On Monday, Nov. 17, the Privilege Fee Committee voted 15-0 to suspend funding to the K-State Marching Band by 2012. The vote sent shock waves throughout the marching band and throughout the K-State community, and here is why.
For starters, the marching band is an excellent group that plays at sporting events, homecoming, groundbreaking ceremonies, social events throughout campus and numerous parades in the community. Yet senators voiced to Dr. Tracz a sentiment that was also seen in the formal statement issued by the SGA concerning the Privilege Fee’s vote: “The majority of K-State students do not receive direct benefits from the band unless they attend athletic or community sponsored events.”
I think that really insulted the band community. I’m sort of shocked that SGA reiterated that in its official statement. The way I read that is “we don’t think you do anything important.” That, or SGA doesn’t go to sporting events — like the majority of Kansas State students — or homecoming, or, well I think you get it.
Another reason SGA is now feeling a tremendous backlash in its handling of this situation is because of its justification for cutting the marching band’s funds. In the official statement offered by SGA concerning the Privilege Fee Committee’s vote it says, “Funding should not continue to come from students that are facing large increases in the cost of attending K-State.”
The cost of the K-State Marching Band, according to the SGA budget for the 2008-2009 school year is exactly $146,057. Each student at Kansas State pays $3.99 to the marching band for their initial 12 credit hours at Kansas State University. It then costs an additional $0.94 to support the marching band if a student plans to take 13 credit hours. Every credit hour after that costs an excruciating $0.28 for all students taking.
Finally SGA shows its true motive in its official statement, in which it states, “Other bands receive their budget from a variety of sources, including their music schools, athletic departments, foundation contributions, fundraising efforts, university provosts, alumni offices, course fees, and university president’s offices.”
SGA wanted to pressure the Athletic Department to cover the marching bands bill. Forgetting that the marching band consists of 342 dedicated students, SGA has acted as though it were dealing with paper rather than people. In an attempt to try and save money for themselves, K-State’s SGA is risking something valuable to the student body, and nobody is happy with them. SGA has been disrespectful to the band by saying it did not benefit the majority of the student body, when it clearly does. It is using political rhetoric to convince the student body that it is worth it to not fund the band to reduce student fees when the money saved only amounts to a No. 2 combo at McDonald’s a semester.
I think it’s clear most student’s are completely comfortable in paying their share for the marching band. I gather this from the Facebook group that has more than 6,000 members. SGA should take note, this group is larger than the number of people that voted in its presidential election last semester. If SGA does vote to take funding from the band, there will be hell to pay. Well, at least a few senate seats will be lost.