SGA ticket answers The Sunflower’s questions

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SGA ticket answers The Sunflower’s questions

*The Sunflower will update answers from Revival as responses roll in. 

The Sunflower asked student Senate candidates from the sole “Revival” ticket twenty pertinent questions for the upcoming election, divided into three categories (Campus/Student Life, SGA, and University). These were the responses we received, in whole:

Student Government

According to SGA’s survey from the fall, 4.17 percent of students answered “definitely yes” about SGA representing their interests. 11.54 percent said “definitely no.” Why do you think students don’t feel represented this year and how will you change that next year?

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Without more context, including the survey, the results, and information about who responded, I can’t really answer this question. I can say, however, as a Graduate Student Senator, I want to meet as many graduate students as possible, discuss our concerns, and find solutions. For much of the 60th session, graduate students weren’t fully represented in SGA. Some of us also feel without a graduate student in some of the budget and fees discussion, an important voice was missing, one that understands the unique educational situation of graduate students.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

In my opinion, the types of senate seats in the Senate lends itself to a potential lack of representation for the diverse population of SGA. Luckily, last week at our Wednesday meeting we were able to pass a bill creating senate seats for underserved student populations at WSU. If passed by the student body when it is on the ballot, this will be a great step towards both providing a broader array of perspectives in SGA and also allowing the Senate to better reflect the views and opinions of the student body. Also, I believe that Senators–myself included–should do a better job of reaching out to our constituents. During the campaign cycle, ticket candidates make a concerted effort to table, talk to their classes, and reach out to students in their academic college. This level of engagement should continue throughout the entire session–not just during campaign season. Oftentimes, students do not even know who their Senator is so I think greater engagement with students in a senator’s respective college as well as the student body as a whole would create an environment that is conducive to better advocacy and more productivity in the Senate. For example, having Senators talk to each of their classes at the start of the semester about who they are and what we do in SGA is just one of many small steps Senators can take that can make a huge difference in SGA.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

I think students feel this way for a multiple of reason, I will try to improve these stats over the coming year by reaching out to the student body each week, explaining to students what sga is and trying to improve student life with new programs.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I think that with these types of systems of representation, there will always be people who don’t feel represented. However, I do believe it is the job of the senator to as accurately as possible represent the opinions of their constituents. More often than not, a senator will have more knowledge on a topic being voted than any one of their constituents, and this may lead them to have a different stance on the bill/resolution than those that they are representing. In this case, it is important that the senator make an effort to educate those that will listen on the issue and why they plan to vote the way they do. I think, in most cases, that after this education and conversation take place, it is still the responsibility for the senator to vote with the opinion of the constituents. Last semester when I emailed a couple of my senators about the YMCA topic, one of them voted with the consensus of the constituents that responded, even though they personally may have been leaning the other way. The other senator voted in their own interest and against the consensus of the constituents that responded. I think that this is one large contributing factor to the reason why many students feel like SGA does not represent their interests all the time. In addition, since only the numbers for the 2 extremes “definitely no” or “definitely yes” were provided, I’m not sure if the other 85% of respondents feel that SGA represents their interests more, however the fact that almost 12% say that it doesn’t, shows that there is progress on the association’s part to be made, and I plan to contribute by talking to and making a valid effort to accurately represent my constituents’ opinions.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I think one of the main reasons why students feel misrepresented is because they don’t feel like their Student Government is listening to them. We need to create an environment where students feel comfortable talking with their senators, coming to them with concerns, and starting community outreach beyond the cabinet level. I believe in the leaders of our ticket. I am especially excited for them to work more with the senate on their initiatives as opposed to functioning separately. I hope to contribute my efforts by empowering the voices of my constituents, building a foundation of trust, and working hard to fight the stagnation in the current culture of our student senate.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

The purpose of the Student Government Association is first and foremost to benefit and represent the interests of the student body. We as senators occasionally forget that this is our primary goal, and lose track of why we do what we do. Students do not feel represented because of this, and I believe this issue can be fixed with the understanding that SGA comes with a time commitment and a moral duty. The Student Government should strive overall to serve the student body, regardless of partisan opinions.

Should student government have a say in the student affairs department’s funding? The amount of student fees the department receives continues to grow, and student affairs is currently a fixed-line item on the student fees budget, meaning SGA can’t negotiate the amount of funding it receives.

