Thursday night Kansas State’s student senate voted to call back $2 million in privilege fee dollars, likely resulting in reduced employment and operations on campus.
The privilege fee funds 15 entities across campus.
“These are hard decisions, they weren’t fun ones to make in our initial budget meeting,” Nathan Bothwell, speaker of student senate and senior in political science and communication studies, said. “There will be students that will lose their on-campus jobs.”
While Bothwell didn’t have hard numbers on the potential job losses, he estimated it to be in the “dozens” based on the impact statements organizations submitted, with the impact of hour reductions more difficult to estimate.
“We’re dealing with students at least who will feel the impact of this pretty directly in their employment,” Bothwell said.
Student Health, Student Design Services, Recreational Services and the Center for Student Involvement all indicated in their statements callbacks would result in either reduced hours or employment.
After significant adjustments to the Counseling Services and Lafene Health Center budgets, the bill passed by a vote of 49 to 3 with no abstentions.
Prior to the student senate meeting, the Privilege Fee Committee voted to take Counseling Services from a one percent proposed decrease to a 25 percent decrease, when it came to light that Counseling Services has approximately $500,000 carryover from last year.
“The committee felt that Counseling Services could still take a pretty substantial callback of around $200,000, which would help our overall financial situation but hopefully wouldn’t decrease any services at counseling due to that large carryover that they had,” Bothwell said.
During the meeting, the senate amended the bill to correct a discrepancy in Lafene’s callback. This afternoon, Lafene clarified they could only afford a $100,000 cut rather than an approximately $150,000 cut that was previously accounted for.
The bill included a 10 percent decrease for the Collegian Media Group, the Collegian’s parent non-profit. The callback totaled more than $38,000.
The callbacks attempt to decrease a deficit of more than $3.5 million. The remainder of the funds needed will be pulled from the Bond Surplus Account, which currently holds $4.9 million.
Madison Brown, Privilege Fee Committee chair and senior in finance, said this piece of legislation was the culmination of a lot of hard work in additional committee meetings, trying to balance what students need with the financial crisis.
“I know I am gonna still feel for a lot of the loss. For whether its student hours, decreased programming, this is not something that anyone wants to do,” Brown said.
While it is possible that future callbacks could be necessary contingent upon spring enrollment, Bothwell said he feels “pretty confident” about where they stand now.
“Hopefully, we should not need to go back and do callbacks again in the spring semester,” he said. “But we never know how [COVID-19] is going to go, that’s why we’re trying to be a little bit conservative and not pull everything out of bond surplus.”
Student senate will reconvene at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 over Zoom.