Illinois Student Senate

Illinois Student Senate is the representative body for the students at the University of Illinois. This blog allows members to discuss a variety of aspects about their lives, including but not limited to their involvement in ISS. ANY OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THAT OF ILLINOIS STUDENT SENATE AS A WHOLE.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Unofficial St Patricks Day Resolution

From yesterday's News Gazette:

"Business administration Professor Mark Roszkowski has filed a resolution with the campus Senate calling for the UI to take action to end Unofficial St. Patrick's Day. The resolution, to be voted on Monday, says the event promotes binge drinking and disruptive behavior, reduces class attendance, disrupts classes and "seriously undermines the educational mission of the university."

In an e-mail, Roszkowski listed specific suggestions he plans to discuss with Herman:

– formally requesting that campus-area bar owners not promote the event.

– requesting that faculty schedule exams or mandatory activities on the day of the event.

– asking the Champaign mayor use his emergency powers as liquor commissioner to prevent bars from opening early on class days, restrict the operating hours of any bar refusing to honor the request to not promote the event and prohibit keg sales within a few days of the event."

Professor Mark Roszkowski is fairly extreme on drinking issues, he is allowed to Chair the Committee on Conduct Governance (CCG) where he pushes this agenda. If he wants to schedule mandatory events during "unofficial" so be it, but he shouldn't be making these "requests" of other faculty members. He should have more respect for the autonomy of his peers.

If he wants to craft a new sanction making disrupting a class after drinking a special offense, perhaps that is reasonable. He could advocate making classroom disruption an aggravating factor when kids are drinking underage, or even being drunk an aggravating factor for classroom disruption. Instead he uses classroom disruption as a pretense for his paternalism. He thinks as a university professor he has a mandate to dictate what kind of promotions bars can and cannot have.

Professor Roszkowski tries to continually tweak the student code in ways to make things worse for students. I sit on the CCG, but do to class conflicts I'm often unable to attend, so I cant give every example of these actions, but here is one I found particularly disturbing. I remember a recent meeting where he suggested shortening the span of time a student has to file a capricious grading complaint. I believe it is now 6 weeks after the start of the next semester, he called that unconscionably long. His change was shot down. If a instructor is guilty of capricious grading and the student is able to prove it a full year later they should be entitled to relief.

The University might well need to do something about unofficial, that doesn't mean we should do just anything.

Even more troubling is the following from yesterdays NG:

"The university also is looking at student suggestions, which said fines, the loss of a driver's license or community service would be effective deterrents to certain behavior.

Of the nearly 100 citations issued at Unofficial St. Patrick's Day, almost half went to UI students. Acting Dean of Students Ruth McCauley sent letters to those students, stating future violations of liquor laws will result in charges under state statutes rather than city ordinances.

What that means, Riley said, is they will pay a larger fine and risk losing their drivers' licenses if they are under age 21. Of the 49 UI students issued citations, 31 were underage drinkers. Copies of the letter also were sent to the parents of students under age 21."

The state law that underage drinkers (even if they aren’t driving) can lose their license b/c of a drinking ticket is an example of MADD run amuck over the better judgment of the state legislature. It is so counter-intuitive, no one thinks that underage drinking alone will cost them their drivers license. It also seems like the underage drinkers who pay the drinking ticket do not have their ticket forwarded to the Sec of State to have the license revocation take place, but those who fight the drinking ticket (good luck) and lose, have their licenses taken away.

The city is already exploiting students by lowering the bar age so they can raise substantial drinking ticket revenue - 290 in Champaign. Enforcement is so sparse that students will still roll the dice and drink underage, it's too much of a part of our campus culture to presume that will change overnight. Taking students drivers licenses wont solve anything.

Did you notice Ruth McCauley also said students parents are being notified? Presumably if students are over 18 but under 21 they should be treated as adults. I could understand parental notification for students who aren't yet 18. Students were under the impression that parental notification was only used in extreme cases. I'm under the impression parental contact after underage drinking IS NOT the norm. It's likely this is being arbitrarily applied just so they can look tough on unofficial.

originally posted on my personal blog
also there is a thread on this issue at Illini Pundit

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ride the ISS/VIP Voter Vans!

Do You Need a Ride to Vote?

Ride the Voter Van!

The Illinois primary election is on Tuesday, March 21 when many students will be away on Spring Break. Illinois now allows voters to vote early from February 27 - March 16.

-Illinois Student Senate and Volunteer Illini Projects will offer FREE Rides to the Champaign County Clerk's office on March 13, 14, and 15. The Champaign County Clerk's office is located at 1776 E. Washington, Urbana, IL.

-The Voter Vans will depart from the front of the Illini Union at 12:10PM, 1:10PM, 2:10PM, 3:10PM, and 4:10PM on those dates.

-Voters may show up at the Union, but are asked to RSVP here!

Instructions: Please comment below with your netid and the day and time that you'd like to ride the voter van. (If you don't want an e-mail reminder, please put NO E-Mail next to your netid)

If you don't want to RSVP on the blog, please e-mail Jen Walling at with the day and time you'd like to go vote!

Also, if you'd like to vote at some other time or can give rides to the county clerk's office, please comment below!

***Remember to bring acceptable forms of identification***

Acceptable forms of identification

-An absentee/early applicant's identity must be verified by presentation of an IL driver's license, IL ID card, or another government issued ID containing the applicant's photograph.

-If the person is a first time voter required to show ID, the acceptable forms of ID include: a current and valid photo ID, a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or othergovernment document that shows name and address.

-A voter registration card is not acceptable identification.

Please see for more info on the primary election, including viewing your ballot and checking your voter registration.