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Overall, there seems to be confusion about the student fees budget and what SGA has a say in. In my 15 years experience in human resources and nonprofit organizations, I do agree that SGA is not in the position to determine staffing of any organization or department; that violates employee’s rights. That goes for determining positions for Student Affairs as well as The Sunflower and all other departments and organizations that receive funding through the student fees process. I also understand the importance of fixed line items: these are not items whose budgets should be determined on a whim or out of jealousy or anger. The student fees committee has to have Senators on it who understand complex budget issues and can find solutions to difficult conflicts in values. Having not seen the entire proposal from Student Affairs (since I was not in the student fees presentations and did not see any materials not in “the binder”), I can’t say whether their budget was fair or not. But we must determine what is important on campus, not just what has the most “bang for the buck.” Every organization and department, as well as every student, has to accept that we do not receive the state funding we need to excel as a university so we must all understand some sacrifices must be made so we can all survive and thrive.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

Fixed-line items, such as the student affairs budget, cannot be amended on the Senate floor but student government does have a say on the funding.  Along with Senators being able to serve on the committee itself, we can also advocate to the committee about funding we feel should be changed.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

SGA should have a say in the amount of funding the student affairs department gets because it is paid for from student fees.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I’ve heard from a few senators that even though student affairs funding is a fixed line item, that you can still negotiate the funding prior to the funding proposal being presented on the senate floor. That being said, I believe that it is important that STUDENTS have input in the funding of STUDENT affairs, however I also keep in mind that those working in student affairs most likely know best where the money should be allocated and how much they need. I think it requires a delicate balance of involvement from both parties.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I think that that is up to the student body. If they want to continue to fund Student Affairs the way that it currently is, then we should continue that system. On the flip side, if students would like to see a reform of Student Affairs funding, then I think that would definitely be something we could do. Students not on SGA can still help us write legislation, and if this is something they would like to do, then I invite them to be involved in the process as well.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

We do have power to alter the amount of student fees the department receives, and we can negotiate how much money student affairs gets, although we cannot change the amount when it is presented on the floor. Most of the work on this that senators do is outside of the actual senate meetings. In addition, there are positions for students on the student fees committee, which senators often occupy.

Do you think SGA should resume live streaming their meetings?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

We need to find solutions to live streaming all SGA meetings that meet the needs of all students including those with disabilities and the language barrier. I would not feel comfortable live streaming in such a way that only able-bodied students are able to fully participate while others have to wait.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

Yes, I believe that the live-stream should be resumed. Live-streaming of SGA meetings was ended due to the fact that the videos were not ADA-compliant. In order to make these videos compliant with the ADA, captions would need to added or an interpreter hired which is a significant cost. Currently, I know that Presidential Candidate Kenon Brinkley and Vice Presidential Candidate Shelby Rowell are pursuing ways to remedy this.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

SGA meetings should be live streamed it would help with the transparency issue.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I am 100% in favor of live streaming SGA meetings. It was immensely helpful for me in the past as I couldn’t normally make it to meetings. I am very eager to see what we can do to work on addressing the ADA compliances so we can make it so that all students can tune in to the meetings if they so wish. A few current senators have had ideas on how to work towards that so I am excited to work with them to see how we can get it rolling.      

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

Yes. Though the live streaming stopped because the livestreaming was not ADA compliant, I think we could make it work by creating an internship/co-op opportunity for either a media arts or communications student to provide closed captioning and/or sign language interpretation.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

Yes, I do. However, like many things, it’s not as simple as that. As I’ve mentioned before, communication is incredibly important to me. SGA stopped live streaming their meetings because the videos were not ADA compliant (we didn’t have subtitles on the video, and it’s very pricey to put them on). If we wanted to resume live-streaming, we’d have to include subtitles, or find another means of communicating, besides with just the audio. We are currently looking into more ways to do that, and I hope to find a solution soon.

How do you think the 61st session should address student concerns with tuition/fee increases?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

The 60th session began the process of making sure public education funding includes K-12 as well as higher education. I would like to see us, as SGA and as a student body, lobby our legislators and let them know that higher education cannot continue to be cut at the state level. Making sure primary, secondary, and higher education are fully funded by the state will go a long way toward helping with tuition increases. There are some fees we can’t do anything about, but I would like to see exactly what all of our student fees go toward and making sure that process is transparent and open as well.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

College tuition is an issue that will be on the forefront all across Kansas as the state legislature decides how they will fund K-12 education which may involve potentially cutting funding to higher education. While unfortunately not much direct action can be taken by SGA, we can help educate students on Wichita State about the legislative process and amplify their voices. Fine Arts Senator Haley Ensz and I are currently in discussions about creating a legislative forum this next fall where we would invite state senators and representatives from around the Wichita area to explain how the state legislature works and give tips on the best way to students can advocate for their concerns. Student fees, on the other hand, is an area where SGA can have a direct impact. Our number one priority as a governing body should be to listen to students’ voices. Fiduciary responsibility is extremely important to the student fees process but we must also listen to the concerns of the student body and what they want to be funded. I believe that a good balance between the two can be found and that is what I will advocate for during the process.  

