SGA formally opposes Sedgwick County resolution


Hannah Roberts

The SGA senators listen to the cabinet during the SGA meeting on Wednesday evening.

After heated debate, the SGA passed a resolution Wednesday by a vote of 31-3 formally opposing a Sedgwick County resolution aimed at removing state residency from undocumented students who graduated from Kansas high schools.

The Sedgwick County resolution 16-363, which passed in June 2016, is a recommendation to the state that, if passed, would prevent undocumented students from having the option of paying in-state tuition to attend Kansas universities.

Such legislation would impact several undocumented students at Wichita State.

The resolution stated that the SGA presidential cabinet would “continue to advocate for subsided tuition for undocumented students seeking education to better themselves, their future, and the future of our nation.”

Current political tensions regarding immigration made the resolution an inflammatory topic.

“(WSU President John Bardo) just released a statement that said there is no border, there is no wall that can separate the intelligence and the talent that we have coming into this university,” Student Body President Joseph Shepard said. “I think aligning with the president of the university calls on me to represent those constituents who need a voice.”

Emotions ran high as senators debated whether or not formal opposition from the SGA would be appropriate or meaningful.

“Our duty as senators is to advocate for our students,” Senator Zubair Khan said. “These students are Shockers, and as our constituents, we must advocate on their behalf.”

Other senators felt that SGA was overstepping its bounds by pushing its agenda on Sedgwick County and that the resolution would fall on deaf ears.

“SGA trying to speak out against actual legislation while having no impact on it is a waste of our time and energy,” said Senator Calin Otsbey.

“This ideology that we’re just students and we don’t hold a lot of weigh is just wrong,” Shepard said, citing SGA accomplishments such as the passage of the Lifeline 911 bill.

Despite the vigorous debate on Wednesday, the SGA resolution to oppose Sedgwick County’s position passed in a landslide and is now recognized as the official stance towards Resolution 16-363.