Resolution passes in favor of United Council reform

After over an hour and a half of debate and two proposed amendments, the Student Senate passed a resolution recommending positive reformation of the United Council with a placard vote of 17-9.

The resolution was authored by Sen. Tyrel Zich, who said that some reform and dialogue of the United Council is necessary to better represent UW-Eau Claire and the UW System.

Vice President Mark Morgan said the way United Council is doing things now is not working, citing $250 million budget cuts and the disappearance of tuition caps as proof.

“We need a more effective group to ensure that in the long run, all the strategies try to turn back this tide of continuing cuts to higher education,” Morgan said.

Morgan said a more proactive, effective and long-term lobbying strategy is necessary to see changes. He also said that the people lobbying must be professional, and have connections to both parties, something that United Council doesn’t currently have.

One of the biggest changes recommended by the resolution is to give Student Representatives more oversight over the governing board of United Council, something Sen. April Ross said she was concerned about.

“I’m a little wary of the idea of using an organization like Student Reps where non-members of United Council can have oversight over the United Council,” she said.

If Student Representatives had more control there would be representatives of all the UW schools and some have opted out of being a part of United Council. Twenty-one out of 26 are members of United Council, she said.

Morgan said he didn’t think non-member campuses would be an issue.

Morgan said he believed there were more than enough safegaurds on Student Representatives to make sure that non-United Council members didn’t overpower member campuses on United Council issues.

“Overall, Reps are a far more democratic organization and more broadly representative of the student body across the UW System,” he said.

Morgan proposed the first amendment of the evening by adding that the two United Council members arrested in a protest at Sallie Mae headquarters in Washington, D.C., on March 27 should issue a formal apology, with the recommendation that no disciplinary action should be taken.

He said these actions during the protest were unprofessional and harmed lobbying efforts in Washington.

United Council Vice President Dylan Jambrek said that United Council wasn’t affected by the arrests and that they were the equivalent of traffic violations arrests.

“The arrests didn’t actually affect our lobbying efforts,” he said. “I spoke cordially and effectively with multiple legislators.”

Morgan’s amendment was an issue for some senators, who said it seemed like calling out and attacking specific people. It was passed by a placard vote of 14-10.

Sen. Steven Van De Laarschot proposed a second amendment to strike from the resolution that it should be sent to the state legislators. The amendment was voted down 17-8.

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