WSGA considers change to constitution

Tanner Ballengee / Washburn Review

Students are letting their voices be heard and speaking up for change.

A new bill has been proposed to the Washburn Student Government Association about an amendment that will include a reserved spot on the student government for a person with a disability.

WSGA, first established in 1909, is a student-comprised group that acts as a representative in the interest of the university’s students. They are responsible for many of Washburn’s academic and extracurricular programs and services, including homecoming week activities, “Can Emporia,” the Safe Ride program, student organization funding, event advertisement and more.

The bill was proposed by current Washburn student Shawn Bryant, a senior political science major, who was once an affiliate with WSGA and will be graduating this May.

On Feb. 15, the full WSGA senate gathered to hear the bill, which stated that a permanent spot should be created on WSGA staff that would be reserved specifically for a student with a disability.

“Students with disabilities are underrepresented in student activities, attendance and making decisions,” said Bryant.

Bryant, a self-identified person with a disability, says that he feels the amendment is important because he would give students with disabilities a voice and would not single them out. Bryant said that he felt an actual student with a disability would better represent all of them.

“We don’t really know who our best advocate is, so we would want a peer that equally represents us,” said Bryant.

The student services office already does activities to help. Students with disabilities can apply for services within the student services office, located in Morgan Hall room 135. Student services will offer accommodations to those in need, such as providing in-class note takers, test readers/scribes, brailled materials and other adaptive technology.

The legislative branch of WSGA, comprised of 34 student senators, will be discussing and voting on the bill tonight in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union.

 “The last full senate meeting was a first reading of the bill,” said Taylor McGown, current president of WSGA. “This means the senators were not able to ask questions regarding the bill or discuss it.”

McGown, a senior biology/pre-dental major, said that she would not be able to give her opinion on the bill or amendment, as it has not yet been discussed in WSGA meetings.

McGown was elected president in March of 2011 along with vice president Michael Kitowski.