Student Association discusses money reallocation and building name changes


Student Association logo. Image obtained from the UWL Student Association Facebook Page.

Andrew Bates, Student Government Reporter

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) welcomed new UWL Chief Information Officer (CIO), David Kim, appointed a new Sustainability Director to the SA executive cabinet, and discussed a few resolutions relating to 2023 budgets. 

David Kim made his introduction to the SA, opening the floor to discuss how he can best serve the students in his new role. Kim moved to La Crosse from Charlotte, North Carolina, and as CIO, Kim will manage UWL’s information technology services (ITS). He asked the SA about which services were working well and if there were any issues or inconveniences that they could work together to fix. Senators asked Kim about certain problems that he could begin to work on, such as providing access to the campus virtual private network (VPN) information and ways to train students against and report phishing attacks. Kim said he would look into the topics they discussed and that he would like to continue this conversation with the SA so they could begin to take “steps in the right direction” and work together to address problems in the future. 

The SA then discussed some important dates relating to campus affairs. There will be a vaccination clinic in the Cartwright Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m on Feb. 14-18. Moreover, the spring primary election is taking place for both the County and School Boards next Tuesday, Feb. 15, and there is more information on UWL’s official site 

UWL’s University Centers Director, Kyle Burke, spoke with the SA about staffing problems for the on-campus Einstein’s and Starbucks. He said that hiring has been difficult and that they’re still working to fill those vacancies and get everything back up and running. 

In the fall semester, the SA discussed potentially changing the name of certain campus buildings with the support of Chancellor Joe Gow, which is a decision that’s ultimately made by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Vice President (VP) K. C. Cayo provided an update on this initiative in Wednesday’s meeting and said that the Student Union is no longer up for discussion to be renamed.  

VP Cayo went on to say that the Board of Regents will now discuss and vote on the possibility of changing the name of the Center for Fine Arts. The proposed new name is the Truman Lowe Center of Fine Arts, and the vote to make this change will take place on Thursday, Feb. 10. Truman Lowe was an Indigenous artist who graduated from UWL with a degree in art education. Lowe worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years teaching in the art department, and he is well known in the La Crosse area and around Wisconsin as a whole. Once the Board of Regents issues a decision on the building, another update will follow. 

The SA then discussed and later passed a resolution on the Academic Initiatives Differential Allocation Committee (AIDAC) 2023 fiscal year budget. The author of the resolution, Senator Aisling Polley, said that no cuts are being made to the AIDAC budget, and it will remain the same as the 2022 budget. The SA discussed the use of reserve funds in the budget instead of making cuts, and President Jared Zwettler said that the use of reserves was “not a long-term solution,” and they do not intend to use the reserves in future years. At the meeting, the University Centers Director, Kyle Burke, said that the University of Wisconsin System advised the use of reserves as a one-year initiative to, “keep these units whole after two years of COVID-19,” said Burke.  “Next year, we will need to figure out a bigger picture.”

The next resolution discussed in the meeting was appointing a new Sustainability Director to the SA executive cabinet, and Grace Lopez Johnson was elected for the role. The SA passed the resolution, making Johnson the new Sustainability Director. The SA also has an open position on their executive cabinet, the State of Affairs Director, and they’re still searching for a candidate to fill this role.  

The final resolution discussed in the meeting was on the Student University Fee Allocation Committee’s (SUFAC) allocable rate for the 2023 fiscal year. The SA discussed certain student organizations and clubs that get their funds allocated by SUFAC. Pres. Zwettler said that there is, “a much-needed reallocation of resources we already have,” because SUFAC reserves are very high, and a lot of money has gone unspent in the past two years with enrollment drops and the pandemic. The SA did not pass this resolution, and it will be taken back to SUFAC and then revisited by the SA on a later date.