The University of Kansas Student Senate fee package passed after intense in-fighting on April 13. Nine graduate student senators busted the Student Senate quorum, almost causing next year’s $24 million fee package to fail.
The Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee changed the rules for the Educational Opportunity Fund without proper representation from graduate students, Graduate Student Body President Hollie Hall said. However, DEI Chair Daphne Carrillo refutes that.
There is no accountability for the allocation of Educational Opportunity Fund money, Carillo said.
“We’re giving all these entities money, and that’s where finance has this concern,” Carillo said. “We don’t know where the money is going once it’s theirs.”
Nine graduate senators, led by Hall, left the Student Senate final session, hindering the passing of all legislation, including the fee package.
“Graduate students will leave, so have fun passing legislation that you can’t pass without us,” Hall said as she asked all graduate senators to leave.
As a result of the quorum bust, Student Body Vice President Alessia Roark called a recess.
“Our little explosion maybe showed you how important this is to us,” Hall said after the recess.
Senators leaving the Assembly is unethical, Internal Affairs Director Max Lillich said.
“Your leaving means that this body doesn’t matter,” Lillich said in response to Hall’s quorum bust. “You’re killing our legislation.”
Roark initially denied Lillich’s request to cite the Student Senate Code of Ethics.
“It’s clear what side you’re on,” Lillich said to Roark. “This is violating the core tenants of democracy.”
Graduate students won’t come back to the Assembly unless the EOF fee stays at $7, Hall said. Graduate and minority students need the EOF funding.
“The fact that all nine graduate students here agreed on this shows you that we are unified,” Hall said.
Senators motioned to set the EOF fee at $6.4. Hall then called on graduate senators to come back to the meeting, and the motion passed.
Significance of graduate senators’ move
The quorum sets a precedent in Senate history where a group of student senators lobbied the Student Assembly to meet their demands.
If the graduate students had not returned, the $24 million fee package would have failed. The Student Senate would have used last year’s fee package, causing all changes made by the Finance Council this year to become obsolete.
Student Senate fee package process
Every student enrolled in 6 or more credit hours on the Lawrence campus pays $984 in mandatory campus fees to the Student Senate, according to KU Financial Aid and Scholarships. Then, the Student Senate allocates its $24 million fee package annually.
The fee package must pass through the Finance Council and the Student Assembly before it’s signed by the student body president and the chancellor, Fund Development Director Mary Morrison said. Then, the package is sent to the Kansas Board of Regents
Wednesday’s meeting was the last Student Senate session for spring 2022. The Student Senate executive board organized the meeting in hopes of passing the fee package after Senate voted to return the package to the Finance Council.