Student senators discuss concerns about on-campus inclusion

BY CORIE LYNN

Conversation at the Nov. 15 Student Senate meeting revolved around diversity at FHSU, a conversation that began at the Student Government Association’s Town Hall this fall.

During the Open Forum, the senators discussed diversity on campus with the concern that minority groups on campus aren’t as included or supported as the students need, despite inclusion being a goal of the University.

An example brought up by the senators was a  lack of defined space for multicultural inclusion in the new Student Success Center. To address these concerns, one senator proposed rebranding the Student Success Center as a whole to ensure that all minority groups would feel welcome.

DeMers then announced his proposal for a task force that would form relations between groups on campus and find ways to address concerns about inclusion. Many of the senators expressed interest in joining this task force.

A center brought up concerns about a lack of resources for the homeless population in Hays, and DeMers reminded the senators that national news affects FHSU.

The meeting’s normal proceedings began with reports from the executive staff.

President DeMers. Informed the Senate that SGA will look to build relationships with whom they are sharing a floor in the new Student Success Center.

He also met with FHSU’s general council to discuss how to improve university policies to better include online students. During his week, DeMers also met with the Vice President for Global Partnerships to build relationships with the University’s overseas partnerships.

According to DeMers, both meetings were planned with the intent of finding ways to better represent FHSU’s online students.

Vice President Musgrove began his report by informing the senators on an event called Culture & Conversation on Nov. 21 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Forsyth Library. During this event, international and domestic students meet to get to know each other through conversation.

Musgrove also reported that Safe Ride is still in the red and that the committee addressing the bus system’s deficit is considering adding a cost for riding the bus.

Following this announcement, the student senators discussed alternatives for funding Safe Ride being as, as one senator pointed out, students already pay for the service as part of their student fees. 

Following the discussion of Safe Ride, Treasurer Applegate reported that he spent his week sending emails regarding allocations.

Legislative Affairs Director Wisley reported that all of this month’s sessions for Free Legal Counseling are booked with a few additions sessions having been added. This is following months of few appointments.

According to Wisley, she and the LADs of the other Kansas Board of Regents institutions are considering changing the nature of Higher Education Day.

Community Relations Director Dougherty reported that the SGA is seeking ways to make Free Legal Counseling less intimidating.

Dougherty then announced that the next SGA Town Hall is scheduled for Feb. 6 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The organization will also release a promotional video that will explain who the SGA is, what they do and how to become involved in the organization.

During the committee reports, the Appropriations Committee heard one request and has three bills up for first while the Legislative & Political Action Committee reported they continued executive staff reviews.

The Allocations Committee used their report to explain to the Senate how the new allocations tool works. During this time, the committee also announced the preliminary deadline for allocations is approaching.

The Scholarship Environment Committee that student research is at an all-time high. This prompted University Provost Dr. Jill Arensdorf to provide an additional $4,000 for research.

Several senators, as members of the Advisory Councils for their colleges, reported what each council was doing to address departmental concerns.

Following the Open Forum’s discussion regarding on-campus diversity, the Senate read three new bills and a waiver. They then passed a bill proposing funding for Pre-Law Society trip to Kansas law schools.

The SGA meeting concluded with announcements. This included Finding Common Ground on Nov. 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, and the tree lighting on Dec. 3 at 5:30.

The Student Senate will reconvene on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.

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