SGA prepares for end of semester

SGA prepares for end of the year


Tiger Media Network

Senators heard updates from executive staff members and learned about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Fort Hays during Thursday’s penultimate Student Government Association meeting. 

SGA President Ella Burrows said the university is proposing a 6% tuition increase and a 2.3% fee increase for next year. However, the increases have to be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents before they can go into effect. KBOR will hear the proposal at its May meeting and vote on it in June. 

“(President Tisa) Mason will be here next week and she’ll be going more in-depth about that increase,” Burrows said. “If you have questions about why we’re increasing tuition, those can be directed toward her.”

According to Legislative Affairs Director Austin Ruff, the 2.3% fee increase is an inflationary measure. It will be added to the increases the Legislative and Political Action Committee recommended and senators approved earlier in the semester.

The proposal follows a $9.68 per credit hour tuition increase that went into effect this year.

Burrows also announced who will be joining her and Vice President Emma Day on the executive staff for next year.

  • Treasurer – Jackson Sinsel
  • Legislative Affairs Director – Grace McCord
  • Public Relations Director – Brenna Schwien
  • Diversity Equity and Inclusion Director – Joanna Carrillo

Assistant Professor of Business Communications Rose Helens-Hart was the guest speaker for the meeting was. She spoke about diversity, equity and inclusion training available on campus.

According to Helens-Hart, significant progress in DEI comes from actually engaging in certain scenarios. 

“Training for being more aware of diversity, inclusion and equity, and then behavioral change, is more effective when we focus on skill-based training versus one-off lectures or even full classes,” she said.

Helens-Hart suggested the Intercultural Development Inventory as a starting point for groups to “make this a really equitable, welcoming place for everybody.” Brett Whitaker and Donnette Noble from Leadership Programs administer the assessment on campus.

“(The assessment) is used by millions of people,” Helens-Hart said. “It’s also validated for different cultural backgrounds, so it’s not just a group of people from the United States that this would help reveal their personal orientation towards diversity.”

Whitaker and Noble can go over results from the assessment with groups and individuals, which helps guide them on how they can be more interculturally developed.

“(Noble and Whitaker) are very good at respectfully challenging people,” Helens-Hart said.

Helens-Hart did note current state legislation that aims to reduce funding for DEI efforts in higher education. 

“Even on our own campus, we’ve had positions dissolved that were dedicated to these efforts,” she said. “In the most recent hiring process in our department, we were no longer allowed to ask candidates to provide statements on their understanding of what diversity means on a college campus. We were advised not even to say the word ‘diversity’ throughout the hiring process.”

However, she said they are still able to consider how to make the university a welcoming place for everyone.

The final SGA meeting of the spring semester is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 2. The location is to be determined.