Letter to the Editor — Paige Hungate: ‘For transparency’s sake’
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This letter is in response to the recent Sunflower publication, entitled “WSU Decides 2017,” on the two SGA tickets and the presidential candidate’s roll call votes in the senate this past session. I have taken this opportunity to explain my WHY, as it was not mentioned in the article. Being a senator is a duty that I do not take lightly. I take time to talk with my constituents, gauge their feelings, understand the different perspectives, and vote based on that. Many students felt the way I voted and wanted a vote in the senate that voiced their viewpoint. I did my job and voted based on what students expressed to me. Is that not what representative democracy is — voting based on how the majority of your constituency feels?
The WHY is so important to understand, and that is why I am here being fully transparent and opening myself up to additional questions if there are any (email: [email protected]). Regarding my ticket: many students have told me we have the most diverse ticket in history, and I stand by that fact. We have students who are on all different ends of all the issues, and I am proud of United We Stand for that reason. Diversity is not just some buzz word; it is a vital piece of who we are.
1. Recognizing Black Lives Matter – NO: This resolution did pass, and it went on to President Bardo, who was unable to address it due to its political/social movement nature. As a federally funded institution, we are unable to publicly support any political or social movement, despite the facts that are presented in the resolution alongside it. I believed its content was important to address; however, unfortunately, we were unable to due to us trying to support a social movement.
2. Using SGA funds to purchase red parking permits for President and Vice President of the Association – NO: I am very passionate about ensuring your student fees are utilized in the best manner. I was not under the understanding that this would be the best way to use them — parking passes for our executive team. I’m glad this issue was figured out in a different way for our President; however, this was not the answer.
3. Recognizing the Importance of Utilization of Diversity Trainings within the Association – NO: This resolution was not clear what the expectation was. When many senators asked questions about what time commitment it meant, there were not answers. After the vote, I sat down with Tracia to discuss this further with her. The answers I got there that our senators would be able to get credit for being a senator and participating in these things made me feel much better. If I would have had those answers and understood it, I would have most definitely voted yes.
4. Opposition to Concealed Carry on Campus – NO: This vote does not mean that I support guns on campus. The law is going to change in July, and unfortunately, many students do not know that. This resolution was not going to change anything, despite how much we wanted it to. The state was not going to change its mind, and we were just asking for “more time”. We had four years to figure out a course of action and more time was not going to help anything. The law was passed, and we need to focus on educating our students and ensuring they feel comfortable.
5. In Opposition to County Resolution on In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students – YES: I stand with DACA students and understand their importance to our campus. They are fantastic students who do not deserve to be discriminated against for their citizenship status. Glad to see that this was passed by the senate almost unanimously.
6. Support for Student Fee Increase for Campus YMCA – YES: There is no doubt that the facts were misconstrued about the YMCA, and students were not getting all the answers. I was concerned about the lack of jobs for international students, but we were promised that they would keep their jobs and would get hired by the YMCA. I was concerned about the fact that it’d be a per credit hour fee instead of a flat fee; we were told that it could be amended and would be looked into by the student fees committee. The student body was split on this, and I had more students tell me they wanted it than they didn’t want it. I voted how my constituents told me to.
7. Vote of No Confidence in Wichita State University President John Bardo – ABSTAIN: This resolution came to the floor 2 hours before the vote occurred. I did not appreciate the lies that took place and the manipulation of the rules to get something passed through that was not given careful consideration. I had no input from my constituents on this, as we had no time to ask them and interact with them about it. The concerns within the resolution were valid, but the resolution said that we had no confidence in the president of our university. I could not, in good conscience, take a vote on such a crucial matter without understanding where students were at on it.