Candidates promise change

Story by Dylan Jambrek and Phil Rynish

The past year in student government has been, without a doubt, one of the most important in Student Senate history. Here is just a sampling of the huge issues Senate took on this year: the Blugold Commitment debate, the Council Oak Tree issue, the construction projects of Davies, Brewer Hall and the Children’s Center, and opening segregated fees to student organizations.

This year was only the beginning.

In discussion of a potential run for the presidency and vice presidency, we discussed what we really wanted to see Student Senate be able to do. All in all, we were fed up with hearing, “You can’t do that.”

Wisconsin, unlike many other states, grants students unmatched authority at each UW school. State Statute 36.09(5) states that “… students shall have the primary responsibility for the formulation and review of policies concerning student life, services and interests.” We look to use this statute to its fullest and erase the idea of “can’t” from the student government’s vocabulary.

We seek to use Student Senate as a means to truly improve student life on campus. We will address things like restoring our general access computer labs, preserving student parking, seeking a student solution to the mascot issue and ensuring all Blugold Commitment money is spent in a restrained, responsible way that works for students, not for administrator’s pet projects.

All too often, students, despite being the overwhelming majority on campus, are dismissed and ignored as children. This perception must end. The huge amount of authority senate has claimed over the last year must now be maximized and used to ensure that students’ needs are considered. This isn’t to say we will always be combative with administrators, staff and professors. More often than not, a peaceable compromise can be made that works for everyone. Sometimes, however, despite student concession and discussion, we continue to be ignored. This is when strong leadership is required to say “no” to people who aren’t accustomed to hearing it.

The student government now has the tools to make the promise of 36.09(5) a reality. Students will be, for the first time, voting directly on faculty hires for academic departments. Students will be directly deciding the priorities of huge parts of our education, like internships, capstones and research. Student organizations will finally have real access to the support offered by their own fees. Moreover, since the administration must now ask students for funding for their proposals, the power structure has fundamentally changed. Now they make concessions to us, not the other way around. These gains, however, can only happen with the right style of leadership.

Jambrek has spent his career in Senate demanding student gains. His first resolution written in his freshman year was to demand student oversight over the Student Organizations Complex redesign. The meetings held for this redesign of a student space in a student center were held in the early morning, before students come to campus, and largely ignored our input. What was more disturbing is that fellow Student Senators disagreed with him that students should have had oversight over the project, and the resolution failed. Since then, Jambrek has been working to ensure students are at every meeting, with a voice and, more importantly, a vote.

Rynish, a sophomore, has been in student government since the very beginning of his college career, and he has made a substantial impact in that time. As Organizations Director, he has been a relentless voice for student organizations. Facilities, Planning and Management was starting to charge student organizations for “lit drops,” or placing paper advertisements for events in classrooms, a legitimate means of reaching students. Thankfully, after much discussion and resistance, Rynish has been able to change this policy and ensure that there is no fine for free speech.

If elected as your president and vice president, we pledge to be tireless advocates for the student voice and student power on all levels of not only the university, but the city, state and country. We chose a lightning bolt as our logo for a reason. It may seem trite, but we truly plan on using these positions as a way of harnessing the potential power students could hold to determine their own futures. If you would like to know more about our platform, please visit our Facebook group “Dylan Jambrek and Phil Rynish for Student Body President and VP.” Please vote in the Student Senate elections next week. Even though we are running unopposed, there are many senator positions that are not. The people that are elected next week will be charged with representing you, the students, for the next year. Upon election, we look forward to a productive year of student gains that will benefit UW-Eau Claire for years to come.

Jambrek, a senior political science major, is finance commission direct for Student Senate and a candidate for student body president.

Rynish, a sophomore biology major, is organizations commission director for Student Senate and a candidate for student body vice president.