Student Senate

Free Speech Survey and legislation about live streaming and student organizations


The Student Senate meeting began at 6:03 p.m. on Monday.

Geoff Peterson, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and political science professor, gave a presentation with April Bleske-Rechek, psychology professor, and Eric Kasper, political science professor and director of the Menard Center for Constitutional Studies, about the Free Speech Survey. 

The research team is looking to identify a link between students’ attitudes on Free Speech and understanding of their freedom of speech, according to Bleske-Rechek.

Peterson said an earlier version of the survey leaked last spring and caused a public relations disaster because the research team thought the UW System was communicating with campuses, but the survey came as a surprise.

Several student governments in the UW System put forth motions telling students not to participate in the survey, including a letter written by the student body presidents on UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and UW-Madison, according to Peterson.

Peterson said the research team has responded to hundreds of comments from students and faculty, and he has been traveling to student governments to update them on the survey.

Bleske-Rechek said the survey will be open from Nov. 14 through Dec. 14 and campuses will have the opportunity to opt into the survey, and they are hoping to get at least 500 students from each campus to participate.

Communications Director Ivan San reintroduced resolution 66-R-3 in support of adding language about live streaming the meetings to the Student Senate Operating Procedures Document, which is part of the senate bylaws.

The bill was previously introduced at the meeting on Oct. 24, but was sent to the communications commission for review.

The original author of the bill, Senator Matthew Lehner, said he was fully in support of the changes the communications commission made.

“This will be good for our student body, it will be good to promote transparency and to include the students in the process,” Lehner said. “I’m excited to see this through and for other legislative sessions to implement and really take on.”

Resolution 66-R-3 passed with a vote of 28-0-2.

Student Organizations Director Bradford Heap reintroduced bill 66-B-6 for a new special allocation fund account of $3000 for the student organizations commission.

Heap said this funding is for student organizations on campus and it will be a great opportunity for new and reactivated student organizations to utilize.

Bill 66-B-6 passed with a vote of 27-0-3.

Heap also introduced resolution 66-R-5 to recognize new and reactivated student organizations. Heap said recognizing these organizations allows them to receive student segregated fees funding.

Resolution 66-R-5 passed with a vote of 26-0-3.

Spikeball Club, Child Life, Chemistry Student Safety Team, Adapted Activity Advocacy and Biomedical Engineering Society were recognized as new student organizations.

Badminton Club, Chess Club, College Democrats, Rod and Gun Club, Optimist Club, American Sign Language Honor Society, UWEC Curling Club, The Table Toppers, Concert Dance Company and Chinese Student and Scholar Association were reactivated as student organizations.

Director Brett Farmer said the university activities commission is hiring a concerts co-chair. Applications are open from Oct. 31 to Nov. 18 on Blugold Connect+.

Farmer said “Mamma Mia” will be shown, as part of the Campus Film Series, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3 in the Student Organization Complex and The Cabin will be hosting Tony Williams at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Several members of the senate came dressed in costumes because the meeting fell on Halloween, including San dressed as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Academic Affairs Director Sahana Suresh dressed as Olivia Rodrigo and Mascot Coordinator Kyle May as Blu.

Farmer, Finance Director Ben Johnson and Student Office of Sustainability Senate Director Sydney McGuine came as Waldo from “Where’s Waldo?”

“I’m very happy that everyone came in their costumes tonight, that was fun,” said President Rossellin Gaitan, who was dressed as grapes.

The senate adjourned at 6:51 p.m. and will reconvene at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7 in the Dakota Ballroom.

Kasper can be reached at [email protected].