Student Senate amends eagle dome resolution 

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Student Senate amends eagle dome resolution 

Samantha Stroozas

Samantha Stroozas

Samantha Stroozas

Samantha Stroozas

Shane Summers, Student Government Reporter

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The University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Student Senate met on Wednesday April 3 and discussed several matters important to the university. First, after a general roll call, there was brief discussion of a resolution establishing a commission in preparation for the upcoming Student Senate elections, with few questions from senators.  

The second resolution was SA1819.041: Resolution Approving Referendum Language for Eagle Dome on the Spring Election Ballot. The resolution sought a yes or no answer from students on their support for “an inflatable dome [that] has been proposed to cover the football field from November to March (no longer than 180 days per year) in order to increase space available for academic and recreational activities.” 

It was authored by a variety of groups and individuals with an interest in the project, including Vice President Jurecki, Sen. Becker, Sen. Wears and Sen. Soeder and sponsored by the exercise and sport Science club, the UWL Football Team, SenSchock, and Sen. Lichtfuss. The proposed referendum would be non-binding and intended to gauge student opinion on the dome as UWL administrators contemplate the project.  

Senators generally agreed that most of their questions regarding the dome had been answered by an earlier presentation given by Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Bob Hetzel. Sen. Thering raised one question regarding the length of the resolution, especially the location of the information regarding cost.  

According to the resolution, it is estimated that the Eagle Dome will cost $2.65 million and is projected to open in fall 2020.” Paying for the dome would require an increase in student fees. The student segregated fee rate is currently $1,348 and would increase $26 to fund the Eagle Dome project beginning in the 2019-2020 school. 

However, Sen. Thering suggested this information was not sufficiently highlighted. “I’m not trying to minimize anything, in so much as prioritize organization,” he noted. “I’m more concerned people won’t even make it to how much [the dome] will cost.” This led to a motion to move the sentences regarding cost and fees to near the beginning of the resolution. Ultimately, senators decided to relocate this language within a section of bullet points in the resolution where other details of the dome are discussed.  

The Senate also voted on a motion to eliminate the proposed dome’s height and width requirements from the referendum details. Again, according to the resolution, “the dimensions would be 178 feet by 378 feet, standing at about 65 feet tall.” Some senators worried this was overly complicated and unnecessary information. However, the motion ultimately failed, with 76% of senators voting in favor of preserving the description for the purpose of transparency. 

Before adjourning the Senate discussed whether the non-binding nature of the referendum was appropriate. Senators wondered whether making the resolution non-binding would encourage conversation or disempower student voices. Sen Nielsen was the first to speak, saying “I like that it’s non-binding, just because it’s true that we have a fairly low turnout rate for voting.” Others agreed it would be inappropriate to make such a large decision affecting the student body in an election likely to have low turnout. 

Following this discussion, Senators were encouraged to attend “A Place at the Table” at Graff Main Hall, an event for Social Justice Week 2019 that focused on diversity and the importance of understanding marginalized voices.  

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