At tense SGA meeting, Bosco fields questions on investigation into hoax

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At Thursday’s student senate meeting, Pat Bosco, vice president for the Office of Student Life and dean of students, spoke for about an hour on a variety of topics —some related to and others not to the racist poster found to be a hoax in Jardine Apartments.

Topics ranged from campus safety, the Multicultural Student Center, the departmental and independent student organization policy and other elements that fall into conversations about being in the Kansas State family.

“I am here this evening, probably the lawyers didn’t want me to be here and I am here to be candid with you and to be as transparent as I possibly can,” Bosco said.

Ayana Belk, student senator and sophomore in architecture, asked Bosco about one of her own personal experiences at K-State. She said in the previous academic year, she received a letter from Bosco himself when he heard she was planning to leave K-State following the racially charged instances occurring at the time in what seemed like rapid succession. She asked him if he planned to do the same now that she was having similar feelings again.

Bosco said he would genuinely do it again.

In reference to the student who claimed he was victim of a racial posting and then claimed responsibility for the posting, Bosco said the university took this very seriously in its investigation. He said it was found “no law was violated” and turned the issue over to the Office of Student Life where it was investigated whether individuals involved had violated a university policy.

The specifics of this investigation have not made available outside of a press release made by the Division of Communications and Marketing.

“We are following the procedures outlined in the SGA bylaws for potential violations of the student code of conduct; the proceedings and results are confidential,” Bosco said in an email sent before the meeting.

Following a brief presentation from members of the Student Governing Association Judicial Branch regarding the process of the student review board, Jessica Elmore, associate director of diversity programs for the Alumni Association also addressed the governing body.

“I don’t have a position like Bosco so I’m not tied to a lot of things,” Elmore said. “I think there’s some insight that I hope I have an opportunity to share as you guys are trying to figure out what are we going to do as a K-State community.”

Elmore asked student senators and the pockets of at-large members if the events that have occurred on campus since Monday were stressing them out. Many of the people in the room raised their hands. Elmore said she is not stressed because she doesn’t feel accountable for what other people do.

Elmore said she hadn’t intended to speak about “the incident” because it emphasizes generalizations within communities.

The incident, student body president Jordan Kiehl said, was a wake up call for SGA.

“We had a chance as SGA to let the incident that’s happened this past week divide our campus community and create further division among our students or recognize the fact that there are students that feel unsafe,” Kiehl said. “It’s taken an incident for us to have a conversation in the room which is exactly what we said wasn’t going to happen last year.”

Student senators broke out into facilitated conversations, deciding to change what would normally occur in college caucus time. Instead of breaking into college, student senators divided up into 19 small groups to discuss the current campus climate.

Student senate will reconvene on Nov. 15 at 7:15 p.m. in the Alumni Center Ballroom. The meeting has been pushed back to accommodate for the event Pizza and Politics at the K-State Alumni Association.

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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.