Senate seeks to form statewide student governance

Senators discussed Hindu Heritage Month, critical race theory

Bridget Kelley

More stories from Bridget Kelley

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The Student Senate welcomed members of other student governments to UW-Eau Claire this Monday at the general assembly meeting.

Will Scheder, the UW-Stevens Point student body president, presented at the beginning in support of statewide student governance. In the past, there have been several groups of UW System-wide student governments, such as the United Council, which “went dormant” in 2016.

Every campus will pass the same resolution and ratify a constitution and bylaws. This body will ask the UW System to support the body. Scheder is hoping this measure will be off the ground by Fall 2022. 

This timing coincides with both the gubernatorial election, as well as the Wisconsin State Legislature’s biennial budget. Scheder says he hopes this will facilitate the formation of this body.

Jaden Mikoulinskii, the UW-Eau Claire Student Body president, brought Resolution 65-R-14 in support of statewide student governance to the floor.

UW-Eau Claire hopes to host a student government symposium at the end of Winterim to discuss the creation of the new governmental body.

Mikoulinskii said this topic will be brought to the Senate in the form of a bill if the shared student governance is created.

Bailey Carruthers, the Intergovernmental Affairs director, brought Resolution 65-R-13 to the floor.

This resolution was in condemnation of Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 411. This bill, which passed the Wisconsin State Assembly on party lines, aims to prohibit the teaching of anti-racism and anti-sexism ideologies in both Wisconsin public K-12 and charter schools. 

Many Student Senators spoke in support of the condemnation of the bill, citing the history of UW-Eau Claire as a Normal School and advocating for teachers, as well as the importance of protecting children and their identities. 

Mengcha Moua, the Equity in Student Matters director and co-author of this resolution, said many Senators felt their identities were being attacked by this bill.

Another bill in the Wisconsin State Legislature, Assembly Bill 413, aims to apply these same ideas on “critical race theory” to the UW System and Technical College System. This bill has not been brought to the Assembly as it is still in the committee stages.

Carruthers said this condemnation sets a precedent and will send a message to state legislators, who will receive a copy of the resolution.

This bill passed by a vote of 25-0-2. Read more about this bill here.

The Senate discussed Bill 65-B-1, which was discussed at last week’s meeting. This bill aims to provide subsidies for off-campus composting to students. A motion to table the bill for one week passed the Senate body. 

Elizabeth TenBarge, the Director of the Academic Affairs Commission, brought Bill 65-B-2 to the floor, which was also discussed last week. This bill moves to create a committee on Blugold Commitment Differential Tuition. 

This committee would provide training members to vet proposals for the BCDT spending plan. This spending plan for the next year requires the approval of the Senate. 

Per the Senate bylaws, this committee will need to be an ad hoc committee — a committee formed for a particular purpose. Carruthers moved to amend the title of the bill to include that it is an ad hoc committee, in order to pass the bill and meet as soon as possible. This amendment passed the body. 

The bill passed the Senate with a vote of 25-0-2.

Maddie Loeffler, Student Office of Sustainability director, brought Resolution 65-R-11 to the floor, which outlines the priorities of the Student Office of Sustainability for this semester. These priorities are sustainable housing, advocacy and education and outreach. 

This resolution passed by a vote of 25-0-2.

Senator Manushri Ivaturi introduced Resolution 65-R-12 in celebration of Hindu Heritage Month. October is recognized by 15 states as Hindu Heritage Month.

This resolution passed by a vote of 25-0-2.

There was a motion to move the Director’s Reports to the meeting minutes, which passed the body. However, some Directors choose to share their reports during the announcement period.

Nick Johnson, Finance Commission director, announced the finance commission will be deliberating on student organization budget proposals Tuesday. 

Moua said that in his meeting with Provost Patricia Kleine, he was informed that adding celebrational and honorary days to the university calendar would pose some logistical issues, but that she supports the formation of a specific calendar for these dates.

The meeting adjourned at 7:58 p.m.

The 65th Session general assembly will reconvene at their standing meeting time at 6 p.m. next Monday, Oct. 25 in the Dakota Ballroom.

Kelley can be reached at [email protected]