Due to a surprise appearance of K-State President Kirk Schulz, the discussion of a potential on-campus tobacco ban and the recommended uses of city-university funds, the weekly Student Governing Association meeting ran extraordinarily long on Thursday.
During his visit with SGA, Schulz responded to a senator’s question about a Thursday CNN article that detailed a 2007 on-campus rape. The article, “The Untold Financial Cost of Rape,” recounted the story of the residence-hall rape of the victim, Madeleine.
Though Schulz said that he has yet to read the article, he still commented on the issue.
“We want zero tolerance for sexual assaults on our campus, period,” Schulz said. “I think when you go back that far and people are trying to say, ‘Well, this should have happened differently,’ none of the people involved or engaged with making those decisions are still at K-State, still in leadership positions.”
However, Pat Bosco, current vice president of student life and dean of students, was the associate vice president for institutional advancement and dean of students at the time.
According to the CNN article, the victim’s father, Richard, sent a letter to the university and “the dean of student life responded to his letter in an email dated more than two weeks later, on January 7, 2008. In that brief email, the father’s questions go largely unanswered.”
The CNN article went on to say, “CNN provided Kansas State with a detailed account of the family’s description of their experience, including the emails they shared with CNN. Initially, Kansas State spokesman Steve Logback responded that ‘due to privacy,’ the school ‘will not comment on specific cases.'”
Schulz said that although the response by the university is limited because it happened “so long ago,” the university should use it as a learning experience to see how to respond more appropriately in the future.
When asked, Schulz said that the university currently investigates only on-campus allegations of sexual assault, but that he would support a change to allow the university to investigate off-campus allegations.
Schulz also spoke about race relations on campus, saying that part of the K-State 2025 goals is a diverse and inclusive campus.
“Just because we haven’t had some of the same sort of marches and the publicity that our sister institutions and others have had doesn’t mean that we don’t have issues with racism and other types of things at Kansas State University,” Schulz said.
He said that he wished for a civil dialogue and discourse, because everyone involved are still “members of the K-State family.”
Andy Hurtig, student body president and senior in accounting, spoke later spoke about a breakfast he attended at the President’s Residence with various groups and student leadership on Nov. 12.
He said that though the breakfast was a good first step, there needs to be continued discussion on the issue among university and student stakeholders.
“As student leaders, we all have the responsibility to be part of the solution,” Hurtig said. “Because the events that have happened have showed that if at times you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And it is important for us to be on the forefront of addressing these issues on campus because they definitely are real.”
Schulz also spoke about the university’s concealed carry policy in relation to HB 2025, a Kansas law that was passed in 2013. He said that he will send out a letter to the public soon, but the administration will not take any political position on the legislation.
Schulz said the people in charge of determining the university’s policy will proceed with the assumption that the law will remain as written, promising that the group will proceed in a “responsible way.”
When asked, Schulz offered that the new “enrollment task force” has just started meeting and is led by Peter Dorhout, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Derek Jackson, director of Housing and Dining Services. He added that the enrollment task force would likely make its first public interim report in January.
Schulz said that while the campus construction can sometimes be a “pain,” he is impressed with the flexibility of students and staff and that he will be proud of the new facilities; especially the K-State Welcome Center, engineering building and business building.
He reminded SGA that counseling services is available for students, saying that this is a stressful time of the year academically.
Schulz said that the university’s tobacco policy does not need approval from the Board of Regents. While he stressed that tobacco use is a “personal choice” and that he does not want to “infringe on rights,” he does think that a proposed ban on tobacco products on campus is a “positive step.”
SGA introduced a resolution in support of a university policy to completely ban tobacco and smoke products from campus. The resolution calls for a one-year implementation deadline of Jan. 1, 2017.
Hurtig, who is one of the resolution’s authors, spoke on the issue and answered questions from senators.
He said that any policy decision is ultimately up to the university, but said the current policy is too ambiguous.
Hurtig said the health of others is the main concern in the policy, but that electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco would likely be included in the ban.
Enforcement of such a policy is not included in the resolution. Hurtig said that he does not see fines as a means of enforcement, instead, he prefers it to be about “respect.”
“Obviously, understanding that there will be people who don’t comply, the best way that we can respond to that is simply tapping them on the shoulder and asking, ‘Hey, we’re a tobacco-free campus, can you please not do that? Thank you,'” Hurtig said. “Most of the times, hopefully they’ll comply.”
