Elizabeth Kaiser graphic
On Monday, April 12, the university’s Student Senate held its weekly meeting. The discussion began on the introduction of a proposed fee for engineering students, which had been discussed in other forums previously.
“Every other engineering institution in the UW System has an additional charge for engineering, basically because it’s a very expensive discipline to deliver, both in terms of equipment and in attracting and retaining faculty,” Chancellor Dennis J. Shields explained, “We’re the least funded, one way to describe it, or at least the lowest cost engineering program I think across the upper Mid-west, certainly in the UW system. In effect, what happens is that engineering is subsidized by all of the other disciplines’ tuition across campus. It’s very difficult to maintain.”
EMS Dean Molly Gribb was then brought forward to elaborate, re-porting that “This low tuition and the lack of a program means that we are really limited on a number of things that we would like to provide for you … One of the goals of this funding is to be able to hire the new faculty and staff that we need as time goes on, as well as retain the truly awesome faculty and staff we already have.”
Concerns shared by some of the senators in attendance included the effect this was going to have on retention of students in the engineering program, overall enrollment of our university as compared to others, how this move would affect engineering minors, and how it would affect other colleges within UW-Platteville. For students concerned about the proposed fee, those in attendance were recommended to email the dean or chancellor directly, or to email their department chairs about this matter.
The senators also discussed revisions to the Student Senate’s constitution. Changes related to misplaced punctuation and capitalization and renaming certain positions and committees within the Senate. Similar changes were proposed for the student bylaws – including “diversity and inclusion” being changed to “diversity, equity and inclusion,” – rephrasing clauses to include more of the student body.
Of note is a change to 21.03(b)(ii) which means that those affected by a proposed resolution will be directly contacted by the Chancellor regarding this. The proposed change also adds 21.04(b)(iii), which states the Student Senate will be informed of a resolution’s status and provided contact information for those involved within 30 days of the Chancellor receiving the resolution.
The Renewable Revolution Resolution was then discussed. According to the UW-Platteville Sustainability Office, the university is producing 30,000 metric tons of CO2 a year, and nearly 90 percent of all energy produced for the university is sourced from fossil fuels. With the potential for a climate crisis in the coming years, the Renewable Revolution Resolution is meant to lay the groundwork for transitioning the university to 100 percent renewable energy within three years. The Student Senate will be voting on this matter in their next meeting, and hope to potentially have the Chancellor sign the RRR resolution alongside the Zero Waste Initiative resolution during the university’s Earth Day celebration if it should come to pass.