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

The 61st session should address tuition and fees increases with a mid set of only when absolutely needed. College can break the bank and we all know that however at the same time we cannot let a dollar sign always stand in the way of progress.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I think that the 61st session needs to be open about what’s on the table and what’s being proposed. It is in our best interest to educate the students and provide as much information as we can so that they can formulate an educated opinion so that we can adequately reflect that in how we vote. It is my intention, as I would assume most students’ intention, to avoid tuition increases at all costs unless absolutely necessary. In my personal opinion, I don’t think I’m in any position to recommend that other students pay more and accumulate even higher student loans for something that may only benefit me and not necessarily benefit them.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

We are facing an interesting time where K-12 funding may unfortunately have come out of our higher ed funding, because the K-12 schools are severely underfunded as well. Though it’s clear how important K-12 funding is, we as students also know how invaluable higher education can be. In order to alleviate budget cuts, I and senator Jaiden Soupene are working to get a panel of legislators together to teach us how to talk with legislators most effectively. I also want to organize more trips up to Topeka, so we may apply that knowledge in person.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

As a body, we desire to keep student fees low to keep college as affordable as possible. In addition, I also hope to continue refining the process of funding through student fees to best reflect the student body’s interests. Understand that if we funded every request for funds fully, student fees would increase substantially. Regardless, I desire to do whatever I can do manage fees ethically and responsibly.

One of SGA’s most important roles on campus is to help allocate individual and organizational funding through student fees. How can the process improve?

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

That is a discussion SGA needs to have with RSOs to discuss the needs, rights, and responsibilities of all parties.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

This process is carried out largely through the Budget and Finance Committee and seems to run pretty efficiently. The only improvement for this process that I see necessary would perhaps be that more individuals and organizations requesting funding speak to the Senate as a whole and not just the Budget and Finance Committee when they are asking for a large amount.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

The process of funding is very serious and should not be taken lightly. As of now I do not know how it can be improved but as time goes on I will want SGA to move as productively as possible and will advocate for the best way for this process to move.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I think that the process can be better explained and be clear and concise in what the requesting party must do and what senate can do.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

Having been through this process, I believe that in order to make it more beneficial, giving at least a portion of the funding upfront would help tremendously. Since it is all by reimbursement now, it limits students by their financial status. Even if we can just do a little, I think it would help tremendously.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

We strive to keep funding processes simple and straightforward, although I would like to see greater communication between the organizations/individuals and SGA, so that funding can be distributed purposefully and honestly. Further, the budget and finance committee is already in the process of improving this system.

 

This question is open ended: If you could change one thing at Wichita State during your term, what would it be?

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

I want all Shockers to be proud to be Shockers. I want all Shockers to be safe and respectful of one another. I want us to find the good as well as the bad, and I want us to make it better, together. This will mean sometimes moving past ourselves and our individual egos and working together, compromising, and building for future students. My father first attended WSU more than 50 years ago, and my parents met and graduated from here. I want WSU to be vibrant 50 years from now. WSU has changed since my father built a fiberglass Wu as part of homecoming festivities (it apparently rode a rail system down off an engineering building in order to “block an extra point”), but WSU has to be there for every department, every college, and every student in order to continue the tradition. I want all Shockers to be part of that future.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

The most meaningful change that can feasibly be done in SGA during the 61st session is better engagement with the student body as well as increased participation. Overall, a sense of apathy seems to have pervaded SGA and the students’ views towards it. A series of reforms on multiple fronts needs to occur for this to change. Firstly, as I have mentioned before, transparency needs to be increased through more open and proactive communication. Secondly, more perspectives need to be brought to the table when making decisions. One way our ticket plans to do this is through a Registered Student Organization (RSO) board where we can have better relationships with student organizations and actually work with them to write legislation that addresses their concerns. We as a governing body also need to do better at consistent outreach throughout the year to students regarding their opinions on different issues that arise throughout the year.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

I would like to see better marketing to all aspects of Wichita State life. So often I hear students not knowing about services offered, or what different groups do on campus, or having a false idea about how different organizations are ran.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I think the one thing that I would change would be the apathy on WSU’s campus. We only seem to change things when a major problem arises, as opposed to taking initiative when we see a problem is in its beginning stages. We need to put care back into our campus.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

I plan on working next year regarding the overall sentiment about Wichita State that is present in my Wichita State students. Although Wichita State, like any university, is not perfect, it continues to grow, and students have the power to shape that growth. We are attending Wichita State at an incredibly important time, and I would encourage students to use that to make and be the changes they wish to see. I desire to see a passion for change in the student body, characterizing an atmosphere of progress instead of an atmosphere of frustration and grumbling.

 

Campus/Student Life

What’s the number one issue students should care about going into next year?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

I am not going to tell students what they should care about. I do hope, however, that all students can feel safe and open to discuss any issues they have. I hope also to hear not just what needs to be fixed but what is going well and needs to continue. Our priorities can’t just be “what’s wrong?” because “what’s right?” is just as important.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

On campus, there are many issues that matter and may impact each student differently so I do not believe it is apt to declare only one issue as most important for Wichita State. That being said, the most important issue relating to student government is transparency. Unfortunately, the image of SGA is often one of great negativity to many students on campus. The most important way to address this issue from student government’s perspective is to increase the frequency of communication with students as well as the Sunflower so they can relay more information to the student body. Students must also hold their SGA senators and cabinet accountable on promises to be transparent and proactive with communication.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

