The Sunflower

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

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