The ASUW Student Senate took a stance opposing the UW investing money in organizations that contribute to political campaigns by passing a resolution expressing opposition to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Although the resolution passed 74 to 14, it inspired a lively debate among senators. Senators debated the intent of the bill, and whether the ASUW should encourage UW officials to stop investing in all companies that contribute to campaigns or be more lenient and encourage a case-by-case analysis of companies.
ASUW President Conor McLean argued it would be difficult to stop investing in companies like Microsoft since the UW has strong ties to the company and encouraged senators to opt for the more lenient approach. Senator Brian Moe, who sponsored the resolution, clarified that the legislation is intended to let the administration know students are against using tuition money to fund political campaigns.
Senator Kiehl Sundt argued the ASUW Senate shouldn’t even be considering this legislation because it wouldn’t create any real change and would make the ASUW Senate a “laughingstock” to the Board of Regents and politicians at the state and national level. He argued that senators should discuss more achievable goals instead.
“I believe in the meaningful and mundane over these false delusions of grandeur,” Sundt said.
Sundt’s comments inspired a sizable backlash among other senators. Senator Matthew Fitzgerald argued that because the UW is such a large university, it has the potential to inspire change.
Senator Ada Waelder argued that it wasn’t the resolution’s intent to inspire sweeping changes nationwide. She reiterated that letting student opinion be known to the Board of Regents was an important enough reason for senators to support the resolution.
“I don’t think that this resolution is going to inspire a wave of change across the U.S.,” Waelder said, “but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. We can’t create change if we don’t try.”
Waelder also argued that politicians won’t look down on the ASUW Senate for passing this bill. She said senators shouldn’t refrain from doing what’s right because they fear being laughed at.
Reach reporter Amelia Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ameliadickson
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