Funding, safety and diversity problems at K-State were brought to light during the K-State Speech Forum. On Thursday, six students took to the podium in Town Hall of the Leadership Studies Building to call students to action in improving the university.
Both Emily Holliday, sophomore in communication studies, and Joshua Karimi, sophomore in secondary education, said they found a lack of support in diversity due to weak programs. According to the Office of the Registrar Enrollment Summary for Fall 2014, about 9 percent of students are international students and about 14 percent are considered part of the diverse population. Holliday and Karimi said they believe these populations are not getting the attention or resources they deserve.
“I think what it really comes down to is the fact that it is hard for us to interact with people that we perceive to be different than us,” Holliday said.
Holliday said she proposed forming a community composed of 11 international students and 11 domestic students that take two K-State 8 courses together that tie to culture as well as live together on a cluster floor.
“If you start facilitating conversations about culture, this funny thing happens and we realize we aren’t so different after all,” Holliday said.
Karimi said the current American Ethnic Studies and Black Studies programs are much too small and underfunded at K-State, especially in comparison to the University of Kansas.
“Kansas State University doesn’t care about American Ethnic Studies or Black Studies,” Karimi said.
He charged the audience with starting peaceful protest on campus in partnership with the Black Student Union in order to get the attention of the university.
Miranda Rider, senior in secondary education, and Sara Nider, sophomore in education, presented on personal safety programs that need more reach. Rider urged students to get ALICE training to be prepared in the case of a shooter attack. ALICE is an acronym for the five steps one should take in case of a threat: alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.
“The problem is that we are unprepared to handle a violent attack if it were to happen,” Rider said.
Nider said students are also unprepared and uneducated to properly deal with rape. In her speech, she said there is not a university-wide prevention plan in place and suggested that a short presentation about rape become part of the curriculum in the Introduction to Human Development course. While there are programs in place to help with prevention, Nider said, “students often skip over these things because students don’t believe this can happen to them.”
Cole Maddox, freshman in agricultural technology management, said more funds need to be allocated to upgrading the wireless Internet system across campus. He said he noticed there are 27 cold spots on campus, with current funding allowing the university to eliminate six within a year. While the campus has plenty of access points, Maddox said there are not enough for the number of devices trying to connect on campus.
“We’re the students,” Maddox said. “We’re the reason that the college is here: to help educate us. So why can’t we have Wi-Fi to help our learning?”
Arielle Monroe, senior in communication studies, requested a more specific need of funding for the mock trial team to hire a coach. However, the underlying problem is that the team currently is not associated with a college department. Without the support of a department, they have to rely on donations and funding from the Student Government Association.
“We have no one that is responsible for us,” Monroe said. “We have no one that plans for us. What we have is each other and that’s a problem.”
At the end of the forum, speakers offered petitions for audience members to sign in order to take a step in addressing these issue.