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The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Controversial Student Association vote results in silence on $32 million budget cut
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On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) met to discuss and vote on a proposed resolution which included a statement that would be sent to Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly Robin Vos and shared with others in Wisconsin State legislature.  

The statement would have been in response to the $32 million budget cut to the Universities of Wisconsin, directed towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion departments (DEI) across all campuses. The resolution was first introduced at the SA meeting on Dec. 6 by Latin American Student Organization Senator (LASO), Armando Garcia. LASO Senator Garcia’s written statement voiced SA’s disapproval of the budget cuts, and reaffirmed UWL’s position to stand by the employees who are employed by DEI and the programs of DEI as a whole. 

The statement returned to SA during their meeting on Dec. 13 with some minor updates from the original author, LASO Senator Garcia, and additions from the now co-author College of Science and Health (CSH) Senator, Avery Winders. 

Garcia re-introduced the statement to SA and explained, “This new resolution is more or less the same, it just accounts for what has happened previously.” 

The previous events Garcia referred to was the decision made by Wisconsin state legislators, only hours before the SA meeting last evening, to come to a compromise on the budget cuts. More information can be found regarding that decision here. 

Garcia continued, “I feel that if we are silent on this issue, we are consenting.” 

Garcia also mentioned how other UW schools have already released statements regarding the budget cuts. “UW-Stevens Point has already unleashed a statement, UW-Eau Claire has already unleashed a statement, the board of Regents have already made their speeches about the statement and UW-Madison has collected thousands of student signatures opposing this idea, he said.  

Garcia felt UWL should have already released a statement, he said, “We are not starting the party, we are late to the party.” 

When asked what he is hoping to accomplish with this proposed statement, Garcia said, “I am not expecting anything groundbreaking to happen.” He continued, “I feel like the perspective that the legislators are lacking is the perspective of the students.” 

SA then went into discussion on the resolution for Senators to offer their suggestions and opinions on the statement. 

CSH Senator, Aryelle Moder said, “I like the resolution, I like what it stands for. My only problem is that the language is kind of aggressive.” 

Some of the language inside of the statement that members of SA took issue with were words and phrases such as, “willingness to blackmail UW campuses”, “sets a dangerous precedent” and “violently impact current DEI initiatives.” 

CSH Senator Moder continued, “I understand a lot of us feel really strongly about it, but I feel like if we want to get our point across better it would be wise to kind of appeal to legislators.” 

Despite some members of SA advocating for a change in wording, others thought the language included in the statement was appropriate. Asian, Latina, African, Native American Womxn (ALANA) Senator Terra Clark said, “Personally I wouldn’t make any changes because I feel the matter at hand is dire.” 

ALANA Senator Clark continued, “It’s meaningful, and to have passion behind it is valid.” 

Others felt the students of UWL should be consulted before any official statement is sent out. CSH Senator Alexis Tate said, “We speak for our students, so we should get the opinion of our students.” 

With various members of SA holding differing opinions on the resolution to publish the statement, it came to a vote on whether the resolution would be passed. Typically, SA members vote verbally, however, the many differing opinions amongst Senators led the body to participate in a paper ballot vote for this particular resolution. 

The results of the ballot were five votes in favor of passing the resolution, 15 votes opposed to passing the resolution and two votes abstaining from voting altogether. 

With SA voting to not pass the resolution, no statement will be issued at this time by SA concerning the budget cuts or the compromise reached by the Wisconsin state legislature. SA will not meet again until the spring semester on Wednesday, Jan. 24.  

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About the Contributor
Jackson Skarp
Jackson Skarp, Student Government Reporter
  • Year at UWL: Sophomore
  • PGPs: He/Him/His
  • Hometown: Cottage Grove, MN
  • Major: Communication Studies
  • Minor: Legal Studies and Philosophy
  • Other Campus Involvement: Pre-Law Society Member
  • Future Plans after Graduation: I plan on attending law school after graduation
  • Favorite activity in La Crosse: Finding new coffee shops to study at.
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