Toxic Climate

UW-Milwaukee’s Student Association froze the pay of its vice president during a heated Senate meeting Sunday night in the Union’s Wisconsin Room.

SA Vice President Sana Kahn has not reported back to the Senate since April 5 and may come under investigation. She was involved in some controversial Facebook messages with United Panthers vice presidential candidate Eric Grow and ICONIC presidential candidate Hugo Nguyen that were leaked to the public.

“It was kind of awkward for her to be around the office so I understand her taking a few days off,” recently elected SA President Dan Laughland said. “But we do need to hear back from her and make sure she is still doing her job, and that’s why the motion to freeze her pay.”

The leaked messages were filled with racist comments and a plan by Grow and Nguyen to rig the SA elections. Nguyen was removed from the ballot before the election and Grow resigned his Senate seat shortly after the election.

Scandals have plagued the SA over the past year and President Angela Lang addressed the problems during a well-received speech at the meeting.

“SA’s climate is so toxic,” Lang said.  “We spend the bulk of time explaining what’s wrong with SA instead of dealing with student issues.”

She recommends a zero-tolerance policy on racism and sexual harassment within the SA, and asked the senate to think about the future.

“We can only move forward if we end this political war that’s been going on for years,” Lang said.

Referendum Affirmation Act

The senate approved the fee schedule for the re-construction of the UWM Union by majority vote. Rates for 2018 through 2034 are capped, but there is an option to negotiate lower rates and extend payments through 2044.

Year           New Union Increase

                                                   2015                 $70 / Semester

2016                $140 / Semester

2017                $210 / Semester

2018-2034          $282 / Semester

Fair Parking Bill

The SA Senate also passed the Fair Parking Bill which will create 200 subsidized “no-pay” daily parking spaces for students in the Klotsche Pavilion.

The bill will increase student’s segregated fees by $6.50 a semester and Laughland said that “no-pay” parking does not mean free parking.

“They’re paying it ahead of time in segregated fees, but when they park they’re not paying a fee,” said Laughland.

Increased Access to Emergency Contraception Act

The Senate tabled a controversial act that would increase access to contraceptives on campus and increase access to the Norris Health Center on weekends.

The act includes plans to extend Norris’s weekend hours and to put $25 morning-after pills in vending machines on campus.

Recently-elected SA Vice President Tereza Pelicaric said that the Contraception Act will not pass.

“This is a sensitive topic, with student fees involved potentially,” Pelicaric said.

Looking Forward

SA election winners will take office on June 1. Laughland said when he is president he wants to make the SA a healthy environment for people to disagree in positive ways.

“We’re all on the same team here, we’re all working for the students,” Laughland said. “So we want to make sure we encourage that kind of spirit rather than factions and divisiveness.”