Senate meeting votes on resolutions and discusses criminal justice

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Senate meeting votes on resolutions and discusses criminal justice

Shane Summers

Shane Summers

Shane Summers

Shane Summers

Shane Summers, Student Government Reporter

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The Student Senate met on Wednesday, April 10. It began with guest speaker Sen. Isaac Tahiri, County Board Supervisor for District 5. He gave an informational presentation on the local justice system that included an overview of county jail capacity as well as the makeup of the prison population and pending concerns. 

Sen. Tahiri reported that 191 inmates are in the county jail, the majority being male. He noted that of this population “there was a concerning 55% recidivism rate.”  Following the discussion of the jail, Sen. Tahiri also discussed the juvenile justice system. Sen. Tahiri cited a study that said black youths are “7.75 times likely to come into contact with the justice system,” which he called “disproportionately high” for La Crosse county.  

Sen. Tahiri discussed reforming the philosophy of the justice system, briefly discussing the school-to-prison pipeline and possible steps to mitigate crime before prosecution, explaining there was “a collaborative effort” to lower the disproportionate targeting of minorities. As far as criminal justice, Sen. Tahiri called La Crosse “ahead of the curve,” but said the juvenile minority contact system would need to be addressed. 

President O’Connell updated the Senate on a bill allowing “[Segregated] fees payable on a per credit basis as opposed to everyone paying the same amount” and discussed a representative meeting on inclusivity at University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Vice President Jurecki followed. She discussed a Navigate demonstration, what would potentially be replacing WINGS, that she and Pres. O’ Connell had attended. She called the new advising system “user friendly” and “clear and concise,” saying that it “set a very hopeful tone moving forward.”  

Chief of Staff Marinack discussed meeting with Victor Hill the Director of Parking and Transportation at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, discussing parking prices and better signage for the commuter lots.  

Local Affairs Director Seifert gave an overview of the La Crosse Fair Housing Report. The report found that 42% of residents do not understand fair housing rights, and that significant racial disparities exist in access to housing by income level.  

Sustainability Director Wolfe also discussed the Green Fund Ad Hoc Committee, as well as the expansion of nitrile glove recycling in the Prairie Springs Science Center. 

Following the reports there were votes on two resolutions the Senate had discussed in prior sessions. First the Resolution to Appoint the Spring Election Commission passed with 96% of the vote following brief questioning. The Resolution Approving Referendum Language for an Eagle Dome on the Spring 2019 Election Ballot, which the Senate had earlier debated and amended, passed unanimously. 

Senate discussed SA1819-043: Resolution to Recommend the Creation of a Deactivated Course List. Authored by Senators Thering and Nielsen and sponsored by Senators Kelly, Cayo, Neader, McCauley, McLain, Micech, Horstman, Wiza, and Fisher. The Resolution would create a deactivated course list for courses that have not been taught for at least five years. 

Sen. Silva expressed concerns about the idea, saying the list would be “too long and would not be useful.”  

Following the discussion of Resolution 43, the Senate moved on to SA1819-044: Resolution in Support of UW-La Crosse’s Capital Building Projects. Authored by John Lawlis and sponsored by the Legislative Affairs Committee and Senators Becker, Cayo, Horstman, Woodmansee, Kallis, and Thering. It supports Gov. Evers capital plan for “Prairie Springs Science Center Phase II, renovations to Coate Hall/Stanford Hall, a new field house and Soccer Support Facility, and a renovation for Graff Main Hall’s HVAC system.”  

The Senate suspended the two-week rule to vote on the resolution at the current meeting. Sen. Kallis pushed for an addition to the resolution voicing support for accessible gender-neutral restrooms in these renovations, which received unanimous support. The full resolution passed unanimously. 

 

 

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