A large issue students should care about is how campus is changing with the
innovation campus and what it means to them.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I think the number one issue is very different for each student so I don’t think that there’s one certain issue that’s at the very top of every student’s list (except maybe parking because it seems like it always is). For example, DACA students are still in a kind of limbo as to what kind of legislation is going to be deciding their futures so I’m sure that that issue is at the forefront of their minds. Education majors may be focused on if/how the new Wonder school will be beneficial to their hands-on learning experience; and I’m sure journalist students are concerned about how the Sunflower may change their program/structure. So I think it is a little beyond me to say what topic is most important to students for this upcoming year.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I think the number one issue is trust and communication. The only way that we can accomplish the best work is through enthusiastic communication between the student body, student senators, SGA cabinet, and the administration. If we try to do too much on our own we will become out of touch with those we are supposed to be representing.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

Communication. Students should listen and be active in their roles as constituents, understanding that they truly have the power to change Wichita State for the better. We, the Student Government Association, serve as a resource to them, and are here to help them. If we want to make that difference, there must be strong communication between the student body and their representative senators, as well as an overall understanding of how SGA operates. Students should communicate their interests, the problems they see on campus, to their senators, and the senators should respond by communicating fully to the student body about what is happening in SGA. Without communication, nothing can get accomplished.

 

Parking is an ongoing issue for students. How do you intend to address it?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

I hear a lot of complaints about parking for students. The two primary concerns I hear regard price and availability. Availability isn’t really a problem as there are often dozens of green parking spots open throughout the days. The problem with availability seems to be more about location. There is not much that can be done about this without changing or adding shuttle stops. As for price, I would like to see the cost of parking passes go down. However, I would need to investigate further past SGA discussions and agreements regarding parking to have the required information to address concerns. I would also like to see changes to parking during men’s basketball games as the current situation punishes students for taking those far away, available spots and also attend classes as they need to.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

Parking is an issue that I believe Wichita State will always have due to space limitations. As parking continues to grow more scarce, making the students’ voices known whether that be potentially passing a resolution or inviting students to public forum is an important duty of the senate. In the future, it would be wonderful to see more parking perhaps built on the east side of the campus where space is available. If that opportunity ever arises, I would certainly be an advocate for it.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

Parking is a complex issue with no obvious solution. Problems within parking include but are not limited to, not enough spaces, expensive tickets, or the way parking is enforced. An idea I believe we could get through the easiest is improving the  ticket forgiveness program.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

Parking has been evaluated for quite a long time now. I know the current and past student advocates have worked hard to try to make the parking ticket process easier and have worked on parking in general as much as they could. I think that parking will be a long ongoing issue and will try my best to communicate information about parking to the students and take a look a the parking situations specifically around game days, as that is the time that students seem to be frustrated most about parking. I share a lot of those concerns and will work with those who have worked on parking in the past and see what options we have for making it easier for students to quickly park and get to their classes with general ease.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I think that we need to keep speaking up, but we can be louder. When student voices are loud, the University listens.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

The appeals system needs to be continually repaired and improved. I hope to do a better job of informing students that they have the option to take tickets they get to the appeals committee and to court to present their case. In the future, I plan to continue to encourage the development of new parking to simplify the process of parking and make moving around campus easier for students who do not live on campus.

 

The College Readership Program was defunded last session to fund on-campus surveillance cameras. How do you feel about this decision?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Looking back at minutes from earlier in the session, I saw that problems with delivery had been discussed much of the school year. I would like to find a replacement to keep local and national newspapers available to students. The program was not defunded in order to fund on-campus surveillance cameras; the contract was cancelled and the remaining budget from FY18 was earmarked for cameras. It’s important to understand the history of the program in order to move into the future.  

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

The College Readership Program was ended due to a continuous breach of contract by the newspapers being delivered. Multiple resolutions were passed by the senate this session advocating for increased campus safety and I believe we all felt this was a great way to reinforce those opinions with real action. While it was unfortunate that the Readership Program was ended, it would not be appropriate for us to continue this contract using students’ money when the program was not fulfilling its obligations to our university.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

I side with SGA because student safety is a big concern, all students should feel like this is a safe place.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

If I’m not mistaken, the program was not cut to specifically fund the security cameras, rather than to free up funding for an array of things that SGA thought would be more beneficial to the students, and the security cameras happened to be one of them. This was a decision by SGA that I was very satisfied with when I heard about it, primarily because getting more security cameras on campus was something that I have heard several students show interest in, myself included. Campus safety is one of my main focuses, because no one should have to pay to come to school in fear and have it distract them from a positive learning environment. While it is always difficult to end a program that served students by allowing them more resources, I think that the security cameras would benefit a larger amount of students.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

Security cameras are very important, but so is enrichment on our campus. I hope that we may find a way to get a similar program back on campus. I think an online subscription option would be a great avenue to explore, similar to the free Microsoft Office download each student has.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

It is important to note that the College Readership Program had many flaws, and was discontinued because newspapers were sloppily delivered and delivered rarely on time. I believe funding security cameras is a better use of the student body’s money; however, I also understand the importance of the news, and encourage the student body to stay informed. Once again, this problem is on my radar, and I am currently looking for a replacement to Readership.

