Student senate returned a resolution allocating the Educational Opportunity Fund to committee last Thursday due to incorrect information in the bill and lack of justification for allocations. The committee expects the resolution to appear in the third senate meeting of the spring semester.
Natalia Rodriguez, student senator and sophomore in human resource management and Spanish, debated against the resolution.
“The main discrepancy I noticed was that the ‘whereas’ clauses did not include the justification for entities not getting their initial requested amount,” Rodriguez said. “I decided to debate against the bill because the Educational Opportunity Fund committee allocates over $340,000, and as senators we have to make sure that we are responsibly allocating these funds.
“After reading the resolution I was not satisfied with the information provided in this legislation, therefore I knew I could not make a truly informed decision before voting took place,” Rodriguez continued.
Student senators debated the bill for approximately two hours. Ali Karamali, student body vice president and junior in chemical engineering, agreed the bill needed fixing.
In addition, the student senate body learned the Educational Opportunity Fund committee consisted mainly of freshmen who had little experience drafting legislation.
Blake Phillips, committee member and freshman in management information systems, said it took three meetings to create the report.
“Ali sent all of the committee members the applications of all the groups about two weeks before our first meeting so we could read over them and make initial gradings,” Phillips said. “We then used these gradings to aid the committee in our decision making.”
The grading system the committee used consisted of four-point criteria. Each entity received a grade based the ability to make a “positive and beneficial” impact along with other criteria outlined by the Kansas Board of Regents.
“In this year’s EOF committee, similar to previous years, there was higher priority given to funding graduate positions, as these were deemed by the committee as extremely beneficial,” Karamali said. “The committee mentioned multiple times, in discussions, regarding various proposals, how important the experience and work [graduate research assistant] positions do, going past impacting only them but also undergraduate students pursuing similar paths.”
Karamali said 26 entities applied for funding, but only 20 received funding to “some extent.”
“I, and the committee, believe that every proposal submitted to us this year had a valid claim to apply for funding,” Karamali said. “We believe each one served a purpose to improve campus and would have helped out students to some extent. Unfortunately, as terrific as every entity’s proposal was, we simply do not have the funds to support everything.”
Moving forward, Phillips, Karamali and the rest of the committee plan to reach out to entities for additional information to reevaluate funding decisions. Ultimately, Phillips said most issues the committee plans to fix are technical issues such as adding “whereas” clauses with funding justification.
Rodriguez cares about the EOF because she said she believes the entities on the receiving end benefit students everyday.
“All of these work hand-in-hand with students on a daily basis to enhance their experiences while attending college,” Rodriguez said. “I believe all of these organizations are set in place for students, so we should be diligent when allocating their funds.”