SGA introduces plan to fund Cats’ Cupboard with bond funds, opposes ‘costly educational platforms’


During student senate on Thursday evening, Student Governing Association introduced a plan to use surplus bond funds to temporarily fund Cats’ Cupboard.

Funds would be pulled from the Union Renovation and Expansion and Recreation Complex Expansion bond accounts which students pay into every semester with a portion of their privilege fee. Currently, the account has more than $3 million in available funds and can accumulate as much as $450,000 on top of that every year.

Between 2011 and 2017, the bond surplus account was used to cover three other campus projects, but hasn’t been used for projects since 2018.

The plan to fund Cats’ Cupboard with the surplus dollars would be temporary and subject to continuous review by SGA. Each year during the agreement, Cats’ Cupboard would receive $80,000 for operations and ongoing projects.

“It is a pretty big deal to pull it out of bond surplus,” Jansen Penny, student body president and senior in industrial engineering, said. “There are a lot of moving parts here.”

Penny said conversations will continue to occur throughout the week on the matter and a vote is likely to occur next week during student senate.

Additionally, SGA formally took a stance against educational platforms like TopHat that require students to pay additional class material fees.

Citing current Kansas State programs like the Open Textbook Initiative , the resolution says the usage of programs like these subverts ongoing attempts to lower the rising cost of higher education.

The resolution also referenced a survey that was made available to students in the fall semester. Of the 152 students that responded, more than 90 percent said they were “required” at one point to purchase an educational platform like TopHat or McGraw-Hill Connect while at K-State.

“Students overwhelmingly do not prefer to use these programs,” Andrew Booze, chair of the senate operations committee and junior in computer science, said. “We put this together, and now here we are.”

The resolution also outlines concerns about the data-collection that could occur from the programs, including the collection of location data and personal data.

Furthermore, students can not save money on these products by purchasing used books due to individual licensing. Students also cannot forgo them entirely because portions of the grade may hinge on the usage of the product.

Questions were raised about the effectiveness of the resolution since they do not carry official legislative weight, only serve as formal notices.

“We can take a stand here,” Booze said. “No we can’t do anything directly, but I still think it’s worth passing.”

Booze said he wants to continue work on the initiative and have conversations to move it forward, but he says there aren’t any concrete plans.

The resolution passed by a voice vote with one vocal disapproval.

Student senate will reconvene at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 in the Wildcat Chambers.

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the ex-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.