The New UWM Student Union Referendum Special Committee of the Student Association of Milwaukee voted Thursday night to pursue the “Referendum Affirmation Act.”
The act would reissue the referendum from last year which asked students to approve or deny an increase in student fees to pay for the construction of a new student union. In March 2012, 4002 students voted on the union project, according to Speaker of the Senate Jesse Brown. Senator Samir Siddique said the project was approved by a 78 to 22 percent margin.
Vice President Nik Rettinger and Camille Ridgeway were voted in as the chair and vice chair of the new committee, respectively.
The senate requested this new committee to be formed to gauge if the student interest in a new union still remains, said Rettinger.
The proposed referendum has no changes from last year, save for an added grammatical mark to correct a previous mistake. The committee discussed adding a second question to the survey asking voters how much student input should be present during the planning and construction of the new union.
“The point of a student union is to be for students,” Michael Ludwig said. “The design of the student union should reflect the [student interest].”
Ultimately, the seven person committee – five of whom were present – chose not to include the second question.
The original referendum called for a maximum of no increase in fees for 2014, a $70 increase in 2015, $140 in 2016, and over $200 for 2017 and beyond. Students could be paying for the new union until 2044.
“The vote on the new building serves as a symbol of positive student engagement in campus life at UWM,” Vice Chancellor Michael Laliberte told UWM News last March.
If the act passes through the senate, students will be asked once again to vote on a new student union. The senate will determine when the referendum is distributed.