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Media Memo: RA Policy Lawsuit

TO: News and Assignment Editors

FROM: Mike Rindo

DATE: 8:30 a.m., Dec. 2, 2005

SUBJECT: RA Policy Lawsuit

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has received no official notification that a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of one of its students over the practice of placing prohibitions on certain activities of resident assistants.

Statements posted on a Web site and information distributed to media by two organizations representing the student that claim UW-Eau Claire's decision to suspend its practice was in response to the lawsuit are false.

Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson made the decision Tuesday, Nov. 29, and began informing key UW System and UW-Eau Claire administrators Tuesday afternoon. Larson continued to communicate her decision to campus leaders and others throughout the day Wednesday, Nov. 30, before making the formal announcement during a Chancellor's Roundtable meeting with students at 4 p.m. The announcement also was shared with the entire campus community and news media shortly after 4 p.m. Nov. 30.

Larson, UW-Eau Claire and UW System had no knowledge a lawsuit was filed prior to the suspension announcement.

As Larson indicated in her announcement, the decision to suspend the practice was made because an initial campus review found there to be inconsistencies in how the practice has been communicated to resident assistants. The UW System's decision to form a systemwide advisory committee to review the issues relating to the practices also contributed to the decision. The practice in question prohibits resident assistants, who are state employees, from organizing and leading certain activities such as religious, partisan political and sales party events in their rooms or in the residence halls where they live.

I also want to correct inaccurate information contained in a news release distributed by one of the outside organizations. The claim that a resident assistant can hold a "kegger" is false. Students of age can have alcohol in their rooms but NO student can have a keg of beer in the UW-Eau Claire residence halls.

For additional information contact Mike Rindo, executive director of university communications at (715) 836-4741 or rindomj@uwec.edu.

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