A resolution in support of a campuswide tobacco ban passed by a tiebreaker at the Student Governing Association meeting Thursday.
The first vote on the tobacco ban failed 24-26, according to the vote counting system. Multiple members of SGA raised concerns, however, with the tally, citing their own counts showing that the resolution actually tied 25-25 or passed 26-24.
A second vote was called, and there was a 24-24 tie. Seven senators were absent from the meeting, and two senators left the meeting after the first vote. The tiebreaker vote fell to Kurt Lockwood, speaker of the senate and senior in agricultural economics. He voted in favor, and the resolution passed 25-24.
According to the resolution, “The Kansas State University Student Governing Association supports a change in the official campus smoking policy to no longer allow smoking, use of electronic cigarettes or use of any form of tobacco on the Kansas State University Manhattan campus.”
The resolution is only a recommendation to K-State President Kirk Schulz, who has the final say in the university’s policy.
The close nature of SGA’s approval mirrors the previous 31-27-2 vote by the faculty senate. With the divisiveness of the issue, it is unclear if Schulz would view the vote as a mandate for action, Harlan said.
“Pass or fail, whatever Kurt (Lockwood) decided, remember this was a recommendation to the president (of the university),” Bill Harlan, SGA advisor and director of student activities and services, said. “He will see the vote total … the fact that students don’t support this either way, they’re split for different reasons, that’s all recorded, that’s all going to be made obvious to the president. He will do with it as he sees fit.”
The opposition to the resolution was over various concerns with a complete tobacco ban.
An attempt to amend the resolution was made early in the debate process by Garrett Kays, student senator and senior in agricultural economics. The amendment would have created designated smoking areas instead of banning tobacco everywhere on campus.
The amendment ultimately failed 23-27. It was opposed in part because the current university policy already includes designated smoking areas, so the amendment would be the same as the current policy.
The operations budget for the K-State Student Union was increased by 1 percent to $1,716,698 for fiscal year 2017 and will drop back down to $1,698,711 for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. SGA decided on the increase because the Union’s utilities expenses have increased due to the construction while revenue has dropped due to less business.
A continuance of the Union reserve and replacement privilege fee of $25,000 was set for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
SGA created a Student Design Center privilege fee of $65,000 for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
A committee was created to investigate the election structure of student body president and vice president elections. One of the motivations for forming the committee is the low participation in SGA elections, according to the meeting agenda.
Amendments to the SGA bylaws and constitution concerning graduate student senator seat allocation and appointments were passed.
SGA introduced travel allocations to Engineers Without Borders, Apparel Marketing and Design Alliance, Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club and Pi Sigma Epsilon. Allocations for Open House Funds were also introduced.
Amendments were introduced to the SGA bylaws concerning the election of the speaker of the student senate.