Editor's Note: This is one of two guest columns published in the Kansan regarding the recent decision by Student Senate to dissolve its agreement with the Multicultural Student Government. The other was written by MSG founding member Trinity Carpenter.
Recently, I decided to move control of the Multicultural Educational Fund back to the Student Senate Multicultural Affairs Committee, and I also decided to not present a block allocation to continue to fund the Multicultural Student Government. MSG is a student organization that will be free to request funding for programming events from Student Senate and the Multicultural Educational Fund.
This decision was not made lightly. I spoke with our advisors, the Student Senate director of diversity and inclusion, members of the Student Senate Multicultural Affairs Committee and current and former members of MSG. The Memorandum of Agreement, which was signed by the previous administration in spring 2017, outlined the funding amounts for MSG for the next three years. While the agreement was well-intentioned, it was repeatedly violated and is thus now null and void. These violations include a refusal to work with Student Senate to serve marginalized students, and multiple instances of misappropriating student fee funded accounts for personal use, without using the processes stated in the Memorandum of Agreement. More importantly, Student Senate can also only fund registered student groups, and whether MSG can continue to meet those requirements is not guaranteed at this time.
MSG rose out of the right sentiment: Student Senate representation was not addressing diversity and inclusion on campus. Since then, we have elevated the Multicultural Board of Advisors, composed of students who represent multicultural student groups, that meet with the chancellor, provost and many vice provosts. This board is able to confront issues that affect marginalized students on campus directly with administrators who can help solve these issues.
Moving forward, we plan to establish a Multicultural Educational Fund Board composed of members of MSG and the Student Senate Multicultural Affairs Committee. We also will be focused on giving the Multicultural Affairs Committee a larger role and more resources. We have set aside funds for the next fiscal year to provide for programming in the Student Senate committees, which will give the Multicultural Affairs Committee the opportunity to host more events to connect with students.
MSG has been involved in these conversations about creating this board and the work we hope to do on Student Senate’s Multicultural Affairs Committee and the Multicultural Board of Advisors. I value their input and look forward to continuing this dialogue with them in hopes that these entities can work together.
It is time for Student Senate to move forward to improve its representation. I hope you will join us in being part of this work to move Senate and our campus forward.
Mady Womack, student body president, is a senior from Leawood studying economics.