President's update

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Weeks of October 15th & 22nd :

We're contuining to work on the crafting of a legislative proposal for violence prevention resources. We will be lobbying on the general topic in the next few weeks and Director O'Connell has been working on getting this day of advocacy together. We will be meeting with at least ten offices that will have a crucial vote on this issue once a bill would be brought for consideration. We want to ensure that legislators know this is an issue on campuses within their districts, not just UWL, and so we are working to utilize data from those other campuses.

I had a meeting with City of La Crosse Police Department to go over messaging strategies for next year's Oktoberfest festivities. We are working to improve the messaging on safety and our local laws to students so that they are better informed of what to do. Specifically, we are looking to incorporate responsible action policies and bystander intervention into next year's messaging by local law enforcement. 

In our bi-weekly meetings at Joint Planning and Budget, we discussed a number of possible changes for the university. For one, the budget cuts over the past several years have put severe constraints on our institution. With the new monies received from this last budget cycle, we are likely going to fill shortfalls from falling enrollment revenue (fund 131) with these new state dollars being received (fund 102). As well, we are in the process of a plan to add two new varsity sports to our campus - women's lacrosse and women's golf. We will be working with the Budget Office to ensure that other varsity teams are able to accomodate this likely change in how segregated fees will be allocated. - Schimmel


Week of October 8th:

We recently put on Student Association's first individually hosted housing fair, alongside the one done by Rent College Pads. The event went extremely well and many students were given great resources and options for housing by a good number of landlords. We're working on preparing for next year's event already in order to roughly triple (~30) the number of landlords in attendance, as well making it as professional as possible. 

We've been working on violence prevention efforts the past few weeks in order to get a better idea where legislators are at with the development of a proposal. Specifically, we have recently been speaking with Rep. Billings and Rep. Shankland on proposal language. Alongside them, we are utilzing WCASA for expert reference on the subject. Director O'Connell is now putting together a UWL advocacy day specifically to talk to a broad range of legislators on the Colleges/Universities committees about sexual/domestic violence on campuses. We should be heading down to the capitol in Madison in early November to discuss this issue in depth.

As well, I interviewed candidates for the position of Inclusivity Director over the past few weeks, and our Diversity Organization Coalition was able to review these candidates. After thorough review, Aaron Bhatoya has been appointed and approved to be our new Inclusivty Director. We're currently working on investigating food and housing insecurities on campus, and I'm very excited to see him investigate the issue. - Schimmel


Week of September 24th:

We are currently working towards getting violence prevention legislation drafted in the state legislature. This is has been a goal of our administration since last year and we are hoping for something to be drafted within the next few months. Specifically, we are hoping to get bipartisan support onto a bill that will ensure that violence prevention specialists to be on all UW campuses. Here at UWL, we already have a great system where we have this position and a team that is dedicated to these efforts in ensuring survivors get the resources that they need. We had a phone call this week to discuss the specifics of what a proposal might look like in the coming months. This includes having universities work with their local experts and specialists to ensure that there is somebody that services each campus' needs. We're looking forward to continued policy discussions in the following weeks on this. 

The segregated fee reform process has wrapped up its work in committee. I have very mixed feelings about the situation that students will be put in once these changes go through. On one hand, we are working to ensure each campus' student government will be proactively involved in crafting new agreements between them and their Chancellor in regards to student say on what happens with non-allocable segregated fees. On the other, no matter how we look at students are indeed losing a key aspect of their power in the state. I had a good phone call with UW System where we were able to craft an extended policy on the matter of student rights in the non-allocable process. The additional language outlines extra steps and information that campus administrations should take into consideration when deciding on non-allocables - particularly in calling out transportation and athletics as areas that need to proper oversight by students. As well, I'm looking forward to UW System outlining guidelines for involving student governments in the non-allocable process in the following months. - Schimmel


Week of September 17th:

Student Association was able to finalize a core push from last year to get menstrual product dispensing machines ordered for restrooms across the campus. Along with this, we were able to fulfill one of our other goals and make these products (tampons and pads) available for free for anybody using the restrooms. Restrooms that do not have machines will have baskets with these products instead - this will include women's, men's, and gender-neutral restrooms. I implore students to contact me if they believe there isn't an adequate supply of machines or products across the campus. We want to make sure that this gets up and running properly.

We have started to work on a new housing fair this year that is hosted by Student Association. This housing fair will run in conjunction with the fair that is run by Rent College Pads; these two events will give students the opportunity to see double the options for housing than in past years, and we hope that this will alleviate some of the pressures students face to find housing so early in the year. Local Affairs Director will be working on putting this together, along with putting together a comprehensive list of landlords for public viewing on our page - which will assist students trying to find housing in upcoming years. In other local efforts, our team will be pushing to support legislation in the City Council to require individuals applying to become bartenders to undergo bystander intervention training. This will help to ensure that our community is further informed and ready to take action on the issue of violence prevention. This is not an issue that we will allow to go unnoticed. - Schimmel 


Week of September 10th:

Student Association partnered with UWL's City Council member Patrick Brever in advocating for a ordinance proposal to shorten the length of nighttime alternate side parking. This city ordinance dictates which side of the street that people can park their vehicles on any given night. This has been a concern for a while due to the frequent difficulties that students have in finding street parking near their residence. Oftentimes, students (particularly those that work late into the evening) are forced to park blocks away from where they reside. As well, many students would receive tickets throughout the year for not moving to the other side of the street, including on the many nights where there isn't a need to keep the streets clear of snow. The ordinance in question stated that alternate side parking would be in place from November 1 through April 1. The proposal calls for moving the start date back two weeks (November 15) and the end date up two weeks (March 15). This will shorten the length of time for this ordinance by almost a month and positively impact students. I spoke during the public hearing on this and myself and Local Affairs Director Boebel attended the Council meeting where the proposal passed 10-2.

I am currently working on the reform of segregated fees throughout the state. The Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin State Legislature put through a motion that required segregated fees to be consistant across the UW System. This means solving whether certain fiscal items are categorized as allocable or non-allocable. Allocable segregated fees are controlled by students through Student Association and go towards many things here at UWL like student organizations and the MTU bus service. Non-allocables are controlled by the Chancellor and go towards many things such as building projects and the counseling center. Making these fiscal items consistant means that a fiscal line needs to be either entirely allocable or non-allocable across all our schools. For example, we fund our MTU bus service through allocables while UW-Stevens Point funds this through non-allocables. Our charge is to choose one or the other for the whole UW System. To put it bluntly, this is a massive change. Transportation (MTU) is a key portion of what I'm brining to the table on this committee. I believe it's important that we have certain policies in place that ensure that students get some sort of veto power over how transportation works on each campus if this line were to indeed transition to non-allocable. Shared governance is a core principle of Wisconsin State Statute 36.09(5), and ensuring proper student authority on issues that directly impact them is vital to this. - Schimmel