Student senate discusses differential tuition, First Amendment in weekly meeting

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Student Governing Association gathered in Wildcat Chamber Feb. 20 to discuss differential tuition and Twitter statements released by SGA leadership as well as listen to guest speaker Carol Shanklin, dean of the graduate school at Kansas State.

Jansen Penny, student body president and senior in industrial engineering, discussed differential tuition — a topic on the agenda at the Kansas Board of Regents meeting on Feb. 19.

“We had a discussion about what differential tuition is, what the pros and cons of that would be how that would affect students, faculty and staff,” Penny said.

The differential tuition model would replace fees added onto a student’s tuition bill. The tuition would appear to be higher, but students would not have additional fees tacked on to their bill. Tuition rates would vary by college or department.

Penny also spoke about personal Twitter statements regarding responses to “hateful rhetoric” seen on Twitter in the last week. Penny said these statements don’t reflect the stances of the university.

“It comes with a lot of challenges that really balance the powerful statement that we want to make, and how we want to show support for those students,” Penny said. “While also following all of those state, local and federal laws in those enforced by the Kansas Board of Regents. We’re looking forward to finding the best compromise and solution so that there can be a balance all those.”

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee spoke Feb. 17 about seeking support with other KBOR institutions dealing with similar issues regarding free speech, Nick Beasley, student senator and junior in education, said.

Penny added SGA can’t make resolutions condemning the group America First Students or other groups they disagree with because it violates the First Amendment rights of these groups.

“Because of a lot of issues with the Board of Regents and the First Amendment, [we are] making sure that we do not condemn any other ideologies that are out there, even if they hurt,” Penny said.

In addition, Shanklin elaborated on what the graduate school at K-State emphasizes, including student support.

“The mission of Kansas State graduate school is to provide exceptional graduate student services that enhance the professional and career development support for students as far as their research and scholarly endeavors,” Shanklin said.

Shanklin also spoke about the tuition model used by the graduate school.

“Unlike other graduate schools that are considered call centers, ours are considered service centers, and therefore our funding will come through the Provost office,” Shanklin said. “We do not get tuition directly back to the graduate school like most colleges do. Those colleges get 100% of the tuition for graduate enrollment.”

Student senate will reconvene at 7 p.m. on Feb. 27 in Wildcat Chamber.

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