 

Should Wichita State continue to use the +/- grading system? Do you have any specific ideas about the grade scale?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

There are so many opinions about the +/- grading system. It’s important to determine the best system for students and their futures, including those going on to graduate school both at WSU and other universities.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

As a member of the Academics Committee, we have been in constant discussion about the plus-minus system and alternatives. The likelihood of changing the system is low as we were told it would be extremely costly to replace the infrastructure. Professors do have the freedom, though to set their own grading scale and we have been working on ways in the Academics Committee to make this more widely-known to instructors while also still respecting academic freedom. This issue will need to be worked on further in the next session. I also have been in contact with the faculty senate regarding a potential A+ grade being added to the scale which will be handled by them this fall.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

Way too often I have seen and experienced the negative effects of the plus minus system at Wichita State. I’d like to see it replaced.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

While I’m not a fan of the +/- system, there have been several efforts by many senators to try to reverse it and the consensus is that it will be very expensive to alter the whole structure. I would definitely like to look into it more; however a couple senators have noted that individual instructors have the ability to create their own grading scales so I would like to see if or how we could capitalize on that.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

From what I have heard there are people looking into logistics of the +/- grading scale, but for right now I think that encouraging our professors to adjust their own grading scales to not be +/- is one of our best options.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

As a member of the academics committee in SGA, I have thoroughly explored this issue. Currently, professors have the choice to decide whether or not they want to use a +/- scale or an A/B scale. We do not have much sway on this issue, but the academics committee has researched and brainstormed several new ideas for the grading scale and presented them to faculty and administration. Among these ideas are the removal of the A-, the addition of an A+, and simply communicating to all professors their ability to choose which grading scale they desire to use, as some professors don’t understand the whole issue.

 

How would you address student concerns with the development of a Koch family-funded, private K-12 school on WSU’s campus?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

I want to make sure all of us have all the information regarding the building of a private, unaccredited school existing on WSU’s main campus. Having an unaccredited program, one that is intentionally unaccredited, on the main campus concerns me greatly. We need to hold ourselves to the highest standards; hosting a school that is designed to be unaccredited does not seem to hold us to that standard, regardless of funding source.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

Firstly, SGA needs to be more informed on this issue in general. I personally have not been informed on any specifics of this private school other than what is in the local paper. Early in the 61st Session, hopefully we can bring an administration member knowledgeable on the issue to public forum so that everyone can better understand the situation. I would also like to sit down with the College of Education and here their thoughts on the matter.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

I think the Koch school is a great idea. However being on out campus I would like to see some on jobs offered exclusively to students, and a few resume and interview workshops for the college of education students.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

Again, I think that it is important to be open and educated about what’s going to be on our campus and what purpose it serves. This is something that we don’t have any direct control over, so I think that one of the most important things that we can do is to educate ourselves and our constituents about the things that are coming to WSU and collectively voice our opinion to those that do have direct influence.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I want to provide the students with the information they ask for, because right now a lot of us seem to be in the dark on the subject. Many students I have talked to are worried about gentrification pushing out the current community surrounding the University. I am also worried that this will further the parking epidemic on campus, and due to its private school nature there will be a missed opportunity for Education co-ops and internships.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

I would encourage students to reach out to me and the COE administration in order to continue dialog. I hope to continue to reach out to the student body in the monthly meetings I plan to have with the dean of the COE next year. As an education major, I love the concept of the school, but it falls short in reality. Because the school is unaccredited, education students cannot receive credit for working in Wonder.

 

Following the death of Wichita State instructor Kathy Hull, how do you think Wichita State should improve its crosswalk system?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Two people have died in the past two years at crosswalks. SGA discussed improvements to the crosswalks before Ms. Hull’s death. We need, at the minimum, signs that clearly mark crosswalks and remind drivers to watch for pedestrians, especially at the crosswalks that are more difficult to see. The university should also examine the placement of crosswalks (Perimeter Drive use to go under the skywalk between McKnight and the Ulrich; the change in the road several years ago created a difficult crosswalk between McKnight and Wilner, one that has proven to be dangerous).  

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

The death of Kathy Hull is extremely heartbreaking and preventable. Wichita State should do everything in its power to ensure this never happens to anyone again. There are many areas on campus where crosswalks are not clearly-designated and I think the proper changes need to be made. WSU has brought in a professional to address these inadequacies and it will be our job as a student government to hold people making these decisions accountable.  

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

The crosswalk system can be improved with signs for walkers informing that driver visibility is skewed during some hours of the day and more signs for drivers stating to yield because of a crosswalk.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I know that a senator has already started talking with someone who’s in charge of re-evaluating the crosswalks and is working on having someone come out to see what can be changed and enhanced. I think that that is a great first step and would love to continue that progress to make our campus as safe as we can.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

Being a Fine Arts student in the College of Art and Design, I was so saddened by this. I had a class with Kathy last semester, and it was unreal to hear that this happened to her. From the limited firsthand accounts that I have heard, this sounds like it was a freak accident. Clearly, this is a WSU problem. A couple weeks ago I met with Eric King, Associate Vice President for Facilities, and we discussed the University’s plans to reform safety on campus. They are in the process of professionally evaluating the campus, and I hope to be able to report on their findings soon. In the meantime, I hope to create a resolution to ask the University to limit the vehicle usage on WSU sidewalks. Kathy was so kind to all, and I will do all I can to honor her.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

Yes, and we are currently in the process of submitting further legislation asking the administration to improve crosswalk safety. This is an important issue that we hope to fix as soon as possible, and we have a professional coming in to assess the safety needs. A senator in SGA is currently writing a resolution about the issue.

