FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2018
Kansas Student Body Presidents File Amicus Curiae Brief Application on K-12 Funding Case
TOPEKA, Kan.-- On March 7, the Kansas Board of Regents’ (KBOR) Students’ Advisory Committee (SAC) filed an application to submit an amicus curiae brief to the Kansas Supreme Court on the Gannon v. Kansas case surrounding constitutional obligations for K-12 funding. This happens in the context of discussion in the 2017-2018 legislative session addressing the additional $600 million requested by K-12 schools. “In light of the numerous references to the Kansas Board of Regents in Article 6 of the Constitution, the Students’ Advisory Committee believes that the Constitution mandates that higher education be considered when evaluating the provision of financial support to public education,” the application reads.
Jack Ayres, chair of the SAC, said if the application is accepted by the Kansas Supreme Court, it will allow the SAC to submit a brief. The brief will argue that the Kansas Constitution includes all levels of public education, not just K-12. “State support for higher education has declined over the last decade, forcing tuition rates to increase, increasing the economic burden on students. We ask the state Supreme Court to not forget about higher education when deliberating what is an adequate level of funding for education. We don’t believe that additional funding for K-12 should come at the expense of higher education,” Ayres said.
Mark P. Johnson, a partner at Dentons law firm in Kansas City, Missouri, submitted the application on behalf of the committee. All briefs are due to the court by April 30th, in order to allow the court to make a decision by June 30th. In the meantime, the SAC will work with the legislature to continue our advocacy for the restoration of FY16 funding.
The Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) is the governing board of the state’s public universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s public higher education institutions.
The KBOR Students’ Advisory Committee (SAC) consists of the student body presidents of the public four-year institutions in the state. SAC advises KBOR on student policy issues and concerns.
Their names and contact information are as follows:
Emporia State University: Megan McReynolds <email@example.com>
Fort Hays State University: Emily Brandt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Kansas State University: Jack Ayres <email@example.com>
Pittsburg State University: Cassandra Ngo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
University of Kansas: Mady Womack <email@example.com>
Wichita State University: Paige Hungate <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Washburn University: Alexis Simmons <email@example.com>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2018
Student Senate Announces Funding Changes to Multicultural Student Government
LAWRENCE, Kan. --- On February 14, Student Body President Mady Womack announced plans to discontinue the block allocation to the Multicultural Student Government (MSG) for the upcoming fiscal year.
Womack said Student Senate has immediate plans to rewrite Student Senate Rules and Regulations to expand the responsibilities of the Student Senate Multicultural Affairs committee and Multicultural Board of Advisors. Student Senate and MSG reached the previous deal through a memorandum of agreement last spring, which went into effect this fall.
"The well-intentioned setup for MSG under previous administration did not establish clear rules and government principles," Womack said. "And it failed to promote representation of marginalized students in university governance effectively."
Control over the Multicultural Education Fund, which was not specified in the memorandum of agreement, will be returned to the Student Senate Multicultural Affairs committee in the next fiscal year.
"MSG was rightfully formed in response to Student Senate's lack of focus on diversity and inclusion," Womack said. "Giving the Multicultural Affairs Committee and the Multicultural Board of Advisors an expanded platform and more resources to support marginalized students will continue to be our priority."
Rusha Bajpai, Student Senate Director of Diversity and Inclusion, said she hopes MSG particpates in the ongoing conversation regarding diversity and how to best represent marginalized stidents within university governance structure.
"We hope MSG will want to be part of this dialogue moving forward, as we share the same goals and purpose," Bajpai said.
About Student Senate
Student Senate is the student governing body at the University of Kansas that controls and allocates over $24 million in student fees each year. It serves as the primary advocate for KU students at all levels. For more information, visit studentsenate.ku.edu, or email the Communications Director, Libby Stauffer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sexual Violence Survivor Fund Created by KU Student Senate, Interfraternity Council, and Panhellenic Association
Lawrence, KS - KU student body president Stephonn Alcorn and student body vice president Gabby Naylor today announced the creation of the University of Kansas Sexual Violence Survivor Fund. The fund’s initial investment of $8,000 is provided through $4,000 from the Student Senate Opportunity Endowment Fund, $2,000 from KU Interfraternity Council, and $2,000 from KU Panhellenic Association.
The purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to students who have experienced or are experiencing a form of interpersonal violence. The goal is to increase the independence and safety of students by providing them with on-campus monetary support. This resource is both an immediate and individualized form of support for survivors of sexual violence who are currently enrolled students at the University of Kansas, and will be administered through the CARE Coordinator, a confidential advocate in Watkins Health Center.
Gabby Naylor, outgoing student body Vice President, remarked, “Existing community resources in Lawrence and Douglas County are limited, often rely on donations, and require a strenuous process for survivors. By creating this fund, students will now have more autonomy when choosing to seek these resources. By coming together, we can make an institutional effort to support all students, regardless of associated organizations.”
Examples of resources available to purchase through this fund may include bed linens, safety-related needs (changing locks, alternate cell phone, etc.), related medical costs, one-time assistance with rent, or housing accommodations during breaks.
Britt Biel with the Panhellenic Association said, “In a community that is filled with young women who may be affected by, or know someone who has experienced sexual assault, the Panhellenic Association is both excited and committed to starting this fund in an effort to work together to support survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.”
Nathan Lutz with the IFC added, “The Interfraternity Council is extremely pleased to make this initial investment to such a fund, in addition to other efforts that to combat sexual violence and support survivors.”
It is the goal of Student Senate, the Interfraternity Council, and the Panhellenic Association to sustain the the Sexual Violence Survivor Fund for future years through additional campus partners at KU such as the Multicultural Greek Council, the National Panhellenic Council, and Kansas Athletics Incorporated.
If you would like to know more about the fund, please contact Merrill Evans, CARE Coordinator at Watkins Health Center.
Student Senate Leadership Creates Equitable Elections Fund
September 9, 2016
Lawrence, KS - Given issues brought forth in recent years pertaining to access and representation of student voices, the Student Senate Executive Staff is committed to fulfilling its promise of working for underrepresented students to create a student government that is open and accessible to all students.
The Student Senate Executive Staff believes the most impactful way to break down institutional barriers is through the creation of an equitable elections process. In doing so, Student Senate is expressing a belief in a student government that is inclusive, representative, and allows for broad participation from the student body.
Provided by donor gifts whose values align with these ideals and goals, Student Senate leadership is proud to announce the establishment of the Student Senate Equitable Elections Fund. The purpose of this fund is to eliminate inherent monetary disadvantages and inequities in the Student Senate Elections process. This will allow for the broader participation of all students in student government, especially the voices of those most underrepresented.
This fund will allow Student Senate coalitions to be supplemented up to $700 to meet the $1,000 elections spending limit, provided the coalition reaches at least $300 through their own fundraising. Funding amounts will be based on a percentage of slated senator candidates. In addition, coalitions must also meet the qualifications to run in the Spring Elections and comply with campaign rules in accordance with the Student Senate Elections Code. The fund will exist separate of Student Senate, housed through KU Endowment and administered by the Office of Student Affairs.
Student Body President Stephonn Alcorn remarked, “A student government that serves all students should allow the participation of all students. The Equitable Elections Fund is a pathway to increase participation and opportunities for underrepresented students in student leadership to ensure that elected KU student leaders represent all individuals of the student body”
Final details concerning distribution and application to receive funds will be finalized in the coming weeks. The fund will be available beginning Spring 2017 for the Student Senate General Election.