SGA senate appoints interim student senators, refers intern amendment back to committee

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The Student Governing Association filled multiple vacanies in the senate left by senators who resigned over the course of the semester during the senate meeting Thursday evening.

The seven resignations accumulated over the course of the semester, not over the course of the last week, Jonathan Peuchen, speaker of the senate and senior in mechanical engineering, said via email. Additionally, Peuchen said the vacancies have remained unaddressed “due to some transitions in the leadership” of the SGA Senate Operations Committee.

The interim senators, Nathan Bothwell, sophomore in political science; Katie Horton, sophomore in business administration; Matthew Zajic, junior in marketing; Shelby Carpenter, junior in elementary education; Nicholas Kaechele, sophomore in mathematics and chemical engineering; Carson Tjelmeland, sophomore in chemical engineering, and Julia Pechar, sophomore in nutrition and kinesiology, will serve until the current term ends or until permanent replacements are selected. The interim senators were selected from the 2017-2018 intern class.

Additionally, after more than an hour of debate, a bill amending the establishment of the SGA intern program was sent back to the Special Committee on Membership for re-drafting after it failed to pass through senate.

Ryan Kelly, chair of the Special Committee on Membership and sophomore in civil engineering, said he believes the bill would enact a much needed change to open the door for more cooperation between the student body and SGA.

Stephen Kucera, graduate student in accounting and student support director, said the bill would bring opportunities for students to join SGA whenever the interest strikes, as opposed to limiting the application process with deadlines.

“One thing that I think this bill is fantastic on is getting rid of that selection process which is a barrier to entry to learning about student government,” Kucera said.

Despite the bill’s perceived advantages, it failed to garner enough votes to pass through the senate.

Nick Nordstrom, student senator and junior in biology, said he was adamantly against the bill, expressing concern that opening the intern program to more students would prevent a feeling of closeness and camaraderie among senators. Ultimately, Nordstrom voted in favor of the bill.

Similar concerns were put forward by Bothwell. Bothwell said in the absence of a limit to how many students who are able to be involved in the program, SGA would not be able to function at its current productivity level.

“I’m all for opening SGA up to as many people as possible, but I think that there’s a lot of logistical issues that aren’t being considered when passing this bill,” Bothwell said.

Earlier in the evening, the Privilege Fee Committee gathered in the SGA conference room to debate the recommended recurring five percent increase to the Counseling Services allocation.

The legislation, previously authorized by the committee with seven committee members in favor and three against, was tabled during the Monday meeting after committee members expressed doubt about the impact the increase would have on student fees.

At the 6 p.m. emergency meeting, the bill was debated and then passed favorably back to student senate with eight committee members in favor and three against. The recurring allocation bill will be put through final action on March 29 at 7 p.m. in the Wildcat Chamber.

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My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.