Student Association welcomes guest speaker Director Jenni Brundage to discuss resident life and passes resolution in support of education students


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

Andrew Bates, Student Government Reporter

On Wednesday, March 30, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) met with Director Jenni Brundage, continued the discussion of the resolution in support of education students, and discussed issues with the current alcohol sanctions on campus.  

Director of Residence Life Jenni Brundage gave a presentation at the meeting and spoke about some of the services provided by residence life, what their priorities and goals are, and plans to renovate residence halls over the next few years. 

Director Brundage discussed how the residence life department is organized, the budget they work with, and some of the things they do to try and lower the room and board rates for UWL students. She presented a comparative graphic of the room and board rates across the UW System, and for the 2021-22 fiscal year, UWL’s rates were the lowest, with UW-Stout being a close second.  

Director Brundage said that UWL has been able to maintain these rates under the other universities in the system for some time now, which makes UWL a more desirable and equitable option for incoming students. “For pretty much every year in recent history, [UWL’s room and board rates] have been the lowest in the entire system. That is an incredible point of pride for us here at the university,” said Director Brundage.  

Director Brundage touched on the future renovation plans for some of the residence halls, including Laux, O. White, Sanford, and Wentz. These renovations will occur in two phases, and the first phase for Laux was completed prior to the pandemic in 2019.  

The first phase of renovations will occur in the spring between now and 2024, beginning with O. White hall, Sanford, and then Wentz. Phase two will take place through the summers, beginning this year on Laux, then White in 2023, Sanford in 2024, and Wentz in 2025. Director Brundage said that in phase one, they will renovate things like the electric systems, plumbing, and “the things we need infrastructure-wise to, then, support the second phase renovation.” 

Director Brundage said the second phase of renovations is “the really cool stuff,” like the walls, floors, furniture, and “all the stuff that makes a house a home.” By fall of the next academic year, the renovations on Laux hall will be completed. Director Brundage said that “we will have a beautiful new building” aside from its exterior appearance, which will not be renovated. 

SA Vice-President K.C. Cayo then addressed the issue of attendance from the prior meeting, which prevented a voting on the resolution in support of education students, saying “last week was unacceptable.”  

“[Attendance] is not negotiable. This is a commitment you signed per Wisconsin state statute. If this is not a commitment you can abide by, you should resign, or we can impeach you…I don’t want that for you,” said Vice-President Cayo. 

SA went on to discuss the resolution in support of education students and make some changes to the grammar and language before ultimately passing the resolution with a unanimous vote. 

SA discussed alcohol sanctions at UWL, and Vice-President Cayo said an “alcohol-specific policy” is in development. The problem with the current sanctions, according to Vice-President Cayo, is that UWL has “vague” policies that “[address] alcohol in the realm of every single drug in the whole world.” This essentially means that the punishment for students caught with alcohol on campus may have a similar severity to the punishment for being caught with drugs that may be perceived as more serious or harmful. 

Vice-President Cayo said that UWL should move away from the existing policies with a “holistic” view of drugs and alcohol. This can be done by adopting policies from different campuses and properly expressing the varying severity of these offenses in order to institute fair and thoughtful punishments. 

Vice-President Cayo said that this is “not the way it gets addressed on other college campuses or on local and state level,” and they want UWL to follow suit and update their policies. This was more of an informative, preliminary discussion on the existing policies and the proposal that’s currently in development. A draft is being written to support adjusting these policies, and updates will follow as this process further progresses.