The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Senate supports commencement gowns color change and student opinions on BCDT

Bylaws amendments and SOC allocation fund to be voted on at next meeting

The Student Senate began with an update on the transit bill from Finance and Administration Interim Vice Chancellor Tracy Drier, who said the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents asked UW-Eau Claire to revisit recently approved segregated fee negotiations. 

The Regents decided segregated fees cannot be increased by more than 10% from the previous year, and UW-Eau Claire had a 27% increase from last year. Drier said negotiations will continue between the city of Eau Claire and the Universities of Wisconsin. 

“We’re paying the most in the state for local transit,” Student Body President Brett Farmer said. “We’re already paying plenty, maybe we don’t need to pay more.”

Student Senator Lauren Garbisch introduced 6-R-15 “In Support of Changing Undergraduate Commencement Wear to Reflect Blugold Spirit” alongside Senator RJ Murray, who has been working with the commencement team and university supplier Jostins. 

Garbisch said the change will provide no additional cost and will “increase school spirit on campus.”

“I think we have a pretty significant Blugold spirit on campus, so I think it’s kind of confusing for students when they get their commencement robes and they’re black,” Farmer said. 

Currently, only UW-Madison and UW-Lacrosse have non-black robes. Murray and Garbisch conducted a poll among students, which showed support for the initiative. 

The poll results from student opinions on graduation robe color. (Photo used with permission from Lauren Garbisch)

The resolution passed 29-0-2. The change will occur during the 2024-2025 academic year, along with the commencement locale changing from Zorn Arena to the Sonnentag Event Center in the soon-to-be-completed County Materials Complex.

“It’s monumental with this switch to Sonnentag, just the fact that it happened at the same time is really cool,” Farmer said. 

Academic Affairs Commission Director Colin Rafter introduced 67-R-16 “In Support of Student Opinion in Blugold Commitment Differential Tuition.” Blugold Commitment Differential Tuition is an “investment in high impact learning” funding programs like the Civil Rights Pilgrimage, Blugold Seminar and the University Honors Program

This bill came as a direct response to the UW System ending a policy requiring student review over the differential tuition that students pay. This systemic issue does not address the different allocations between the universities of this tuition. 

“They don’t have BCDT at other universities.” Farmer said. “So in our unique circumstance, I think it’s really important and it is different than at other universities because this was something that students kind of fought for and created, and so to continue it [has to] be in the hands of the students.”

The resolution passed a unanimous 28-0-2.

Student Organization Commission intern Tia Beirne introduced 67-B-6 “Adopting the 2024-2025 Student Organization Fund Allocation” to budget for the following academic year for all 57 organizations that applied for the fund. 

Tia Beirne introduces Student Organization Allocation Fund. (Photo by Mady Leick)

In total, SOC allocated $36,670, but $77,523 was requested. Some organizations, like the mock trial team, only received 25% of what they requested. This difference is due to an increase in demand, compared to the last few years. 

Finally, Farmer introduced 67-B-7 “Adoption of New University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Student Senate Bylaws.” The new bylaws were written by Farmer, Vice President Sam Consiglio, Personnel Director Lily Eisele and Parliamentarian Luke Mandli. 

There will be an open forum available to the public to discuss bylaws changes at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 29, in Centennial Hall 1924.

Both the SOC allocation bill and bylaws bill will be voted on at the next meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 2 in Centennial Hall 2016. 

Leick can be reached at [email protected].  

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