 

Should The Sunflower should receive student fee funding?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Absolutely. Our Student Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech, press, assembly, and redressing our government, reflecting our First Amendment rights. The student government as well as the university need to do all within their power to make sure our rights are not infringed upon. Since student press, by necessity, relies upon their schools to provide at least some of their funding, it is best for schools to fund student press as requested in order to not interfere with the press but to make sure the rights of students to the press is guaranteed. SGA can no more micromanage The Sunflower than we can micromanage Student Affairs or the Rhatigan Student Center. We must hold our Student Bill of Rights, Constitution, Bylaws, and Statutes as the foundation of our values on campus.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

Yes. The Sunflower is an vital organization at Wichita State that provides learning opportunities and valuable experience for its staff and also serves as an important source of information for students on campus. In any system of governance, whether it be the United States Congress or SGA at Wichita State, journalists have an important role to play in holding leaders accountable.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

The amount of funding The Sunflowers has gotten may not have seemed justified but the 60th session felt they had expressed the feeling of the student body to the best of their ability, while only given a limited amount of fees to delegate, sometimes not every group requesting fees gets exactly what they ask.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

Yes. The Sunflower is an important resource to students on campus; however I have heard parts of ideas of alternative or better ways of funding student papers that may not cause as much controversy so I think that all options would be good to look into.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

Yes. They benefit all students and keep the University leaders in check. I hope next year’s student fees committee recognizes this, and I am hopeful that they will. For now, I will try to help The Sunflower find temporary funding.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

Yes, they should, and they should receive more than they are currently funded. Regardless of one’s opinion of the Sunflower, they present opportunities for applied learning and as a newspaper is essential to the function and status of WSU. I encourage the Sunflower to also seek out additional funding from other sources besides student fees, including other institutions within Wichita State University.

 

How do you feel about Wichita State’s anti-tobacco policy? People to continue to smoke on campus and fires have started as a result of the removal of ash trays on campus. Should ashtrays be put back on campus to prevent the butts and fires?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

I support WSU being tobacco-free. Those who smoke should respect this public health policy and others on campus and make sure to smoke where they should and do so responsibly. I understand this may be a burden to those who smoke; however, we must balance between those who use tobacco products and the public health concerns of smoking. We can work to find ways to help smokers and others while also respecting that the campus is tobacco-free.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

The goals of this policy are noble and well-intentioned but as with any policy, some will choose not to follow. To prevent fires on campus, I do think that restoring ashtrays to campus could be a good preventative step.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

The tobacco free policy is one of my favorite parts about campus life. If ash trays are brought back it could give people the idea that it is okay to smoke on campus again.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I’m in favor of the anti-tobacco and have heard from many other students that are in favor of it too. Some people do continue to smoke on campus but from what I’ve observed, it’s not nearly as many people that have in the past. I wouldn’t necessarily say that fires have started BECAUSE of the removal of ashtrays, so much as people being careless about where they extinguish, or rather not extinguish, their cigarette. I think that putting ashtrays back on campus would be pretty contradictive to the effort of being tobacco free, so maybe instead we should emphasize the importance of making sure that the embers are extinguished before it is free to start a fire, if people do not wish to follow the tobacco free effort.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

As a person with asthma, I do appreciate the efforts to keep the smoke away from my educational environment; however, now there aren’t any repercussions to violating the anti-smoking rule. Without penalties, this rule has no real effect, and it simply eliminates proper ash trays. I think we either need to reinstate the ashtrays and take away the policy, or we need ot keep the policy and provide incentive for people to follow the rule. Ultimately, I think that our decision should be based on what policy the student body wants.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

For the sake of safety, ashtrays should be put back on campus in designated smoking areas. Smoking should be regulated and permitted in a select few places.

 

How do you feel about rules related to alcohol on campus and at student housing?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

This is not an issue that I have heard from other graduate students about. Since it seems to be a concern, I will investigate and ask my constituency their concerns.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

As I understand the rules, alcohol is not allowed in housing facilities. Personally, I feel comfortable with this policy and have not heard much discussion about it. I had not considered this policy much before but will certainly be talking to my constituents about it to hear their opinions.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

Alcohol on campus is currently at a good place with it being sold at the RSC, Koch, and Eck. It is also a good idea that most Greek houses are dry along with Shocker Hall and the Flats.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I’m content with the current rules requiring there be no alcohol on most of campus and all of our housing.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I know there have been talks about expanding the scope of where alcohol is allowed on campus, but I have not been extremely involved in this topic. However, if other students would like to see a change in this area, then I would of course be willing to talk with them about what they would like to see changed.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

Student housing should be kept alcohol free, and I understand and agree with the rules regarding alcohol on campus as a whole. Consumption of alcohol on campus should be limited to the RSC basement, sporting events, and events at which the president is present.

