Nov. 17 student government meeting discusses old and new business


Adelia Lawrenz

Full House: WSGA now boasts a full senate, with each and every seat occupied. The new senators, Bella Wood (left) and Rajesh Kandel (right of Wood) were sworn in this past Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021.

During the weekly meeting for Washburn Student Government Associations the hot issue of the day was the credit hour requirements for senators of WSGA. This meeting took place Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kansas Room on the upper floor of the Memorial Union.

There were two new senators sworn in, meaning the Senate is now completely full. Also, legislation was passed regarding parental grief and violence against Native American women, and the issue of Washburn’s divestment in fossil fuels was once again brought to the table after it was tabled indefinitely a few weeks ago.

SB 21-22 #072: Senate Eligibility Requirements. After reviewing the WSGA by-laws, Parliamentarian Zac Surritt, and Ethan Nelson, senator and vice-chairperson of the allocations committee, found that the requirement to be a senator is to be enrolled in six credit hours. Six credit hours is the minimum for being declared a part-time student. However, they felt it was unfair to keep this requirement, as data compiled by Surritt states that 17% of the student body took less than six credits the past spring semester of 2021, and any student who takes even one course must pay a $55 activity fee each semester. Nearly half of this fee goes to WSGA. So, it was proposed that the credit hour requirement be lowered to three credit hours to allow students under six credit hours the chance to represent themselves.

Those opposed argued that WSGA members should be held to a higher standard, as they are leaders of the student body and must be involved in Washburn life to have a good idea of what might benefit the students. Those in favor argued that anyone involved at Washburn should be represented, regardless of credit hours, and that it was unfair that they were charged the fee when they had no chance to join the organization.The motion failed as it did not reach the required two-thirds majority.

“It does not seem fair to me for someone to pay $110 a year as due and be told that they can’t be a member of this,” Nelson said. “That to me speaks of being unfair.”

SB 21-22 #060: Rajesh Kandel Appointment and SB 21-22 #062: Bella Wood Appointment, WSGA voted on the acceptance of senator nominees Kandel and Wood. Both motions were passed and both nominees were sworn into the senate by Dr. Eric Grospitch. Their membership with WSGA means that there is now a full senate, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in recent years.

SR 21-22 #019: Parental Grief on College Campuses Awareness and Support, was made in support of students who have lost their parents during or before their time in college. Ariel Smith, director of special events, is the originator of this legislation and feels strongly about the subject as she personally had lost her mother during her sophomore year.

“Most of us that have lost one of our parents feel very, very alone. And I feel like they need to know that they’re not alone.” Smith said.

SR 21-22 #020: Violence toward Native American Women Awareness, is made in the effort to spread recognition for the disproportionate amount of violence indigenous women face. With the risk of violence, sexual violence and murder higher for Indigenous women than anglo-American women, WSGA felt like this was a pertinent issue to raise awareness for, especially during Native American heritage month. The motion was passed.

SR 21-22 #018: Acknowledging Washburn’s Divestment in Fossil Fuels. Though this issue has come up multiple times in the past through SR 21-22 #012 and SR 21-22 #010, those versions of the legislation were tabled indefinitely due to a disagreement about the language’s confrontational nature and actions outlined within those legislations. However, the persistence of the originator, Senator Sierra Jeter, has paid off as this version went much smoother due to it focusing on WSGA’s recognition of Washburn’s effort to divest their investments in fossil fuel associated organizations. The motion was passed.

SB 21-22 #070: Funding Policy Apparel Edit. Because it has been a recent trendfor student organizations to need more than the allowed $500 for apparel funding requests, it was proposed that WSGA change their apparel funding maximum to $1000 to better meet the needs of students. Motion passed.

SB 21-22 #073: Smith Appointment. Ariel Smith, currently the special events director, has been nominated to take over the position of Campus and Community Affairs Director for the spring semester because Shayden Hanes, the current director, will be serving as vice president in the spring semester. Motion passed.

SB 21-22 #074: Young Appointment. Adam Young, legislative director, has been nominated as Chief of Staff to replace Jaron Caffrey who will be graduating at the end of the fall semester. Motion passed.

Edited by: Ellie Walker, Kyle Manthe