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SGA approves student fee, green lights YMCA partnership

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In the final SGA meeting of the semester, the Student Senate narrowly passed a resolution Wednesday night supporting WSU’s venture to bring a YMCA and updated wellness facility to Innovation Campus.

The vote, which passed by a count of 23-16 with two abstentions, came less than two months after the 59th Session of SGA voted down a similar proposal in resounding fashion.

One major argument against the proposal in March was the means of funding — a per credit hour student fee that would cause students taking the most hours to bear the brunt of construction costs of the wellness center.

The updated proposal calls for a three-tiered student fee model in which individuals falling into different credit hour ranges will pay a flat fee to spread the financial burden.

Debate over the resolution spanned the better part of four hours and was oftentimes heated. In open forum, former Student Body Vice President Taben Azad expressed his concern that the administration pursued the partnership with the YMCA after SGA had already voted it down.

“The night this was proposed to SGA, Dr. Tomblin (Vice President for Research and Technology) said, quote, ‘If you do not want it, we’ll mark it off the master plan and we’ll move on so I say absolutely if you don’t want it then I say move on,’” Azad said. “This is a direct quote from what he said to us in March but less than twenty-four hours after we voted down the resolution, Dr. Hall was saying the SGA vote is more of a recommendation than a mandate.”

In her officer report, Student Body President Paige Hungate addressed fears that the administration would disregard student input moving forward.

“The concerns I’m hearing right now are that students are going to be left out of the conversation about what moves into the Y and what moves out of the Heskett, but I’ve been promised that myself and other students will be included in those conversations,” Hungate said. “I’m confident that that promise will be followed through on, and if it’s not, then it presents another issue.”

Other senators worried that two few details were included in the proposal to make an informed decision. Senator Zubair Kahn likened the situation to a bad car buying experience.

“You don’t buy a car and then hammer out the details,” Kahn said. “You don’t say ‘I’ll buy the car now whether you give me three wheels or four’ so we have to look at the specifics and make sure that this is hammered out and well-planned before we vote on behalf of our constituents.”

Though a number of senators worried about the corporate influence of bringing the Y to campus, many were won over by the promises of an expanded wellness center and daycare program. Among those was Senator Alexander Vulgamore.

“When I think about this and why I want to vote yes, it’s because of the wellness center,” Vulgamore said. “I think we are too focused on the YMCA aspect of it.”

He went on to justify his views.

“I’m in the College of Education and I’m placed at a local high school here in Wichita,” Vulgamore said. “I think about my students and what they’re going to get if they come here because the majority of them are going to, and if they’re not provided with the most excellent wellness services, then I think that’s a disservice and they should go to KU honestly.”

The resolution ultimately passed, narrowly reaching the majority vote necessary. The proposal will now go forward to be presented to the Kansas Board of Regents for approval in June.

Hungate said she hopes student will embrace the new addition to Innovation Campus.

“I think people should be excited about it because now we’re going to get all the solidified answers,” Hungate said. “They should know that students like myself and others will be advocating for them and relaying their concerns.”

———

Here’s how student senators voted:

Yes

Kathy Bond

Carleigh Camacho

Dan Corrieri

Timothy Dodd

Garin Egerton

Haley Ensz

Sydney Kalscheur

Claire Kirkland

Kyle Kopecky

Kelvin Lopez

Jason McCarty

Alex Miller

Aleyah Murray

Hasan Raffi

Greg Rubbert

Tommy Rudawsky

Jared Santos

Ryan Siebuhr

Lane Smith

Chris Thiel

Alexander Vulgamore

Jessica Wehkamp

Taylor Williams

No

Randy Barbour

Abel Barraza

Rochell Delevante

Raghavendra Deshmukh

Mindy Huynh

Zubair Kahn

Alexis Landreth

Xan Mattek

Paul Raymond

Shelby Rowell

Colton Russell

Kyler Sanders

Saylis Sengvilay

Demetrius Sterling

Anna Turosak

Umair Zoumy

Abstain

India Brelsford

Kylen Lawless

Absent

Kenon Brinkley

Theresa Doan

Luke Mohr

Sydney Simek

Katie Slavenburg

Lucia Talavera

Haneesha Vishwa Sai

11 Comments

11 Responses to “SGA approves student fee, green lights YMCA partnership”

  1. Joke on May 4th, 2017 7:15 am

    Who didn’t see this coming? What a joke. Let’s commit $130,000,000 and then figure out the answers. The administration doesn’t like the vote on student fees so they elect and new one and will claim to the Board of Regents that students want it. Remember, this project isn’t even on the KBOR Capital Projects list that was approved just a few months ago.

