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Thank you for signing up to receive our Student Senate monthly newsletter. This is the first Student Senate newsletter in our history and we’re excited in to share with you the progress we have made this fall.
Student Senate Accountability and Cultural Competency
During the summer months and the beginning of the fall semester, Student Senate instituted new measures to ensure that Student Senate is working effectively and providing quality representation. For the first time in several years, Student Senate put on a rigorous, afternoon-long legislative training for all senators. Additionally, we implemented a new senator accountability system, revised the Student Senate Code of Ethics, and provided cultural competency training to the entire body.
“As the student voice of KU, it’s critical that we provide excellent representation. These actions were aimed to equip senators with the tools to be effective campus leaders.”
–Zach George, Student Body Vice President
Burge Union Fee
Student Senate voted to approve a fee increase to construct a new Burge Union. The Student Union Renovation Fee will be raised by $4.90 to $18.70 and will remain in effect until 2048. The space will consist of a large ballroom, reflection room and office spaces for several KU departments, including Legal Services for Students and the Emily Taylor Center.
"With campus shifting west, now is the ideal time to act and ensure that the unions continue to have a presence in the area."
- Isaac Bahney, Student Senate Communications Director.
Over the summer and beginning of the school year, Student Senate Chief of Staff Adam Moon worked with senators and elections commission members to draft an elections reform bill. The bill created a longer time frame for coalitions form, removes regulations inhibiting the ability of candidates to outreach, clarifies the elections process, and raises the spending cap. Student Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of it with a vote of 61-7-3.
"After months of discussion, I am very proud of the elections reform that passed Student Senate. We wanted a code that makes it easier for students to engage in the elections process, and promotes the development of ideas that will create lasting change on campus.”
–Adam Moon Chief of Staff
KU students lead efforts in getting the Students Advisory Committee (SAC) to the Kansas Board of Regents to partner with the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University to survey the student populations in the regent institutions regarding their opinions on concealed and carry guns on campus. The survey will ask questions regarding opinions of specific places on campus, storage, and current campus safety measures. From the survey, SAC and Student Body Presidents of Regent Institutions hope to gain an aggregate and university specific opinions regarding guns on campus. Upon receiving the results, Student Body President, Jessie Pringle, plans to bring the results to KU administration in crafting policy.
“It’s important that students have a space to say something about their feelings of safety and security on campus whether that means carrying or prohibiting. Leaving out student voices does not create sound policy."
– Jessie Pringle, Student Body President
During the first week of the 2015-2016 school year, graduate student printing services were eliminated from the Watson Library, leaving all GTAs, GRAs, and GAs on campus without access to printing resources. After meeting with the leadership of KU Libraries, and several other administrators, Graduate Affairs Director Angela Murphy drafted a funding bill to cover $5,000 in printing costs for graduate students in the Graduate Student Study Area in Watson Library. Student Senate unanimously approved the measure, and offered the possibility of additional funds if the need arose during the school year.
“The ability to use printing services is vital to graduate student success. Without access to this resource, we place our graduate students at a significant disadvantage to complete their research and complete their degrees on time.”
–Angela Murphy, Graduate Affairs Director
Student Senate Pushes for Federal Grant
During the first legislative cycle, the Student Senate unanimously approved a resolution supporting a transition program at the University of Kansas for students with intellectual disabilities. Over the summer, Dr Mary Morningstar and Dana Lattin of the School of Special Education, Andrew Shoemaker of the AAAC, and Omar Rana, Student Senate Director of Diversity and Inclusion, worked to create and propose a transitional education program to the United States Department of Education. These programs are meant to provide education and work training for people with intellectual disabilities. The program was accepted by the United States Department of Education and the university was rewarded a grant. The program will start next fall.
“These programs are very important for allowing people with intellectual disabilities the chance at a job and a life they wouldn't have without this education.” - Omar Rana, Student Senate Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Student Organization Funding
One of the primary roles of Student Senate is to allocate funds to KU student organizations. So far during the 2015-2016 school year, we have funded over 80 organization and allocated over $135,000. For questions about funding opportunities, please contact Adam Moon, Student Senate Chief of Staff.
In the coming weeks, Student Senate will be releasing a survey to help figure out the logistics on establishing a campus-sponsored shuttle service to and from the airport, as well as finalize a proposal to publish course evaluations.
We remain committed to being as open and transparent as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any suggestions!