Student senate listens to open period speaker discuss Title IX

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On Thursday evening, the student senate heard from an open period speaker about Title IX regulations and passed an amendment to potentially shorten the timeline for the Joint Committee on Officers’ Compensation to meet and make recommendations.

During an open period of the meeting, Sara Haggard, sexual assault prevention and awareness director and junior in biochemistry and modern languages, spoke about President Richard Myers and Provost Charles Taber’s response to a prior SGA Title IX resolution, which recommended that K-State update its Title IX policy.

The resolution from last semester points out that K-State potentially was in violation of federal regulations because its Title IX process does not extend to Greek life.

If the survivor is a student, they can still receive supporting resources. However, they cannot necessarily get sanctions, such as a suspension, against their perpetrator.

“If something is to happen in a Greek life setting, that entire Title IX process is run by students behind closed doors,” Haggard said. “There’s no liability on the university’s behalf, but this could really really lead to some bad situations within Greek life.”

Haggard said K-State is one of the only universities in the U.S. set up like this.

Haggard said the administration didn’t respond adequately to several points brought up in the resolution, and the issue of Greek life was the only one the administration didn’t try to remedy.

“They just said, ‘At this time, we have no plans to expand the policy to include conduct that occurs at private residences off-campus, including Greek Life houses,’” Haggard said.

Additionally, student senate discussed an amendment to the JCOC timeline. The amendment helps make quicker recommendations and potential decreases in Student Governing Association members’ compensation during years of projected budget shortfalls or insufficient collection of the campus privilege fee.

“I think this holds us more accountable to the student body,” Blake Phillips, junior in management information systems, said. “I think that we need to be able to decrease our budget just like everyone else. We came down with decreases to different entities like the Collegian, the Union and they were just told to figure it out … but we can change our practices to more easily figure it out and allow for changes to our budget.”

Phillips said this amendment will reduce the barrier to decreasing compensation quickly that the lengthy joint committee meetings formerly caused, but it will still ensure the committee makes a thorough review.

In addition, student senate considered a resolution that could change the election date of the speaker of the student senate.

New speakers of student senate are nominated at the first senate meeting of a new term, but not voted on and sworn in until the second senate meeting of a new term, at which point they must begin chairing an election for speaker pro tempore with little preparation.

Speaker of student senate and senior in political science and communication studies Nathan Bothwell said the current election process creates a difficult, fast-paced transition period for a new speaker, particularly when the new speaker is very unfamiliar with student senate.

Instead of a vote to pass the resolution, the senate referred the resolution to the senate executive committee for further discussion.

Additionally, at the senate meeting, Trey Kuhlmann, election commissioner and senior in political science, encouraged everyone who is interested in running for election to sign up as soon as possible and to tune in to the presidential debate.

The debate is at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 in Wildcat Chambers and live-streamed on the K-State SGA YouTube channel.

The deadline to file for student body president is 5 p.m. Feb. 12, and all other positions must file before Feb. 19.

The student senate will reconvene Thursday, Feb. 18, via Zoom. Because of COVID-19 quarantine limitations on members of the legislative branch, a hybridized version of student senate will return at an undetermined point in the future. Students interested in attending future meetings can email Bothwell at ndbothwell@ksu.edu.

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