‘A loaded senate’: SGA senator offers opposing view


Manny De Los Santos

Junior Paige Hungate is the Fourth Congressional District Field Director for Moran for Kansas, Republican Sen. Jerry Moran’s reelection campaign.

Student Government Association Senator Paige Hungate said the “culture of fear” expressed by other members of student government isn’t representative of the whole study body, but is representative of Student Body President Joseph Shepard’s cabinet.

She said their decision to complain to the Kansas Board of Regents was inappropriate.

“It’s especially inappropriate because President Shepard never attends the KBOR meetings with the other student government presidents,” Hungate said.

Hungate later retracted this allegation, instead saying that Shepard “misses KBOR meetings quite often.”

According to Fort Hays State Student Body President Emily Brandt, there have been two KBOR meetings this school year, one for September and one for October. Shepard was in attendance to September’s meeting but not to October’s. Shepard gave prior notice that he would not be in attendance to October’s meeting, Brandt said.

Hungate said much of SGA’s time this year has been ill spent.

“We’ve passed a lot of resolutions, sure, but I don’t think we’re really making great change on campus,” Hungate said. “If anything, I think we’re disengaging a lot of students who don’t feel student government is representing them.

“I think we’re really just trying to stir the pot and cause problems. A lot of other senators don’t feel like senate is a good use of their time so they’ve resigned. Our retention rates are terrible. I think that really says something telling about the cabinet when people feel their voices aren’t welcome and the time they spend in student government isn’t spent well.

“I love the work student government is capable of doing, but I’m frustrated with what that capability has become.”

Hungate said it’s frustrating to her as a senator because her name was attached to the document, one she feels was used to advance personal agendas through the outlet of student government.

“We tried to make that point to Joseph two weeks ago, and we tried to say that senate should have a say in what’s sent to KBOR, and he refuted that, saying we were trying to censor his first amendment rights,” Hungate said.

“But when Joseph and Taben say something, it’s representing all of us. The narrative is always controlled by Joseph and his cabinet.

“They’re going to get everything pushed through senate that they want to, just because of the loaded senate they’ve made.”

Hungate said the way Shepard went about sending the document was “really shady.”

“Nobody knew what was happening,” Hungate said. “All of a sudden this letter got sent.”

Hungate said that reaching out to KBOR has done nothing to help the strain between SGA and administration, a relationship that she feels has not been improved upon since last year.

Hungate said that when she and others vocalized that this relationship is not being worked on, President Shepard said “there’s a lot that happens that you don’t see.”

“He and his cabinet try to bridge the gap, but sending a letter to Blake Flanders, how is that fixing anything?” Hungate said. “Why would the administration try to work with a student government that has trashed them again and again?”