This letter to the editor was written by Joshua Arnoldy, senior in applied music and speaker pro tempore of Kansas State’s Student Governing Association. If you would like to write a letter to the Collegian, send us an email at email@example.com or visit kstatecollegian.com/contact.
I am writing this letter in response to an article previously published regarding the Student Governing Association’s decision to fund a registered student organization, Turning Point USA at Kansas State, for an on-campus event bringing three speakers to our campus.
As a senator sitting in the body at the time, I had the chance to listen, debate and vote on this allocation. Having seen some of the media backlash to this legislation, I wanted to share some of my views.
The funding given to organizations at K-State is issued through a segment of the privilege fees paid by each student every semester. Part of this money is then distributed back to student organizations through a formal application process approved by the student senate. This money is student money, and it belongs to students.
In my opinion, every application that makes its way to student senate is worth serious consideration. By that point, either the Travel Allocations Committee or the On-Campus Allocations Committee has had the opportunity to vet the applicants.
The application from Turning Point at K-State followed this process and arrived on the student senate floor with a vote of 3-2-1 from the committee, a close favorable motion.
There was strong debate on either side for this application to bring three speakers to our campus: Austen Fletcher, DC Draino and Elijah Schaffer.
Applications submitted to these committees are reviewed by the merit of the registered student organization at K-State. I think it is apparent that Turning Point as a national organization has questionable history, leadership and motives as an organization; however, Turning Point as a whole was not getting money from K-State’s SGA. The registered student organization at K-State was.
Walking into student senate Thursday evening, I had no reason to believe the K-State organization had any such background. It is an organization made up of students like myself.
As stated earlier, the money allocated belongs to registered student organizations and deserves to be allocated back to them. Organizations deserve funding from this body unless there is significant evidence to disprove them, regardless of the identity of its members.
I do not believe the opposition to this bill came prepared with adequate evidence to disenfranchise this legislation. At the time of debate, I did take the stance to debate in favor due to this lack of evidence that would be needed to convince me of a “no” vote.
Does such evidence again Turning Point at K-State exist?
I believe that it might, as we have seen in several articles and letters to the editor published (mainly by the Collegian) since the decision was made; however, such evidence was not seen in the debate last Thursday evening.
This may seem like a letter defending the decision of SGA. However, I simply wanted to share the logic of one of your student leaders. I think it brings into question exactly how our processes in SGA work.
My ending vote on this legislation was “no.” I decided to vote negatively based on the testimony of two of the On-Campus Allocation Committee members. Seeing a K-State registered student organization causing two persons of color to be genuinely distraught was enough evidence for me to question this application’s legitimacy.
Whose job is it to bring such evidence to the student senate floor? The committee? Senators? Students? I think the answer is all the above. It is the duty of our students and leaders to be as capitalized in the decision-making process as possible. This is where I believe our campus needs improvement.
It is the responsibility of all students to be invested in the governing systems that oversee them, and it is the responsibility of your student leaders to acquire as much information as possible before making decisions.
Did Turning Point at K-State deserve funding from SGA?
I honestly don’t know. In my opinion, the answer is no.
What I do know is that there was not enough evidence in debate Thursday night to convince your student leaders otherwise.
I believe that the activism seen by the student body since the passing of this legislation is the type of investment from our student body that we need. I truly hope it is a spark that stays lit on this campus.
Joshua Arnoldy is a senior in applied music and the speaker pro tempore of SGA. The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.