Tensions rise at Nov. 10 Washburn Student Government meeting


Adelia Lawrenz

Sweet Release: WSGA members immediately check in with friends once the intense meeting ends. The meeting was rife with emotional moments from Daija Coleman’s powerful testimony to the disagreement during a few orders of business on Wednesday, Nov 10, 2021.

On Wednesday, Nov 10, 2021, the Washburn Student Government Association assembled at 6:30 p.m. in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. This meeting in particular held many high emotional moments and was also longer than usual.

Shayden Hanes, director of campus and community affairs, reported that she has been working with Daija Coleman, a senior education major at Washburn, on legislation regarding the accessibility of the building housing the education department, Carnegie Hall. She also has been busy helping with funding requests, Bods Connect and ordering giveaway items for WSGA’s participation in success week.

Ariel Smith, director of special events, reported that she has been working on homecoming wrap-up, a homecoming summary for use in WSGA’s newsletter, and is working on finding lecturers for the event she will be planning in the spring semester.

Wyatt Carter, director of communications and marketing, reported that he has sent out the WSGA newsletter and has been keeping the social media side running smoothly.

Megan Dorantes, director of diversity and inclusion, reported that she was incredibly pleased with the reception of her presentation that she gave to the sorority, Alpha Phi, on the topic of diversity and inclusion. She also shared that she is open to similar opportunities in the future. She has also continued her work on WSGA’s podcast, “The Bodcast”, previously known as “yourWSGA”. The next episode will be released soon.

Eric Rorstrom, director of budget, reported that he has reimbursed several student organizations to complete their approved funding requests, which included Black Student Union, Delta Sigma, Zeta Tau Alpha and an internal branch of WSGA; campus and community events. He also continued working on funding policy updates which he has been busy with for the last few weeks.

Jaron Caffrey, chief of staff, reported that though there were three applicants for Senator recorded on the agenda, only one could make it the the meeting and the other two will attend a meeting at a later date to be voted and sworn in to the senate. He noted that it is very exciting that WSGA is near a full senate. He also shared that due to his graduation at the end of this fall semester, he will no longer be present at WSGA and a new chief of staff would need to be chosen for the spring semester.

Dylan Babcock, vice president, reported that he has been working to create surveys about the on campus dining options and is preparing for the several meetings he will attend in the coming week. He also sadly shared that, like Caffrey, he too would be departing from WSGA at the end of fall semester due to his graduation. Lastly, he shared his appreciation for the work of Daija Coleman organizing March on Inclusion and the strong attendance from WSGA members. He concluded by mentioning that WSGA is still looking for two members to be involved in the Americans with Disabilities Act committee.

President Abby Trautman reported briefly that there are very few WSGA meetings left in the semester. WSGA’s next meeting is on Nov. 17 with no meeting the following week during Thanksgiving break. There will be two meetings in December, one on the 1st and an optional meeting on the 8th.

Trautman also shared that she has preemptively made the decision to nominate Shayden Hanes, current director of campus and community affairs, to take over the role of vice-president for the spring semester. Though to make her official, the nomination would be voted on later in the meeting. She also announced that applications for the chief of staff position opened Nov. 10, 2021 at 10 p.m. and are set to close Nov. 19 at 11:59 p.m.

Daniel Lopez, campus and community affairs chairperson, reported that the committee is finalizing the dates for success week events and their order for the giveaway items will be arriving very soon.

Katherine Cook, communications chairperson, reported that she has been in contact with Crystal Leming, director of counseling services, in order to address the issues counseling services faces and intends to set up a meeting with her.

SB 21-22 #060: Kandel Appointment and SB 21-22 #062: Wood Appointment, were both tabled because the nominees were unable to make it to the meeting.

SB 21-22 #061: Antonio Martinez Appointment, the Washburn Student Government Association voted on appointing senate applicant Martinez to the WSGA Senate. Motion was passed and Martinez was sworn in by Advisor Isaiah Collier, then he went to join the senate.

SR 20-21 #015: Accessibility in Carnegie Hall, the Washburn Student Government Association is committed to raising awareness for the issue of accessibility of Carnegie Hall, and plans to promote events addressing the issue but also call on Washburn Administration for action. Coleman, who is not a member of WSGA, originated this bill in collaboration with the campus and community affairs committee, but she has also been raising awareness on campus for weeks now and planned a march that took place Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. Motion passed.

