SGA hears program review update; passes meal plan resolution


Tiger Media Network

The Student Government Association had conversations about the future of several academic programs and a desired meal plan change at its meeting Thursday night. 

University Provost Jill Arensdorf updated senators on the plans for five academic programs that, upon review last fall, do not meet certain Kansas Board of Regents criteria: the Bachelor of Art in Music, Music Education, Modern Languages, Physics and Philosophy. By the KBOR definition, ‘program’ refers to both a major and a degree program. 

Arensdorf will submit the plans for each to KBOR by April 19.

“As of right now, we are not submitting – and I don’t believe we will submit – any discontinuance plans,” she said. 

The proposal will include action plans for four of the programs and a merger plan for the other. Each program will then have three years to improve before another evaluation. If a program has to be discontinued at the end of the three years, it would still be taught until its current students are finished. 

Sen. Bailasaan Ghunaim asked about changes the plans will bring for professors and students, but Arensdorf said there should be nothing major.

“Programs should be evolving all the time anyway, so I don’t think it will be a huge impact in terms of, in three years things are going to be vastly different for students and faculty,” she said.

Arensdorf was optimistic about several of the action plans already working, saying that Music Education and Modern Languages have a significant number of students expected to begin next semester.

Other items in Arensdorf’s update:

  • Following a review visit by a global advising organization in January, Arensdorf’s first priority for academic advising is advisors’ workloads.
  • The faculty mentor program will officially be implemented across all departments and programs starting next semester. Departments and programs have the ability to choose how to deploy that program.

Later in the meeting, senators passed a resolution suggesting that Residential Life require a meal plan for students living on campus in just their first year out of high school instead of the first two. Sens. Logan and Noah Erichsen originated the resolution based on complaints from six freshmen constituents. 

“The lowest meal plan starts at $4,000,” Noah said. “All six of (the students) could not justify that cost, even though they want to live on campus again. They want to cook for themselves.”

According to Noah, all six of the students decided to rent off-campus apartments for next year instead.

Several other senators shared input as well, stating that eliminating the second-year requirement would save students money. Sen. Alicia Feyerherm noted that for many student-athletes, their meal plan costs take up a lot of their scholarship money.

Logan spoke about a second-year constituent who has celiac disease and can’t eat gluten. While options in the dining hall are labeled as gluten-free, the student still gets sick after eating them.

“She would rather take that money to use for Tiger dollars, or she has to buy her own groceries and double her costs because she can’t trust the food,” he said.

The resolution passed unanimously.

“It’s a suggestion to the university,” Noah said. “(The requirement) may not get changed, but at least it might get the ball rolling and start a conversation.”

The next SGA meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 18. The location is to be determined.