Senate increases intern numbers amid debate over SGA diversity

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The Kansas State Student Governing Association expanded its intern program Thursday to include as many as 35 students and a minimum of 20 students in its intern class every year.

Trenton Kennedy, senior in entrepreneurship and student body vice president, said a larger class size would allow the senate to increase the program’s diversity.

“I think in the past couple of weeks you’ve heard a lot about SGA being exclusive,” Kennedy said. “I’m interested in doing away with that stereotype, so if we can expand this opportunity to 10 more kids, then I’m all about it.”

Kennedy said this year the intern selection committee was extremely limited in adding student to the program after 115 people applied for 25 spots.

After much debate, similar bills that would have added and outlined responsibilities for another intern coordinator position were sent back to committee after concerns were raised about how certain responsibilities and voting privileges would be shared among the two intern coordinators.

However, some senators questioned the need for an expansion of the program.

“I’m against the bill simply because I think serving the student senate is a privilege to someone that is lucky enough to get elected and represent their constituents,” said Wyatt Pracht, senior in agricultural economics and agriculture senator. “I think the way the intern system is currently set up, we can still have a diverse body by having different forms of outreach … By expanding it to more people, that won’t necessarily make the overarching change that is being advocated for.”

Pracht said “it is a prestige to serve the constituents” and a privilege to sit in on senate meetings.

“Yes, we may have a stereotype of being exclusive, but if we open up channels of communication, I don’t think we’ll be stereotypical,” Pracht said. “I think it is a privilege to sit in this room and I don’t think that is something that should be offered to everyone as just a handout.”

In other action

In college-specific caucuses, senators discussed proposed tuition increases from the university and fee increases in their respective colleges.

Caitlyn Dougherty, junior in history, was sworn in as the senate’s parliamentarian following the resignation of Karl Wilhelm, sophomore in agricultural economics.

The senate allocated $700 to Students for Environmental Action to attend the 2017 Fate of the Earth Conference in Michigan in April; $600 to the K-State chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management to attend the 2017 SHRM Student Case Competition and Career Summit in Oregon in April; $700 to the Student Planning Association to travel to New York City for a national conference in May; and $1,000 to the Professional Event Management Society to tour event venues in Wichita in April.

The senate also allocated $1,000 to the K-State chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers to attend a national convention in Kansas City, Missouri, at the end of March; $1,000 to the Milling Science Club to attend a conference in New Orleans in April; $1,000 to the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Graduate Student Organization to attend a conference in Washington state in July.

The senate introduced legislation to approve a one-year privilege fee allocation to KSDB. The amount of the radio station’s student privilege fee allocation is typically considered every three years.

However, the privilege fee committee found that KSDB lacks a student advisory board, which the senate requires in order for student groups to receive privilege fee allocations. The bill will allow KSDB one year’s worth of allocation funds — $102,362 — to operate while it forms such a board.

The senate will next meet Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Big 12 Room of the K-State Student Union.

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I’m Rafael Garcia, co-editor-in-chief at the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism, campus visit coordinator for the JMC Ambassadors, and the vice president of social events and communication for the Edgerley-Franklin Urban Leaders. I come from Emporia, Kansas, home of the Twinkie, world’s best tasting tap water and journalist William Allen White. I’m passionate about journalism because I love people and their stories, and I want to find and tell those stories here on campus. In my spare time, I’m a Chihuahua wrangler, doughnut enthusiast, Netflix watcher and racquetball player. Contact me at rgarcia@kstatecollegian.com.