“Instead of asking the class to be moved, students have decided that they would rather crawl out of their wheelchairs and crawl up four flights of stairs to go to class as their able bodied peers walk around them.” Coleman said. “I’m not doing this for me, but I’m doing this for all of us, who have tried, and failed, and will benefit from the path being paved.”

SR 21-22 #016, WSGA will recognize and celebrate veteran’s day in honor of all veterans. WSGA also recognizes that Washburn has a large population of veterans, making the holiday all that much more important to celebrate. Motion passed.

SR 21-22 #017, WSGA has identified that during November and December many people, students and faculty alike, experience higher rates of anxiety and depression. Because this time has several holidays, a potential cause for the decreased quality of mental health can be related to reconnecting with family during the holidays, as some people may have poor relationships with their family members or are financially stressed by the expectations to travel, give gifts, etc. these holidays bring. Motion passed.

SB 21-22 #063, WSGA’s campus and community affairs committee requested $2,000 in funding for food and drinks to serve at their success week events. Motion passed.

SB 21-22 #065, in the hopes of an easily understandable and efficient constitution, WSGA has gone through their constitution and changed some minor wording to allow a more easily comprehensible read. Motion passed, but will be read over a second time at a different meeting.

SB 21-22 #065, WSGA has been reviewing their by-laws and changing minor details and wording for a more intuitive structure. Motion passed.

SB 21-22 #066, WSGA’s GPA requirement for maintaining office as a cabinet member is 2.5, except for the president and vice president, who are held to the higher standard of a 3.0 GPA. This bill proposed to lower the GPA requirement of the president and vice president to be on par with the rest of the cabinet in recognition that being a WSGA cabinet member can be difficult. The floor was torn between supporting the bill and being against it. Some arguments in support were that GPA does not define a person or their ability to lead, and occasionally a WSGA responsibility may cause someone to miss out on class. Meanwhile, the arguments against were that WSGA members are students first and foremost, but the president and vice president are the leaders of the cabinet and senate, therefore they should be held to higher standards. The role someone has in WSGA should not be detrimental to their grades as that is not sustainable for the organization. A roll call vote was taken, in which each member votes separately at the call of their name, and by a slim margin, the motion failed.

SB 21-22 #067, WSGA recognizes that any student enrolled in a course at Washburn must pay a $55 fee which goes towards WSGA funding and in turn allows that student to use all campus amenities without cost. However, the requirement for WSGA senators is to maintain six credit hours, and as such, even students who may be enrolled in as little as one credit hour still pay a fee that goes to WSGA, but do not have the opportunity to represent themself. WSGA was once again split over whether they should support this or not. Arguments in favor included: the unfair nature of students ineligible to join are still required to pay the fee, few students with less than six credit hours will be interested in joining so it would not matter much in terms of competition. Some arguments opposed to the proposal were; six credit hours is the minimum to be considered a part-time student, so it is not a high demand, student nominations cannot choose one applicant over another based on the number of credit hours as it would be a form of discrimination, which means students more involved with Washburn may be beat out by those with less involvement, and that WSGA should continue enphasizing high standards. Once again a roll call vote was used, and the motion failed.

SB 21-22 #068: Shayden Hanes Appointment, because of the timing of the graduation of Babcock a new vice president must be appointed for the spring semester. President Trautman has appointed Hanes because through their work together, she knows that they as a pair are very compatible and Hanes is an exemplary member of WSGA. Motion passed.

“She’s done an outstanding job in the cabinet so I’m really excited to see her moving up in the world.” said Ethan Nelson, senator and vice-chairperson, and a long-time friend of Hanes.

SB 21-22 #069, the multicultural sorority, Gamma Phi Omega requested $5,000 in funding for their tamale sale fundraiser. Though typically food related funding must get approval from Chartwells, the event is taking place off campus and is therefore exempt from this rule. Motion passed.

For roll call to wrap up the lengthy meeting, the question was, “Do you prefer turkey or ham, or something else?” There was a friendly rivalry between ham and turkey enjoyers, but other than those, the popular alternative answers were mac n’ cheese, prime rib, bratwurst, lamb, tamales, salad and oddly, “I abstain,” which was followed by a round of laughter.

Edited by: Ellie Walker, Kyle Manthe