SGA vetoes bill, reports 30 percent increase in students running for office

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During an unusual dressed-down meeting in the Big 12 Room, the Student Governing Association conducted business as usual despite the presence of jeans and K State T-shirts in place of suits and ties. The Student Senate received visits from three speakers, heard an update on the status of the Union bookstore and introduced bills and resolutions.

Megan Walden, SGA social media chair and senior in industrial engineering, informed the group at the end of the meeting that 174 students are running to be a part of student government next year — a 30 percent increase over last year. Walden encouraged current student senators to spread the word about the elections.

“A lot of students don’t know the election is going on,” Walden said. “We need to raise awareness.”

To begin the meeting, Bill Smriga, K-State Student Union director and student life representative, informed the senate that as of July 1, Follet Higher Education Group Inc. will replace Varney’s as the bookstore in the Union.

Before any new bills could be introduced, student body president Nate Spriggs, senior in agricultural economics, announced that he had vetoed another bill. During the last meeting, Spriggs vetoed the first bill of his term and the first in recent memory. The bill was an allocation of money for Students for Environmental Action to bring in a speaker; however, due to the weather, the speaker could not make it and was unable to reschedule.

“I don’t not support that event,” Spriggs explained. “I [vetoed the bill] so Student Government could give the money to another student organization.”

Had the bill not been vetoed, the funds would have been set aside and become unavailable to another group.

Next, the other bills from the previous meeting were discussed. Much controversy accompanied a bill that proposed distributing a survey among K-State students to vote on campus smoking policies. Kyle Nuss, senior in architectural engineering, said there will never be a ban on smoking around the residence halls, making a campus-wide smoking ban impossible.

The smoking vote bill passed, as did other bills from the last meeting allocating funds to the Asian-American Student Union and the African Student Union. Senators also passed a bill suggesting that SGA spend the City University Fund, which contains revenue generated by the campus sales tax, on improving the K-State Student Union.

New bills proposed allocations to 4-H for a trip to their national convention, to the Egyptian Student Association to bring in a speaker to discuss current affairs in the Middle East, to the Harry Potter Alliance to bring in four wizard rock bands to raise funds for children’s literacy, and to groups requesting funds for 2013 International Week and for a Minorities in Agriculture conference. A resolution was also introduced regarding the collegiate housing infrastructure.

The meeting featured speakers from the alternative service committee, who discussed classified employees becoming university support employees, and a representative from K-State athletics who encouraged students to attend the final women’s home basketball game against Texas Tech this Saturday at 12:30 p.m.

Next, Manhattan City Commission candidate Rich Jankovich spoke to senators about the importance of representing the K-State community.

“Represent your school all the way through; there is always a light on you as a senator,” Jankovich said.

Jankovich went on to stress the importance of voting in the upcoming city commission election, explaining that every vote counts.

The senate will reconvene with the usual dress code next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Big 12 Room in the Union.

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