Student Senate reform adds more inclusion

Fifteen new positions added to Student Senate in addition to the changes to the constitutions and bylaws


The Student Senate has worked over the last four weeks of the semester to update their bylaws and amend their constitution. These new ideas will showcase their new voice. The Student Senate now has fifteen new voting positions, in addition to the thirty sitting senators.

“We have a young senate,” student body president Lucas Frey said. “We have individuals that thankfully were on the executive board their freshmen year and got the guidance from the last [Student Senate]. It was these last vestiges of what was and we understood that well enough to know why a couple of things were in there. But, were not seniors. We have the capability to look at what we’re doing as an organization, and then change it but we also have that ability because we are so young to see it through.”

The senate was traditionally apportioned based on college. They have kept the traditional college student senators but have now expanded the groups and topics student senators represent. In addition to the senators for the College of EMS, BILSA, LAE and School of Graduate Studies, the Student Senate now has senators that cover the following topics: International Students, Transfer Students, Commuter Students, Women in Higher Education, Multicultural, Active Military, Veteran’s Advocacy, Employed Students, Contemporary Students, Gender and Sexuality, Students with Disabilities, Victim’s Advocate, First Year Students, First Generation Students and Sustainability.

“We are really huge on inclusive and diversity, that’s something we campaigned on. Representation is a funny thing because you elect your representations to represent you but who better to represent you than you,” Frey said.

These members will have full membership rights and responsibilities. All students are eligible to become an advocacy student senator regardless of their affiliation.

“I believe the reform will greatly improve Student Senate,” Student Senate director of marketing & engagement Alexandra Smith said. “By having fifteen new seats with specialized duties, we will be able to advocate on behalf of underrepresented students. Through the advocacy seats, I hope the underrepresented groups will feel more comfortable sharing their student voice and concerns.”

Another new addition is that students that want to participate in Student Senate will no longer have their GPA screened. This previous requirement was observed from any student applying and use to require that senators have a 2.0. Students now are only required to be participating in a program at the university that produces academic credit to be eligible to apply for a Student Senate position. Another edition to the new requirements is that applicants no longer need signatures to apply to senate.

“You will go through an interview process designed to educate you on what it means to be a student senator before the Student Senate elects. The traditional all-university election is still the primary means of election,” Frey said in an email.

The senate has also placed an emphasis on students writing legislation. Any student may write a resolution to propose policy to the Chancellor but a student needs a Student Senator to bring it to the floor at senate. Members of the Student Senate are available to help educate those interested in writing a resolution using the proper writing policy.

“This achievement is the product of many late nights consisting of tireless debate and inquiry by Student Senators,” said Frey. “It is through these new guidelines we hope to strengthen student governance at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.”