Student Senate covering Naismith isolation funds

Student Senate allocated $10,000 of its reserve money to KU Dining to help with the cost of food and other necessities for students isolating in Naismith Hall. 

University of Kansas students isolating in Naismith Hall will now receive aid for meals and toiletries following a $10,000 allocation of Student Senate reserve funds to KU Dining.

The funds will cover $100 per student per week, and any remaining money on Oct. 31 will go to Food for Jayhawks. Student Body President Apramay Mishra said the intention is to create a more long-term plan for funding through a separate bill in the coming weeks.

“This is a result of estimates we received from students currently in isolation,” Mishra said.

In addition to food, KU Dining can use the money to subsidize the cost for toothpaste, deodorant and other hygiene products that students may need while in isolation. The Senate executives decided on $10,000 based on average estimates of what students spend per week, plus some extra “cushion” money in the case of an unanticipated increase in need, Mishra said.

Student Body Vice President Grant Daily said he, Mishra and Treasurer Andrew Moore developed the bill after conversations with Senate committees raised concerns about affordable food access on campus — particularly for students in isolation. 

The Senate Finance and University Affairs committees held emergency meetings Tuesday to look at the bill and get it on the agenda for Wednesday’s full Senate meeting. Senators ultimately passed the bill. 

The Kansan reported earlier this week students in isolation faced unclear protocol in Naismith Hall and inadequate access to toiletries. Daily said conditions in isolation must be addressed, and this bill is one way to do so.

“Certainly, those students probably just need some love and empathy right now,” Daily said. “They certainly don’t need to worry about … the costs that are being associated with being there.”

The funding will go to KU Dining, rather than directly to the students, so it won't affect other scholarships or financial aid students may be receiving. 

The remaining balance at the end of October will go to the Food for Jayhawks program, where funds currently sit at $0. That money can then be transferred to students’ dining hall passes when a need is present, functioning similarly to dining dollars. 

Students can apply to receive aid from the Food for Jayhawks program.

The Student Senate reserve currently sits at around $300,000. Moore said for an organization like Senate, an ideal reserve would have around $175,000-$200,000.

The Finance and University Affairs committees will potentially bring forth further legislation in the coming weeks to create a long-term plan, as the pandemic and necessity to isolate will likely last throughout the semester and into the spring, Daily said.