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Media Memo: Interim Chancellor Larson Message Regarding RA Restrictions

TO: News and Assignment Editors

FROM: Mike Rindo

DATE: Nov. 18, 2005

SUBJECT: Interim Chancellor Larson Message Regarding RA Restrictions

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Interim Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson sent the following message to the University community Nov. 17 to update students, faculty and staff about the ongoing review of practices and policies restricting resident assistants from organizing and leading certain activities in the room and residence halls where they live.

We will continue to share with the news media messages from the Chancellor to the campus relating to this matter.

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

On behalf of Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson this message is being sent to all UW-Eau Claire students and employees.

To: Members of the UW-Eau Claire campus community

From: Chancellor Vicki Lord Larson

As you know UW-Eau Claire's policies and practices regarding certain restrictions placed on resident assistants in the room and residence hall in which they live have become the focus of a national debate.

I want to assure you that I and many others are doing all that we can to resolve this issue as quickly as possible so the university can get back to its main business of educating students. However, the issues involved are extremely complex and they are important as they touch on the fundamental values of many people — people who are both directly and indirectly connected to our campus community.

So while we are anxious to move forward, it is important that we take sufficient time to complete a thorough review. It is essential that any decisions that result from this review process help us provide a quality environment for our students.

In addition to the ongoing campus review, we also are patiently waiting a legal opinion relating to the practices. Earlier this week, after consultation with me, UW System President Kevin Reilly requested an opinion from the Wisconsin Attorney General as to whether these long-standing practices are consistent with First Amendment standards. We do not know when the Attorney General will issue an opinion. We look forward to receiving her advice.

No one wants more than me to bring closure to this issue so we can continue to move this outstanding university forward. I am confident that we will reach a resolution that will meet legal standards and, most importantly, allow us to continue providing the welcoming, supportive and open campus environment that has long been a trademark of UW-Eau Claire.

When the legal opinions have been made and the review process is complete, I will share the information with you and any decisions made that relate to this matter.

In the meantime, as we enter the final weeks of the fall semester, it's my hope that our faculty, staff and students enjoy what is traditionally a challenging but exciting time on campus. The close of the semester and upcoming commencement ceremony is a time to celebrate our students' achievements. I am continually amazed by all that our students accomplish under the guidance of our extremely talented and committed faculty and staff. This truly is an exceptional place filled with exceptional people.

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