SGA commits to protecting transgender community

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The Kansas State Student Governing Association unanimously passed a resolution Thursday evening expressing solidarity with the university’s transgender community.

The resolution states the senate’s commitment to “promoting just, lasting policies via governmental and administrative action” in response to recent legislation at state and federal levels that target the transgender communities.

The resolution specifically cites a need for such a statement of support from the senate in the wake of removal of regulations that protected transgender rights by President Donald Trump’s administration. The resolution also cited California’s recent ban on state-funded travel to certain states, including as Kansas, which the California government said discriminate against the LGBT community.

The senate passed a resolution recognizing the challenges Counseling Services faces in its upcoming move to Lafene Health Center. The Collegian previously reported on the move, which could take place as soon as January 2018.

Before voting on the bill, senators heard from Dorinda Lambert, director of Counseling Services.

“We did not seek this move, but we’re going to be good soldiers and do what’s best for campus,” Lambert said.

Stephen Kucera, senior in accounting and music and speaker pro tempore, said he has used Counseling Services and was concerned the move could make counseling less available to students who need it most.

“I came from a religious background that taught me if you needed to go talk to a psychologist, therapist or counselor that you just weren’t good enough when it came to faith or that you weren’t holding on to God enough and that you just need to pray more,” Kucera said. “My third year of college, I finally broke free from that mold and went to counseling because there was stuff I needed to work on.”

The resolution urges K-State administration to assist in the transition of Counseling Services to Lafene, specifically by designating parking for Counseling Services at the new location, providing clear signage to help students find Counseling Services, improving ATA bus routes by adding additional stops at the building and addressing the “stigma of locating Counseling Services in a medical facility” by renaming the building to reflect the diverse offices located inside.

In an effort to give more of a voice to multicultural groups on campus, the senate voted to create the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which will act as a “committee of oversight, advisory and action on issues related to diversity and inclusion” on campus.

The committee will consist of the student body president as chair, as well as the presidents of the Black Student Union, the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, Asian American Student Union, the Native American Student Association, the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, the Gender Collective, the International Coordinating Council, the American Ethnic Studies Student Association, the Feminists Igniting Resistance and Empowerment, the Veterans Student Organization, the Muslim Students Association and a member representing disabled persons appointed by the Student Access Center.

Non-voting members will include the student body president’s cabinet’s international affairs director and multicultural affairs director. The student body president can also appoint other members as deemed necessary.

Following the expansion of the intern program at its last meeting, the senate voted to create a second intern coordinator position to better balance the responsibilities of the role between two people.

The senate failed a bill to require student senators to attend two approved diversity events during their terms by a vote of 19-31-0. Absences from the diversity events would have counted as unexcused senate absences, putting senators at risk of expulsion. Senators expressed concern the bill was too general and would do little to actually address the issue of diversity.

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I’m Rafael Garcia, co-editor-in-chief at the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism, campus visit coordinator for the JMC Ambassadors, and the vice president of social events and communication for the Edgerley-Franklin Urban Leaders. I come from Emporia, Kansas, home of the Twinkie, world’s best tasting tap water and journalist William Allen White. I’m passionate about journalism because I love people and their stories, and I want to find and tell those stories here on campus. In my spare time, I’m a Chihuahua wrangler, doughnut enthusiast, Netflix watcher and racquetball player. Contact me at [email protected]