According to the resolution, a March 5-6, 2013 vote in the SGA general election found that almost 37 percent of voters were in favor of a complete smoking ban on campus. It was acknowledged that those numbers may be outdated, but Hurtig said there are no plans for another survey.
The issue was raised about whether a complete ban would disproportionately affect international students. Hurtig said that it is about respect for each other, health education and giving people a potential reason to quit, adding that tobacco users can “just step off campus.”
He added that there were discussions with international students last year and that people had concerns with a policy change. At the time, SGA was considering a partial ban of tobacco, allowing designated smoking areas. He said that there have not been any discussions with international student groups since the policy suggestion was changed to a complete ban.
The resolution will be discussed at the next meeting, which will be Dec. 3.
SGA also passed a resolution recommending several uses for over $600,000 in City/University Special Projects Fund money for calendar year 2017.
Included in the recommendations are $100,000 for North Campus Corridor improvements; almost $150,000 for the realignment of the intersection at Lover’s Lane and Thurston Street; $200,000 for K-State Student Union Forum Hall ADA renovations and improvements; $30,000 for Colbert Hills special assessment support; $30,000 for a traffic flow study; $100,000 for lighting additions to the path from Jardine to College Avenue; $15,000 for a rain garden study at Hale Library; $35,000 for the Pioneer Lane sidewalk expansion between Manhattan Avenue and McCain Lane; and $2,500 for bike repair stations at Hale Library and Cardwell Hall.
Several student groups received allocation funding from SGA.
There were four on-campus event allocations. First, the WellCAT Ambassadors received $1,260 for “Fit To Be Me Week.” It will be a week of events from Feb. 22-26, concerning eating disorders and healthy body images. Audrey Banach, Miss Kansas 2014 and K-State alum, has been invited to speak.
The Kansas State University Qualitative Research Student Organization received $3,000 to host Joycelyn Wilson, an Emmy-nominated film producer and Hip Hop Archive alum, to present “Black Girl ‘Becoming:’ Autoethnography through a Hip Hop Imagination.”
Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma received $2,300 to host Jack Brndiar as a guest soloist at the wind ensemble and wind symphony concert and to talk with students. Brndiar is a director of the brass choir at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory and is a trumpet player in the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and the Opera Cleveland Orchestra.
Audacity A Capella received $550 for its winter concert.
Then, there were three travel allocations: The a capella group In A Chord received $300 for eight members to perform in Neodesha, Kansas; the Society of Composers Inc. received $400 to attend a regional conference in Wichita; and the Wildcat Wind Power Team received $800 to send a group of students to the American Wind Energy Association Conference, in New Orleans. The team will enter a wind turbine into a competition.
SGA appointed several people to positions for 2015-16.
Logan Britton, senior in agricultural economics, will be elections commissioner.
Maddie Musil, junior in political science, will be associate attorney general and deputy attorney general-residence life.
Colin Halpin, senior in history, will be chancellor of the Student Tribunal.
Justices of the Student Tribunal will be Tim Demel, senior in communication studies, Jessica Wheeler, senior in biochemistry, Garrison Coker, sophomore in business administration, and Lauren Sherwood, sophomore in sociology.
Jonah Hall, junior in economics, will be chair of the Student Review Board.
Justices of the Student Review Board will be Trevor Splichal, sophomore in civil engineering, Ryan Hoover, senior in finance, Sarah Pride, sophomore in family studies and human services, and Amber Harvey, junior in apparel and textiles.
SGA introduced several allocation bills to vote on at the next meeting.
Allocation bills for on-campus events include $1,310 for the Kansas State Meat Science Association and $6,500 for the Students of Cultural Studies.
Travel allocation bills include $400 for the American Society of Civil Engineers; $300 for the Veterinary Business Management Association; $500 for the Block and Bridle Club; $656.64 for the Pre-Dental Club; $1000 for the American Institute of Architecture Students; $900 for the Family Consumer Science Education Interest Group; $800 for the National Association For Music Education Collegiate; $1000 for the National Society of Black Engineers; and $1000 for the Wildlife and Outdoor Enterprise Management Club.
Amendments were introduced to the Green Action Fund bylaws and statutes.