Student Senate addresses parking, renewable energy, and welcomes guest speakers


UWL Student Association Facebook Page

Luis Acosta Jr., Student Government Reporter

The student senate for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse met on Oct. 2, 2019, where they invited a guest speaker and reiterated past resolution proposals.

Rep. Justice Weaver, representative of the fifth district, presented in front of the senate, reiterating issues that were discussed in last week’s hearings by the supervisor of the fifth district Isaac Tahiri. He spoke of sponsoring an initiative for 100 percent renewable energy for the La Crosse energy by 2050. Rep. Weaver, who is 21 years old, could see the fruition of the plan happening when he’s around 50 years old. Weaver also spoke briefly about a plan for a historical and cultural museum planning task force to enter into a “professional service contract” with a UWL terms and research institute but had nothing more to say on the matter.

Weaver also discussed the parking issue plaguing the senate and the campus area, informing the association that the city council has very little power on this issue, as they’ve passed these responsibilities over to La Crosse Public Works.

President Sita Agterberg discussed the previously mentioned parking issue, as she met with the UWL parking director Victor Hill. Regarding concerns surrounding snow, shovels are available in residence halls for the convenience of students if they ever need one. For the uncovered fourth level of the parking ramp on campus, not much can be done to secure the visibility of the parking lines; some options are being discussed, one of which being the use of calcium chloride, as it breaks the bond between concrete surfaces and ice, ultimately melting snow back into water.

Raising the hourly pay-for-parking fee that’s forcing commuter pass owners out of spots was also discussed between Agterberg and Hill, from one dollar to a dollar fifty. This may not end up happening, as the university doesn’t want students to overpay for parking. Agterberg made sure to point out the importance of thoroughly searching all parking lots, as there tends to be some hidden spots where students may not be looking.

Larry Ringgenberg, Director for University Centers at UWL, thoroughly explained AIDAC (Academic Initiative Allocations Committee), whose first meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 8. In 2002 UWL entered the differential tuition market, which is defined as “an additional semester charge that pays for educational enhancements to the undergraduate student in teacher preparation degree plans within a college.” This model supports students who look for returns on their education costs, resulting in a high number of STEM programs and advanced advising methods, while also helping pay for strong diversity programs and recruitment. Upon the university agreeing to this tuition model, UWL decided that the AIDAC fund should be at the control of the student body “as much as possible” according to Ringgenberg. “It works,” says Ringgenberg, listing off the many other benefits of the fund, from extra library hours, special tutoring, violence prevention, the instillation of campus climate, among other thing. The program costs $1 million.

Vice President Nielsen addressed the lack of resolutions on the agenda for this week’s meeting. Nielsen explained how important it is for senators to consistently practice resolution writing and discernment. “I would like to prevent this in the future. If we don’t have resolutions on the agenda that means we are not doing our jobs,” said Nielsen.

Chief of Staff Moralez attended the faculty senate last Thursday, who brought in Ingrid Peterson, UWL’s Violence Prevention Specialist. Moralez expressed his surprise on how little some professors knew the steps of mandated reporting of sexual misconduct, as well as how to “go about” sexual misconduct in general. Chancellor Joe Gow was also in attendance, where he was asked if he or the administration had any commitment to changing the reporting process of sexual harassment on campus so that these situations don’t happen again, to which he gave no “clear-cut” answer to according to Moralez.

Provost Betsy Morgan attended the faculty senate meeting as well advocating for UWL to adopt a computer engineering program, whose case will be heard on October 10 in front of the Board of Regents.

Local affairs director Bennett Thering brought the senate’s attention to next week’s off-campus property showcase fair, which will be held Oct. 8 in room 2120 in the Student Union and will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thering said, “we want as many people there as possible.”

The student association will be competing in who can bring the most plastic bags into next week’s meeting as a promotion for the Trex recycling program, which rewards campuses who properly recycle. The winner will be rewarded a reusable bag and a succulent.

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