Speaker of student senate presented resolution regarding proposed changes to Privilege Fee

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Student senators discussed changes to Privilege Fee contracts and Student Governing Association documents Oct. 18 during Student Senate.

Hannah Heatherman, speaker of the student senate and senior in finance, introduced a resolution supporting the addition of a clause to Privilege Fee Committee contracts. The clause would allow the Privilege Fee Committee to ask entities not necessarily up for review for proposals of what cuts to their current budget would look like in times of enrollment decline.

The resolution did not have the expressed support of the current Privilege Fee Committee that discussed the proposed resolution for the first time on Monday.

A committee consisting of the student body president, speaker of student senate and the Privilege Fee chair would then review the proposals and decide if the entity should be reviewed by the full Privilege Fee Committee for a potential cut.

“This a proposed clause that we hope, pending the approval of student senate, to be able to opt into our Privilege Fee contracts that offers us like two more fair plans for two ‘What if’ scenarios,” Heatherman said.

The first “What if” scenario is if the Kansas Board of Regents doesn’t approve Kansas State contracts and fees recommended by the Privilege Fee Committee and student senate, the Privilege Fee Committee can make budget adjustments and not pay out in full to entity directors. The second is a safeguard against enrollment decline so the Privilege Fee itself won’t have to be increased.

Heatherman said this proposal has been in the works since June 19. Conversations about the proposed changes and the resolution included Donny Riffle, chair of the Privilege Fee Committee and senior in computer science; Jansen Penny, student body president and senior in industrial engineering; and herself.

It was brought to the Privilege Fee Committee for the first time on Oct. 14. only after Natalie Jabben, committee member and junior in political science, asked for the resolution to be discussed. It had been introduced to the Senate Executive Committee the previous week without the consent of the Privilege Fee Committee.

The Privilege Fee Committee decided to table their discussion and not put their name on the resolution. Jabben and Alan Hinds, committee member and sophomore in agricultural economics, both said they wished the resolution originated within the committee.

“I don’t want to feel like I am just giving this a rubber stamp,” Hinds said.

During senate, Lily Colburn, intern coordinator and sophomore in political science, asked why entities that receive allocations from the fee received emails from Penny about the potential changes before the resolution was even introduced to the committee or the student senate body as a whole.

“It was not sent out as a change that is happening,” Heatherman said. “It has been presented as an open forum to gather feedback on a proposed change, the proposal now coming before you all as students.”

The resolution would make it possible for the Privilege Fee Committee to add the clause to contracts, but would not require them to do so. Heatherman said she recommends this pass to account for unforeseen issues regarding bond surplus accounts and the Privilege Fee reserve accounts.

In addition, a bill changing pronouns in the SGA governing documents from “he/her” to “they” was passed 50 to four. Before the bill was passed, Bayley Clark, student senator and senior in political science, proposed an amendment to the bill to strike lines regarding inclusivity and the LGBTQ community.

“This is virtue signaling,” Clark said. “I don’t think that K-State SGA should endorse this practice.”

Clark said he agreed the SGA governing documents would be easier to read using “they” but didn’t want to set a precedent of appealing to emotions.

The proposed Clark’s proposed amendment failed. The bill passed with the language regarding inclusivity and the LGBTQ community.

Senate will reconvene at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 in Wildcat Chamber.

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My name is Bailey Britton and I am the assistant news editor for the Collegian. I grew up in Colby, Kansas. I am a sophomore studying journalism with minors in leadership studies and English. I value quality news coverage and believe that communication is a vital part of solving problems. When I have free time, I like to spend time with friends and family or be outdoors with a good book.