 

Speaking of student housing, do you think it should be mandatory for students to live on campus their first year?

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

This is a difficult question to answer. There are benefits to students experiencing campus life, but the cost of living on campus can be quite prohibitive. Moving out on one’s own is also an overwhelming new experience. While I see the benefits, I am concerned about available housing at WSU, especially using a private enterprise as dorms (The Flats) instead of ensuring enough dorms are available for those who wish to live on campus. Having lived in dorms and apartments on campuses, there is a difference between the two.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

I do not think it should be required. As a commuter student who lives in Wichita, it has been an enormous cost-saver to live at home rather than stay in the dorms. I do see the benefits of living on-campus and would even encourage students to do so if it made sense for them but for many students it is not a decision in the best interest of their finances and I would not support a mandatory first year on-campus.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

No, many students live in the Wichita metro making living on campus pointless.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

No, I don’t think so. I understand how convenient living on campus is, and it provides a lot of opportunities to new students; however, if less students were required to live on campus, we probably wouldn’t have the overcrowding in the dorms that we do now. Also, requiring this is causing financial stress on students that are already struggling to pay tuition.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

No, but I would strongly encourage students to live on campus their first year because of the connections one makes as a freshmen. However, I understand that financially, living on campus is not as viable an option. Students should be strongly encouraged to live on campus, but should still retain the ability to choose.

 

University

The university has been criticized for a lack of transparency and disregard for shared governance in decision-making. How do you intend to address this issue?

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Transparency and open government rank high in general concerns for me personally. Other graduate students feel the same way. Insofar as I can, I want proceedings that should be open to actually be open, available to all to attend, and available afterward in multiple formats for all students and stakeholders to have access to. This includes standard minutes and other legal requirements as well as recording meetings, making them accessible to disabled students, and posting them online in a timely fashion. A democratic campus requires information, and we have to provide it. I know that, personally, I prefer captioning on videos because my disability can make it difficult to understand what’s being said. Captioning is needed for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, audio descriptions for blind and low vision individuals, and captioning also helps those who have difficulty with English.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

Transparency is an extremely important issue currently at Wichita State that Student Government can do much to remedy and it all beings with open communication. On the Revival ticket, we have had discussions of a newsletter to be sent out on a regular basis through social media and potentially email that outlines what student government has been working on as well as what goals we have for the future. If we can establish a reliable and constant stream of communication out to the student body about what is happening, that leads to greater transparency along with a better understanding of actions taking place within SGA. Currently, there also seems to be a large disconnect between the Sunflower and SGA which leads to miscommunication and a lack of trust. I do not believe this is healthy for either institution and creates a divide between the two. Proactive communication is in my opinion, the best way to solve this. Instead of waiting to be contacted by the Sunflower about an issue or legislation, we as a governing body reach out to them and make sure they are fully aware of what is happening so that issue of miscommunication does not arise. I believe that the Revival ticket and especially our Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates understand this well and will work to repair this relationship.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

I shall address the issue of transparency by answering every question I get to the best of my abilities.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I do think there is a gap between students and the administration and I hope to help bridge that gap by having meaningful and substantive conversations with administrators about some of the issues that concern students that SGA senators and exec. may not know the answers to. When I was in Shocker Freshman Council, we had meetings with all the president’s executive team members and they were very pleasant, informative, and constructive. It shows that the gap can be filled so long as you have the right approach and administrators have respect for the students, as they are here to serve the students, as well as the students having respect for the administration.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I intend to get the communication flowing in the most respectful way as possible; however, if people are resistant, I will continue to push. There is no need for students to be unclear on where their leaders stand on issues. Frankly, it is disrespectful and unnecessary to keep students in the dark.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

The biggest step SGA can take regarding this issue is to itself model an effective means of communication with the student body. One of my goals for this is to establish an SGA newsletter that the student body can easily access in order to understand what is happening in the governing body. Besides this, the Student Government Association should be taking steps to reach out to the university administration in order to foster healthy discussion about issues the student body feels are important. The key to fixing this perceived lack of transparency is to refocus goals and projects on what the student body truly needs. I’m excited to make this happen next year.

 

How will you involve students in the conversation about Innovation Campus as it expands?

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Many graduate students will be impacted, both positively and negatively, by the Innovation Campus. We need to have as much information as possible, accurate discussions with students, and determine what we can do for the future of WSU.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

From the time that I have served in the 60th Session, relatively little discussion has been had regarding the Innovation Campus. Going into this next session if I am elected, I believe that this topic should be emphasized more during discussions between SGA and the administration. When possible, it would be greatly beneficial to have administration members involved in this process speak to the senate as a whole regarding the Innovation Campus so that senators can become more educated on the issue and also share it with their constituents.  

