Kansas Chancellor Vetoes Funds for Multicultural Student Government

May 6, 2016

The chancellor of the University of Kansas on Wednesday vetoed a proposed $2 fee intended to fund a new multicultural student government, leaving the future of the organization in doubt.

Student demonstrators, led by the activist group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk, demanded the creation of the parallel student government during campus protests last year. In March, the Kansas Student Senate approved of the student fee increase to support the new organization. But on Wednesday, Bernadette Gray-Little, the university's chancellor, wrote to the Student Senate's executive committee, saying she could not recommend that the Kansas Board of Regents approve the new fee.

The University Senate Code only allows for three governing bodies on campus: the Faculty Senate, the Staff Senate and the Student Senate. Altering the code to officially allow for a fourth representative body would require at least year of deliberation, Gray-Little wrote, meaning the fee would be created before the multicultural student government officially existed.

"I believe that the independent student government proposed in the document sent to the University Senate is not an optimal way to achieve the goals we have for diversity and inclusion at the university and, indeed, may lead to greater divisiveness," Gray-Little wrote. "I realize that this proposal grew out of concern about the accessibility and openness to student government to all of our students."

Trinity Carpenter, interim secretary for the Multicultural Student Government, told the Lawrence Journal-World that the group plans to keep pushing for funding.

"This hurts, because we are the marginalized students who know there is a need for this resource," Carpenter said. "It’s even harder to accept because they have admitted there is a need for this institution and are not supporting it."

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