Monday, April 16, 2012

How I voted in the Democratic Presidential Caucus

On Saturday, April 14th, I voted in the Saline County Democratic Presidential Caucus. I even made it into the Salina Journal, my hometown newspaper.

The only drama Saturday was supplied by Jason Beets, 20, of Salina, who first declared his support uncommitted before he bowed to the overwhelming Obama majority.

The Kansas State University journalism student is at odds with the president over his foreign policy.

"I think we need to get out of Afghanistan faster," Beets said. He expressed displeasure over Obama's support of the military in Egypt that is cracking down on dissidents who speak out against the government, and in Bahrain, where leaders have little patience for "peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations."

While he has other complaints against Obama, Beets said, "I think he would be better than any of the Republican candidates."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Student Governing Association Approves Funds for Academic Competition Teams

On March 29 the Kansas State University Student Governing Association allocated $45,000 to academic competition teams for the upcoming academic year.

The only point of dissention on the topic concerned the amount of money allocated to Mock Trial.

Hannah Miller, a senator representing the College of Agriculture, thought that some of the money that was recommended by the allocations committee for Mock Trial could have been better spent on other academic organizations which involve more students and travel extensively.

“I was against the Mock Trial funding simply for the fact that I feel like there are other organizations that requested funding that could have used a little bit more,” she said. “I have absolutely nothing against the Mock Trial team-- I think they do wonderful and fabulous things-- but I felt their request, and what they were allotted, was a little more than they probably needed.”

Senator Miller said that the College of Agriculture has over 345 students that travel out-of-state and that the Mock Trial team was given over $3,000 for in-state competitions.

Emily Taylor, a senator on the allocations committee, said that for the upcoming academic year, Mock Trial will be receiving SGA funding for their two in-state competitions as well as their regional competition. She also said the team will be paying for its two out-of-state competitions, as well as their national competition, if they qualify for it, through fundraising. This academic year, Mock Trial did not receive any funding because they missed the mandatory allocations meetings for academic competition teams.

Megan Walden, a senator representing the College of Engineering, argued that Mock Trial should get its original allocation in order to engage students from a variety of colleges in academic competition.

“I support Mock Trial getting the funding it was allocated originally because I think that our competition teams are largely represented by agriculture and engineering but it is also good to represent other areas to further bring prestige to Kansas State University as a whole so that our other colleges are represented.”

Senator Walden also said that the Allocations Committee gave Mock Trial less money and the Agricultural Team Council more money than they had originally planned.

“The money that we were given we reduced greatly to them. In the college of agriculture we actually went back and gave them more money, so I think it was done in a fair process and you should trust the committee’s position and support that.”

Senator Taylor explained why on average, academic competition teams received 43% of the amount of funding they requested from the allocations committee (see table 1 below).

“Every team received less money than they requested because the total requested amount was over $100,000 and the allocated budget is only $45,000. Unfortunately, the committee is forced to make really difficult decisions about how to distribute this limited funding,” Taylor said.

Powercat Motor Sports did not receive funding for the upcoming academic year.

“Powercat Motor Sports was denied funding because they did not attend the mandatory allocations meetings for academic competition teams. They were informed that if they could not attend, other arrangements could be provided, but that a response was necessary,” Taylor said.

The resolution funding academic competition teams passed unamended 48 to 2. Mock Trial received the full amount recommended by the allocations committee.

Also at the meeting, a representative of the K-State Student Union announced that the Shear Dynamics location near the bowling alley will be closing next year. The billiard room will be moved to that location. Power Cat Financial will be moved from its current location in the Office of Student Activities and Services across from the union bookstore into the former billiard room.    

SGA also approved 10 other resolutions. Two of those resolutions allocated money to the Asian American Student Union and Potters Guild. The SGA also amended the Graduate Student Council Constitution to allow all Graduate Students to vote in officer elections rather than just the leadership committee of the Graduate Student Council, as had previously been the case.

Table 1: Funding allocated to Academic Competition Teams by SGA.

This table shows the amount of money requested by each academic competition team and the recommendation of the allocations committee. Each recommendation of the allocations committee was approved by the SGA.

Academic Competition Team             Request                                   Recommendation

Ag Competition Teams Council
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Powercat Motor Sports
Steel Bridge Team
Concrete Canoe Team
Quiz Bowl - NISAACT013
Robotics Design Team
Fountain Wars Design Team
1/4 Scale Tractor Team
Aero Design Team  
Mini Baja
Robotics Competition Team
KSU Mock Trial