First off, I want to thank all of you who helped to black out Bramlage on Saturday – despite the tough loss, it was great to see the stands full and hear the noise of the crowd.
It’s been a crazy week in higher education. The state legislature announced that K-State’s funding will be cut to help balance the state budget. This will affect the programs and services K-State will be able to offer, particularly during the summer months. The fact that these cuts come eight months into the fiscal year is a curveball, but the University Budget Committee will meet on Friday to determine the best course of action moving forward.
Today, student leaders from SGA and other campus entities will travel to the capitol for State Higher Ed Day, where we’ll advocate on your behalf for issues important to Kansas students. We’ll be joined in Topeka by students from all five other state universities and Washburn University. We’ll be lobbying on behalf of a continuation of current higher education funding levels (before last week’s cuts), a sales tax rebate on the purchase of required textbooks, and the Lifeline 911 bills that began as the #YourLife platform in our campaign last spring.
Bills were recently introduced to the state House and Senate that would make Lifeline 911, which grants immunity from charges like minor in possession of alcohol for underage drinkers who seek medical attention for themselves or an acquaintance, a state law. The student body president at KU, Morgan Said, and I will testify before the House and Senate’s respective Judiciary Committees on behalf of the bills, and other student representatives will speak with legislators. This initiative has been a major focus of our time in office, but it’s worth a year of our time if this legislation saves even a single life. Students shouldn’t have to pay the ultimate price just for making a poor choice.
The sales tax rebate and higher education funding continuance initiatives will help keep your education affordable. We all have to buy textbooks for classes, and they’re a hefty investment that keep climbing in cost. Reducing the cost of this necessary purchase won’t just help students save a little money, it can even help local businesses stay competitive in a market that is increasingly dominated by big ticket, online retailers.
Finally, funding higher education is a great investment of our tax dollars – it’s been shown that for every dollar of taxpayer funding, Kansas Board of Regents institutions generated $11.94 of economic return. Furthermore, counties with a KBOR institution experienced higher rates of growth in the job market. Keeping our funding stable will help our universities to continue to provide quality educations.
Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in SGA Hears You Week last week. We love working with students to make K-State the best it can be, and we always welcome your feedback and advice. Please consider running for a position in SGA for the upcoming term; the filing deadline is this Friday!
Have a great week, and, as always, go Cats!
Reagan Kays, student body president
Cody Kennedy, student body vice president