Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Student body ratifies new student government constitution

Senate expanded while Assembly replaced with Town Halls

UW Oshkosh students  approved a new student government constitution Sept. 25 that renames the Oshkosh Student Association (OSA) to the Oshkosh Student Government (OSG), updates its executive positions, expands the Senate and replaces the Assembly with Town Halls.

President Ben Blaser and Vice President Jakob Rucinski said they were hoping for a better voter turnout, but that the OSG Executive board worked hard to ensure students were as informed as possible.

“Our executive board did an amazing job presenting the proposed constitution changes to the student body,” Blaser said. “There were a variety of ways that the student body learned about the new OSG constitution.” 

Blaser and Rucinski said the OSG prioritized student access to the ballot by extending the voting period an entire week, from Sept. 14-25,  and informed Titans about the referendum through multiple platforms.

They also said the OSG Executive Board worked diligently with the student media to ensure as many Titans knew about the details of the referendum as possible.

“Our team worked hard to provide presentations, mass emails and documents that tracked our changes,” Rucinski said. “We also tried to reach students in every way we could through an Advance-Titan article, [and] a Titan TV news story.”

The total voter turnout was less than 100 students, and despite the Executive Board’s best effort to heighten student awareness, only 65 students voted in favor of the proposal, while seven voted against it.

“Voter turnout may not have represented a significant plurality of the student body, [but] all students had the opportunity to vote,” Blaser said. “If people felt that this was something that was worth voting on, they had the opportunity.”

The first Town Hall, replacing the legislative Assembly, will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. today  in Reeve 307, with the OSG hosting an open conversation on how students’ identities can better be represented.

“The main topic of the upcoming Town Hall will be student identity on campus,” Rucinski said. “To discuss what it means to create safe and welcoming spaces for students to feel like they belong at UWO.”

Blaser and Rucinski reaffirmed their commitment to foster an inclusive atmosphere at Town Halls by inviting a wide range of campus experts to be on a panel leading the discussion on representing student identity. 

Blaser and Rusinski said Town Halls will be open to all Titans, unlike the Assembly which required Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) to send a legislative representative bound to parliamentary rule.

“Town Halls will be open to every single UW Oshkosh student, not just RSO’s,” Rucinski said. “We don’t expect anything specific from the attendees. If a student would like to provide input to the conversation, they are welcome to.”

Blaser and Rucinski said students can make their voices heard at Town Halls because they will provide students a megaphone to amplify their feedback, ideas, suggestions, comments, issues and concerns to the administration.

“It is extremely important for students to participate in Town Hall meetings so their thoughts, ideas and opinions can be collected by the director of organizational relations,” Rucinski said. “Feedback will be relayed to appropriate campus administrators and staff.”

While the first change renamed student government to the OSG, and the second replaced the Assembly with Town Halls, the third added five Senate seats to expand that body to function as the sole student legislature.

“There are now three more at-large senator positions, and two more advocacy positions,” Rucinksi said.

The new advocacy positions have yet to be determined, but the Senate is in the process of forming a committee to update the bylaws so the body reflects the changes that were made by the new constitution.

“Senators will be provided with more student feedback than in years prior and will be better equipped to represent the student body,” Rucinski said.

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