SGA Comptroller Avoids Impeachment

Kate Baxendale

Comptroller Makayla Maslanka will retain her position on the Student Government Association executive board. A motion to impeach Maslanka was revisited on Oct. 14 since SGA was unable to hold a vote at a previous meeting due to lack of quorum. Obtaining the required number of senators at the most previous meeting, the vote was held. ) Eleven senators voted in favor of impeachment, 10 were opposed and three abstained. Approval to impeach Maslanka would not have resulted in her removal from office. A vote must be met by a three-fourths majority in order for the motion to pass. After the vote, Maslanka was invited back into the room for the remainder of the meeting.

Allegations against Maslanka that resulted in a vote for impeachment included over-allocation of the student activity fee budget.  According to a memo drafted by members of SGA, the Student Activity Fee Committee would have been tasked with recovering $150,219.02. Without these funds, SAFC would be unable to allocate money for event-by-event budget requests from student organizations. In a previous SAFC meeting, SGA approved a 14.18 percent cut from all student organization and council budgets to alleviate the lack of funds caused by over-allocating.

President Benjamin Campero sent a memorandum to Vice Chancellor Mel Tyler on Oct. 7 asking him not to sign the SAFC Budget Resolution that called for the 14.18 percent cut. In Campero’s report during the meeting, he explained that the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management under Tyler “has indicated funding to the tune of $100,000 that can be put back into the Student Activity Fee Committee and the Executive Board has agreed to put $35,000 back into SAFC to cover the debt that incurred as well as to have funding for event by event requests.” The memorandum said there may be additional funds placed in SAFC by the Office of Student Involvement.

A new committee to analyze potential faults in SAFC will consist of one member of the executive board, five SAFC representatives, three student senators, one unassociated student and the Office of Student Involvement. Additionally, a new SAFC system of allocating funds will be developed by January 2014.

Maslanka apologized for the impeachment proceedings during her report. She reiterated that SAFC had received funding to make up for the debt with $40,679.29 leftover for event-by-event and travel requests.

 SGA Moves Forward with New Orders of Business

Tyler presented the Strategic Plan for UMKC and highlighted a few goals. The idea is to align the university plan with the UM System plan. Tyler said UMKC has advanced parts of campus by adding the Atterbury Student Success Center and the Student Union. Recent changes to general education requirements were also mentioned. The university will focus on helping transfer students, particularly from community colleges, transition smoothly into life at UMKC. The process of adding an honors college and a National Merit program is also part of the Strategic Plan. UMKC will focus on enhancing its professional schools and implementing diversity plans within each school at the university.

Tyler addressed the Tuition and Fees Recommendation portion of the Strategic Plan. He explained that tuition is based on the consumer price index. Based on this, graduate and undergraduate tuition will increase by 1.7 percent. Tyler said fees will increase by three percent to cover the state bonds that fund new campus buildings. Room and board will increase by 1.7 percent and 3 percent respectively if capacity remains at 95 percent. The following year is a contract year for food services on campus, such as the vendors in the Student Union. The plan is to separate beverages from food and partner them with the athletics department. Vending will also be evaluated.

Dr. Angela Cottrell, director of the Office of Student Involvement, presented a text message program in which students could opt into receiving text messages from various organizations and offices on campus about events. The system would be secured through the single sign on system and it would use the same phone number registered with UMKC’s emergency alert system. The student senate gave positive feedback for this potential service.

Dr. Eric Grospitch, dean of students, presented the Preferred Name Policy in which students could submit an alternate name on Pathway for class rosters. SGA approved this policy in the spring 2013 semester. A student’s legal name would stay on his or her diploma and official documents, but a student who prefers a nickname or shortened version of name may choose to have his or her changed for roster purposes. Some senators raised the question of abusing this policy for comedic purposes to which Grospitch replied that a student may be subject to a disciplinary process if necessary.

SGA approved the UMKC Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy in November 2012. Grospitch said the next step is to submit a draft of this policy to representative bodies for approval. A website featuring an explanation of the policy and resources for smoking cessation will be created and launched in November. A communications strategy to spread the word about the policy is planned for fall 2013.  UMKC will officially be smoking and tobacco free in Aug. 2014.

Mitch Gosney, a graduate assistant from the athletics department, announced the Union Programming Board will sponsor a shuttle to and from every men’s basketball game this season at Municipal Auditorium. The first home game against Rockhurst University is Nov. 1. Pickups will be at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Student Union. A pregame at Johnny’s Tavern will take place from 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Return shuttles will depart Municipal for UMKC at 8:15 p.m. and immediately after the game. Participants will receive a free “Blackout” T-shirt.

The student senate passed SGA support of the KC Streetcar. The senate also approved four new student organizations. The senators had the opportunity to review each organization’s mission prior to the vote.

SGA will have a listening post Oct. 23 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on the Quad for students to raise any questions or concerns regarding the actions of the governing body. SGA will also have a voter registration booth available during that time.

LGBTQIA Programs and Services has co-sponsored with SGA and will have a group photo shoot of LGBTQIA allies at 1 p.m. Oct. 24 on the staircase of the Student Union. .