    [Reply]

  2. Getting A Raise on May 4th, 2017 7:19 am

    Will John Tomblin get another $100,000 raise from this? I am sure he can count this as generating over $100,000,000 of external funding so he should be able to leverage this into a raise or some additional time to work on his personal business over at Innovation Campus. Students are like donors and he secured a grant from them so this has to work. John Tomblin calls himself the rainmaker. Really. Pretty easy to make it rain with $100,000,000 of student fee money and $70,000,000 of Sedgwick County taxpayer mill levy funds.

    [Reply]

  3. Convenient on May 4th, 2017 7:22 am

    How convenient. Last meeting. Not a meeting to give notice of a change of funding and gather constituent feedback. Just get Paige to vote on it. That potluck must have been great. I have never seen a hundred million commitment from student fees get no discussion but students should get used to it.

    [Reply]

  4. Referendum? on May 4th, 2017 7:25 am

    You just had a massive student election turnout. Why didn’t you put this question on the ballot to students? Oh, yeah…………that would have shown it being voted down by huge numbers. Just like Paige’s previous feedback that isn’t noted. Couldn’t have the Regents see that……………..

    [Reply]

  5. Laughable on May 4th, 2017 10:29 am

    “I think people should be excited about it because now we’re going to get all the solidified answers,” Hungate said.

    So let me get this straight; the only way we could get the solidified answers was by voting yes on it first? What a poor move by SGA. Put our tuition costs on the line and then find out what we’re going to actually get for it. Where is the common sense in this new SGA? Where’s the transparency?

    [Reply]

  6. Knots on May 4th, 2017 2:20 pm

    With all the puppets in the room it is a wonder all their strings didn’t get tangled up. With all the lead time to review details and discuss the topic it is hard to believe anyone would question where the transparency is?

    [Reply]

  7. Conduct Suspension Coming on May 4th, 2017 2:28 pm

    Taben,

    Be careful. You keep bringing facts into the discussion again and you will most certainly get another temporary conduct suspension! You go questioning the Rainman and you are asking for it. He didn’t have to mark it of the “master list” because it was never on the Capital Construction list that KBOR approves. His monopoly board Innovation Campus is a chalk drawing anyway. I would guess that at the summer retreat there will be a vote on student fee funding for the new business building and it will be approved. Maybe in September you will get the facts on that as well. There could also be a “research Sonic” built on the property and maybe even an Innovative Liquor Store of some kind. The possibilities are endless.

    [Reply]

  8. Tex on May 4th, 2017 5:26 pm

    Oh no! You might have to pay for something you don’t want that will better the campus! The nerve!

    Can someone please get me and the several other hundreds of students a refund for the Rhatigan Renewal Project that we helped fund but didn’t get to enjoy because we graduated before it was finished? That’d be great, thanks.

    Love,

    Tex

    [Reply]

  9. Referendum Vote Count on May 5th, 2017 6:56 am

    Can anyone post the referendum results for RSC and YMCA project? The referendum that was a vote of the entire student body? The one required of major facility construction projects using student fees? Student elections were just held but funding the YMCA with student fees wasn’t on the ballot which seemed odd. Anybody? Tex?

    [Reply]

    Tex Reply:

    Probably wasn’t on the ballot because funding for the YMCA project and the Rhatigan Renewal never needed to be on the ballot for approval by the student body in the first place.

    You do realize that Student Government’s involvement with student fees is really just symbolic, right? They have no actual authority over the budget whatsoever and they are limited to only making recommendations, which can be overturned by the President of the University before being submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents for review and approval.

    WSU Policies and Procedures Section 12.01 states the following: “The Student Government Association’s Student Fee Committee is responsible for recommending budget allocations and corresponding student fee rates under the authority of the association and in accordance with the statutes governing the activities of the association. Authority rests with the President to change the recommendations prior to submission to the Board of regents as part of the annual tuition proposal.”

    [Reply]

    Rex Reply:

    And the student loan train keeps on rolling!

    Is something truly beneficial if a majority of students have to borrow money to pay for something that probably will not benefit them.

    Why arent all my fellow Republicans complaining about increased spending!

    [Reply]

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