-B-8 were voted on and passed with an overwhelming majority. 

Bill 64-B-7 proposing adding the emergency clause, gender nonbinary language and the land acknowledgement into the student senate constitution. This bill passed with a vote of 27-0-2. 

Bill 64-B-8 proposed allocating unused travel expenses, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, into the music department’s permanent property fund. This allocation would allow for the department to purchase more instruments for students. This bill passed with a vote of 28-0-2. 

The senate then moved to new business where one resolution and one bill were proposed. 

Resolution 64-R-35 suggested a student laptop accessibility program. Introduced by Senator Brett Swanson, the resolution would provide every incoming student a university laptop based on their field of study. 

The resolution addresses concerns of students having access to proper software and technology for their required courses. Although there was debate on cost effectiveness of the proposed program, the resolution was passed with a 13-12-2 vote. 

The final piece of legislation, 64-B-10 was introduced by Trenton Phillippi, Commission Director of finance. UW-Eau Claire Culture Core is requesting the reallocation of their travel expenses to be directed to their services and supplies fund. 

Philippi said Culture Core wants to use the reallocated funds to host a virtual Hmong speaker as well as virtual workshops.

The bill will be reintroduced and voted on in next week’s meeting. 

Shanahan can be reached at [email protected].