Local, state talking points

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LGBTQ community rally to protest rescinded executive order

According to WIBW, the LBGTQ community and its supporters rallied outside the Statehouse in Topeka Saturday for over two hours.

The rally, protesting Gov. Sam Brownback’s reversal of the executive order that protected state employees from being fired or harassed on the basis of their sexual or gender orientation, was also an expression of support for H.R. 2323, which would officially add sexual and gender identity to Kansas anti-discrimination laws.

K-State to maintain LGBT protections

According to Manhattan Mercury, President Kirk Schulz stated that K-State will continue to offer legal protection to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, and that the university is not required to redact the policy after Gov. Sam Brownback rescinded the executive order last week.

“Our university governance bodies have endorsed principles that affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person while valuing diversity,” Schulz wrote in a statement. “… And we want to attract the best and brightest from all over the world to come to Kansas State University, and I just want us to have an environment where there is no discrimination of any type, regardless of background … We want our GLBT colleagues to feel welcome and supported in the university community.”

Schulz testifies K-State’s support public universities’ flat funding

K-State and other public universities are supporting Brownback’s budget plan for the 2016-17 school year, according to Manhattan Mercury.

As it sits for Fiscal year 2015, the recommended funding for K-State in 2016 would allot about $105.2 million for the university, $14.9 million for the College of Veterinary Medicine and $47.1 million for Research and Extension.

In 2017 the funding amounts would be expected to increase slightly for fiscal year 2017, with K-State being funded $107.6 million, the College of Veterinary Medicine receiving $15.2 million, and Research and Extension being given approximately $47.9 million.

“It’s always give and take,” Republican Sen. Tom Arpike said to the Mercury. “Our student population is always variable from year to year, and I think being flexible at the university level is a very good attitude to have. (I’m) very pleased that all the universities that have spoken so far have realized (the state of Kansas is) having a tough year, and we can make it through it, but you know, it’s a coordination of efforts.”

Despite flat funding for future years, K-State is expected to return $3.4 million to the state by March 7 for this fiscal year. President Kirk Schulz stated they do not know where the funds will be pulled from within the university yet, but that a statement will be released to the public detailing all cuts once the decision is made.

Architecture student wins APDesign contest, scholarship

According to K-State press release, Lanting Su, graduate student in architecture, earned a $5,000 scholarship through a College of Architecture, Planning and Design competition sponsored by Manko Window Systems in Manhattan. Su won the contest with her hypothetical project design of the Crossroads Brewery in Kansas City.

“Of all the exceptional projects they saw, the jury members felt that Lanting’s was the best piece of complete architecture,” said Nathan Howe, associate professor of architecture and Su’s studio instructor. “From how she created a transparent ground floor which can open up as a front porch to the city, to the way a skylight is critically placed above the tanks to let light stream down the brewery components of the building, to the rusted metal screen where the brewery’s use of wheat is embedded into a perforated pattern, each of these made for a beautiful holistic design. I am quite proud of the work in my studio and I think Lanting exemplifies what a talented group of students we have.”

K-State not quite open with open records request

An open records request by the Topeka Capital-Journal resulted in 11 pages of heavily redacted material, according to the newspaper. Reporters requested all emails between K-State Institute for Commercialization President Kent Glasscock and Shawn Sullivan, state budget director, from November to late January.

Questions were previously raised about Sullivan giving certain lobbyists a preview of Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal. K-State cited an exemption in the Kansas Open Records Act, KSA 45-221a(20) that gives disclosure protection for notes, preliminary drafts and documents where “opinions are expressed or policies or actions are proposed.”

The university is not required to redact or withhold documents under the exemption. In an interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal, Doug Anstaett, director of the Kansas Press Association, said lawmakers calculating the state budget outside of public view is the opposite of open government.

“In other words, all the debate’s taking place in private about the merits of every single thing they want to do when open government says that’s the give and take that’s supposed to take place in public,” Anstaett said.

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