Elizabeth Kaiser graphic
UW-Platteville’s Student Senate met via Zoom on April 19 at 5 p.m. The meeting was opened by President Ben Behlke with introducing the guests. These guests were Dominick Perry and Nate Cross, for the SUFAC election, and David Kieckhafer, the Admission and Academic Appeals Committee’s Registrar.
Kieckhafer attended the meeting to inform the Student Senate that the registration fee, per semester of $25, is being raised to $35 starting Fall 2021, a change which was proposed to be implemented in Fall 2020. The registrar functions use that money, and budget changes were made to accommodate those needs. In addition, the textbook rental fee is going down by $15.
A motion of approval for the previous meeting minutes was moved by Senator Samuel Behm and seconded by Senator Caleb Besson.
Moving on to student body concerns, Senator Daniel Piotrowski said that a student came to him with concerns over a new fee tied to their engineering degree and was worried this opened the gate to more fees. Chief of Staff Zachary Adams asked when conversation over the fee began, since none of the senate knew much about it and most of the student body will be impacted. With the senate having limited information on the topic, Angela Udelhofer, the Vice-Chancellor of the Enrollment and Student Success Division, interjected, saying she did not have much information, but would find more.
In a comment to the Exponent about this fee, Molly Gribb, Dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science, said, “The Chancellor, Provost, Dean Weber and I met with Faculty Senate on April 12 and answered every question that was asked at that time. In the weeks before that meeting, each affected program had informational sessions for students on the proposed changes and details. We also came to Faculty Senate last spring to discuss this issue. I am surprised to hear that the senators didn’t know anything about it until last night.”
This is a new tuition rate for students seeking degrees in engineering, computer science, cybersecurity and construction management. This is to “ensure continued high-quality instruction and educational experiences for students in these programs,” according to Gribb. The increase is $700 per semester for each full-time student and the Board is hoping it will be applied in Fall 2022, but it has not yet been approved.
Chief of Staff Adams continued the meeting by discussing the need to approve the constitution revisions a second time for them to take effect. These included minor revisions such as punctuation, technicalities and grammar issues. Senator Jackson Richman moved to approve the revisions, seconded by Senator Behm.
The changes to the bylaws, including technicalities and wording, were tabled after a motion by Senator Piotrowski that was seconded by Senator Ryan Jenewein.
Director of Student Organizations Brandon Snyder brought up topics for continued approval of two processes by the senate. These included Overwatch and the Association of Women in Agriculture Organizations. Senator Korducki and Senator Jenewein moved to approve the processes, seconded by Senator Behm and Senator Piotrowski.
Under new business, President Behlke touched on the Andrew Goodman Foundation Ad-hoc Committee.
“It’s basically a lot of what the legislative affairs committee does … getting people registered to vote, educating students … so we thought it would be a good idea to put it under the Student Senate for now,” said Behlke.
Many questions were brought up around it being an ad-hoc committee, the purpose of the Student Legislative Committee if an ad-hoc committee exists and more.
Vice President Kurstin Frey said, “We would like this to be a committee to encourage outside commitment from students and allow us to maintain a status as a part of a student organization to be able to table and gather student support. We are working to become an organization … and get more members over the summer. AGF would like us to eventually be a separate organization in the fall … We have concerns about only student senators or other student government reps being the only members, which is why it would be better as an ad-hoc … AGF would be a subcommittee in SLC. This means not all SLC members necessarily have to be involved and not all ad-hoc members have to be SLC or senate members.”
After ten minutes of discussion, the senate moved forward to the Segregated University Fee Allotment Committee’s Commissioner Appointments, led by Director of Financial Affairs Ian Seidler. The Student Senate, which is able to elect three SUFAC members, brought in two candidates. Perry and Cross were elected through a motion led by Senator Holcomb and seconded by Senator Besson.
To conclude, advisor Lisa Kratz encouraged the Student Senate to look at the COVID-19 vaccine options and motivate the student body to do so as well. She also mentioned, for students staying on campus this summer, that the Markee will be undergoing an extensive repair project, so the lower level will be mostly cut off.