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

I believe social media is a great tool that most of the student body uses. If SGA can properly use social media students will be more involved in the discussion.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

As administration and others in charge of the development of Innovation Campus share information with us, I will be more than happy to share/post/talk about/etc. any of that information shared with us to the students interested. It is extremely important that students are kept in the loop about their expending campus and what is going being brought to it.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

There are some parts of the Innovation Campus that SGA has a direct influence in voting on, and there are parts where we do not. Either way, I think that we have a real opportunity to advocate for what the students want with a consistent flow of communication on all sides. I encourage all students, especially those from Fine Arts, to reach out to me to make your opinion known in this and all situations that I may help you with. As I seek out information about the Innovation Campus, I will do my best to keep the student body updated and involved.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

As an education senator, I’d like to expand this question to ask how I intend to include students in the discussion regarding not just the Innovation Campus, but also the future of the College of Education, as we continue to grow. Because I am running for the position of Education Senator, and, as an education major, my role is to serve as a bridge between the College of Education administration (and administration as a whole) and the student body. Earlier this semester, I met with the dean of the college of education. In this meeting, we discussed problems facing the college of education and how I can help as an Education Senator. Next year, I hope to make these discussions monthly and I also hope to make them open to other education majors. Because the College of Education plays a smaller role on the innovation campus, I hope to help bring the College of Education into that discussion. The future is bright for the College of Education, but I hope to do more to include the COE, as one of the largest colleges at WSU, into even more discussions.

 

Should athletics continue to be funded by student fees?

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Yes. Athletics have long been funded by student fees, most of which never go through SGA. No matter the team, athletics provides opportunities for students on campus, enriching minds, teaching teamwork, providing exercise, and representing WSU across the nation. Our teams, from basketball to golf and beyond, have represented our university at the national level, winning numerous championships over the decades. Rowing and bowling are not NCAA-sanctioned at WSU. Rowing is open to nearly all students, no matter experience, something few other sports can say. The WSU bowling team is one of the winningest teams in the country and at WSU. Whether they are funded under student fees for the athletic department as NCAA sports or they are funded under student fees allocated by SGA, athletics deserve to be funded.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

In terms of the athletic programs that are in the portfolio of the Student Fees committee and ultimately the senate, yes.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

Athletics should continue to be funded by student fees. Athletics bring money into the
university and give the university a positive image. The deal where students get free athletics tickets to any event makes student fee funding even more justified.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

This is a topic that I don’t have much information on and have not spoken to or heard from anyone from the athletic department about, so I hesitate to make much of an opinion on this until I have a sufficient amount of information; however, I will say that athletics greatly benefits the university as a whole and I believe is in our best interest to keep strong.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

I think that the portion of athletics we are funding under student fees is appropriate, but if students want reform then we certainly can look into that.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

To my knowledge, the athletics that are currently funded by student fees are sports clubs, bowling, and rowing. I believe these should continue to be funded by student fees, as these groups are open to all students and present opportunities for all students. However, I believe these groups should be doing a significant amount of fundraising and not completely relying on us to thrive. We can provide a base, but if the groups want to grow the responsibility should fall onto their shoulders.

 

Are you in favor of the YMCA/Wellness fee? Do you know what’s happening with the money collected for that fee? Do you plan to find out?

 

Carolyn Marie Fugit, Graduate Student Senator candidate

Every time I try to find information about the YMCA and the Master Plan, I find inconsistencies and answers that don’t seem to match. I have grave concerns about students paying for a private entity on campus that isn’t under our umbrella (private entities do operate on campus, but there is oversight on these such as businesses that operate in the Rhatigan Student Center). There needs to be more transparency not only in the YMCA/Wellness fee program but in the Master Plan and Strategic Plan overall.

Jaiden Soupene, LAS Senator candidate

I do not currently know enough information regarding this specific fee so I would like to do more research before giving a definitive answer. It would be a good idea for whomever is in the 61st session to have an open discussion regarding our questions and concerns about this fee considering most of the senators, myself included, that will be serving were not involved with this process in SGA last spring.

Taylor J. Cook, Education Senator candidate

I am in favor of the YMCA fee. What students get in return makes it worth it, the access to any Wichita Y along with a Y coming onto campus benefits all students and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Lucas Webb, Honors Senator candidate

I am not a big fan of the wellness fee primarily because I don’t think it had enough of a benefit to outweigh the cost. I realize that many senators voted in favor of it because of the wellness part rather than the YMCA itself, which I was in favor of having the other amenities, however I just think that there could have been a better way of doing it that maybe didn’t involve getting it right now. I believe that the fees are going towards the building of Y on campus, but would like to find out more about where exactly they are going.

Haley Ensz, Fine Arts Senator candidate

Not anymore. The more and more that I found out about the upcoming wellness center, the more that I believe that we should have invested in our existing wellness center and not another privatized business to campus; however, since this is definitely happening, I will do all I can to answer any students’ questions and keep them involved in the conversation.

Matt Miller, Education Senator candidate

Because I am a freshman, this is not an area I am incredibly familiar with. In order to develop a more informed opinion, I would have to do more research. However, I consider it a relevant issue and am open to discussion if any students have any concerns.