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Jennifer Shilling Visits Student Senate to Discuss Assembly Bills Important to UWL

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Jennifer Shilling Visits Student Senate to Discuss Assembly Bills Important to UWL

April Wolford

April Wolford

April Wolford

April Wolford, Student Government Reporter

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Jennifer Shilling visited the Student Senate this past Wednesday, March 28, to discuss various senator concerns and updates. Topics discussed include two state assembly bills which would affect the way that the university system allocates power in decision-making to students and faculty in the university system as well as the atmosphere following the political climate the past two years.

A question from Senator Kallis about the restoration of shared governance revealed a proposed state assembly bill which would restore shared governance for the UW system. This restoration would return shared governance to its condition prior to the 2015-2017 biennial budget act.

Currently, under provisions of the 2015-2017 biennial budget act, the chancellor is assigned the responsibility of implementing and designating Board of Regents’ decisions. Also under these provisions, faculty senate, the academic council, and student senate act more as advisors to the chancellor than they do as decision makers.

Under the new bill, university senates and councils would play more of an active role in decision-making. The bill has been introduced to the Senate and directed to the Committee on Colleges and Universities.

Senator Shilling expressed her desire to move forward with the proposed bill but was also concerned with whether it would pass under Governor Walker.

There is another state assembly bill which would change the way that students are elected to the Board of Regents. Currently, student members of the Board of Regents are selected by the governor at the recommendation of university student senates. Under the changes, the governor would be required to selected student members in relation to student senate recommendations.

Senator Shilling supported this bill as well.

In closing, Senator Shilling gave student senate advice for how to discuss controversial topics in a respectful and productive way in the wake of the divided political climate the past two years. In her advice, Shilling stated that “we need to be better listeners to one another” in an attempt to create “reflective communities that serve and make the best public policy.”

Ultimately, Shilling stated that it wasn’t as much about agreeing with each other, but more about having supportive climates “where we can disagree.”

Senator Shilling is expected to discuss UW system restructuring as well as shared governance at the State of the System Open Forum on April 4 from 2-3:30, held in 3314 in the Student Union.

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