Student senate was delayed by thirty minutes on Thursday evening after the public virtual meeting was interrupted by an unknown actor playing pornographic content and a racial slur.
The host of the meeting ended the Zoom call quickly and resumed a by-invitation chat only. Guests were permitted into the call, but only by requesting access.
It’s a trend called Zoombombing that’s seen an increase in frequency as several universities, schools and businesses use the online platform to continue meeting through the COVID-19 pandemic. Inside Higher Education reported that this particular combination of hacking material is a common tactic.
“We do apologize for that. We’d obviously like to keep things as accessible as possible and be able to publish them freely, but we’re going to have to look at some better internal controls on how we do so moving forward,” speaker of the student senate and senior in finance and organizational leadership Hannah Heatherman said. “Thank you all for your patience.”
Student Governing Association also approved Student Centered Tuition Enhancement allocations. The dollar amount that will actually be made available for these allocations is uncertain because it is based on funds gathered from tuition, but Sai Marre, treasurer and senior in finance, said it’s estimated to be about $600,000.
The committee reviewed 15 proposals, but decided to recommend against further funding K-State 360 and recommended against new funding for renovations to Ackert Hall and the Education Abroad Passport Grant Initiative.
Marre said some of the proposals were rejected because they just didn’t meet the parameters for SCTE funding.
As for the recommendation against allocating more money to K-State 360, Marre said the committee didn’t find that the usage of the platform justified further funding. In fiscal year 2021, they received $133,526 and requested $81,326.
The platform as it works now is used to track attendance at on-campus events and helps students keep documentation of what events they participated in.
K-State 360 program coordinator Christa Dell’Isola debated against the recommendation to cease funding.
“Without this funding, this program would be completely eliminated,” Dell’Isola said.
She also discussed in detail plans for a relaunch of the platform in the coming months that would have a revised curriculum. Dell’Isola anticipates that 5,000 students would be reached in the first semester with the revised program.
SCTE committee member and graduate student in counseling and student development Marcus Kidd said the committee “objectively” spent a lot of time looking at all proposals, but the pros outweigh the cons for him personally when it comes to further funding K-State 360.
Student senator and sophomore in business administration Cameron Koger said he has a problem with the fact that less than 20 percent of the student body uses the platform. He also said he didn’t think the dollars given to K-State 360 are being well utilized because less than half actually goes to the upkeep of the platform and most of it is used to fund salaries.
For starters, Kidd said, he’s unhappy with how graduate students are excluded from the platform, and there are too many unknowns about what would come from the planned revamp.
The resolution passed 34-9-1 after more than an hour of debate and questions.
Student senate will reconvene at 7 p.m. on Zoom next Thursday. There will be a virtual student senate banquet in the hour before the meeting as the term ends on April 2.