The Sunflower

Student Fees Committee deliberations date set, organizations can give ‘supplemental presentations’

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The Student Fees Committee will reconvene in public next Friday, according to an email from University Budget Director David Miller. Groups that want to give a “supplemental presentation” to their original one from last week will get eight minutes to make their case.

The supplemental presentations will not be scheduled. Instead, an official representative from each group wanting to present can show up between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to provide additional information to the committee during an eight minute time-slot. The meeting will be held in Santa Fe Trail Room, RSC 233.

Deliberations will begin at 11 a.m.

“Students, Faculty, and Staff are welcome to attend in the gallery during both sessions, but will not be permitted to speak or ask questions; this period is meant for the purpose of the committee deciding the recommendations,” Miller said.

Organizations were given either 15 or 30 minutes to give their original presentations. Student Affairs presented for 45 minutes. SGA presented for 15 minutes.

After the presentations concluded, the Student Fees Committee met behind closed doors earlier this month to deliberate how to allocate student fees.

Now, it’s reconvening in public to reconsidering requests made by campus organizations — after a proposed cut to The Sunflower “raised First Amendment questions.”

After the closed meeting, the committee suggested drastic cuts for some programs, including The Sunflower’s operating funding by 50 percent.

Funding for other programs would have increased with the proposed budget, like Student Affairs, which was recommended an increase of $118,811.

Vice President for Student Affairs Teri Hall is the chair of the Student Fees Committee.

An hour before the student senate meeting Wednesday, where the student fees recommendation would have undergone a first reading, Wichita State President John Bardo emailed a statement to Hall, calling for the Student Fee Committee to reconvene and hold its deliberations in public, “so that the campus and the community know we are committed to the First Amendment and the freedom of speech required in a first-class university.”

The Student Fees Committee — a group of students from student government and university administrators — met Friday behind closed doors, barring reporters from The Sunflower and the Wichita Eagle from entry to the student fee deliberations, claiming WSU’s general counsel advised that student government is not a state agency and student fees are not state funds.

Claiming the committee is not subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act, university administrators and student government members discussed how to allocate $9,642,314 in mandatory fees students pay in addition to tuition each year.

Monday, The Sunflower wrote about how members of the Student Fees Committee might be retaliating for its investigative reporting. That evening, the committee released its recommendations, cutting The Sunflower’s operating funds in half and its request by nearly two-thirds, from $158,000 to $55,000.

See requested amounts and justifications for requests presented to the Student Fees Committee, obtained through the Kansas Open Records Act, here: Student Fee and EOF Request Binder.

See the Student Fee Committee’s first recommendations here: FY19-Recommended-Student-Fees-Budget.

 

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About the Writer
Chance Swaim, Editor in Chief
Chance Swaim is the Editor in Chief of The Sunflower. Swaim is a graduate student in the English Department working on his Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Wichita State University. Swaim is from Wichita, Kansas. After graduation, Swaim plans to continue his journalism career and write novels, stories, and poems.
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