President Gary Ransdell sent out an email to faculty and staff Wednesday giving his official response to four resolutions recently passed by the Student Government Association.
The resolutions were to support a limited smoking campus, amend WKU’s alcohol policy and Student Code of Conduct to promote safety and retention by allowing students over the legal drinking age of 21 to purchase and possess alcohol on campus, support to create a new parking structure and support a student fee to fund WKU Student Legal Services.
Regarding a limited smoking campus resolution, Ransdell will form a six-person ad hoc committee consisting of students, faculty and staff to recommend how best to implement a limited smoking campus by the end of 2017.
For alcohol, Ransdell said a yet-to-be named restaurant facility in the Garrett Conference Center will be built where beer and possibly wine, depending on licences, can be served in the evening hours. The restaurant will be managed through a partnership between Student Affairs and Aramark.
Ransdell said the parking resolution would require a student fee, which would require Board of Regents authorization and approval by the Council on Postsecondary Education. The CPE has a provision where student fees outside of the approved tuition limits can be approved only for student services, however a parking structure is not listed as an example. Ransdell said he would arrange for SGA leaders to make a case to the CPE.
Regarding WKU Student Legal Services, Ransdell said in order to approve a $2 per semester fee to be implemented, it must be approved by the Board of Regents and the Council on Postsecondary Education. Ransdell said a specific course of action has not been defined.
The original email is below:
Fellow Faculty and Staff:
Over the last couple of weeks, the Student Government Association has delivered to me four Resolutions pertaining to smoking, alcohol, parking, and legal services. Attached you will find the Resolutions, my response to them, and, for alcohol and parking, additional pertinent information. I want to commend our Student Government Association for giving these important matters thoughtful deliberation, and a thorough understanding of the issues. Reasonable resolutions put us in a position to provide as positive a response as possible.
I believe we can implement the action called for in the Smoking Resolution largely as prescribed in the Resolution. I have asked the SGA, Staff Council, and the University Senate to each recommend two students, two staff, and two faculty to serve on a six-person ad hoc committee to recommend how best to implement a limited smoking campus by the end of 2017. We will make the determinations of this ad hoc committee known to the campus when their deliberations are complete. This action should also bode well for our self-insured healthcare program for faculty and staff.
The Alcohol Resolution, like the Smoking Resolution affects students, employees, and visitors to the campus. We are able to accommodate the general intent of the Resolution by finding some satisfactory compromises to what SGA is seeking. My response to SGA outlines how we intend to expand our current practice to include a restaurant facility in the Garrett Conference Center where beer and possibly wine (depending on licensing) can be served in the evening hours. We have already been utilizing Nite Class in the Downing Student Union as a private group function where alcohol can be served through our Office of Conference and Catering Services. The Aramark restaurant in Garrett should be open by the beginning of the Fall semester.
The Parking Resolution is a bit more complicated. It would require a student fee for this purpose, which would require Board of Regents’ authorization, and would require approval by the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). The CPE has a provision whereby student fees outside of the approved tuition limits can be approved only for student services. A copy of the CPE fee exception policy is attached. A parking structure is not listed among the “Such As” examples listed in this policy, but we will arrange for SGA leaders to make their case to the CPE. This fee and related parking structure would require an agency bond which would be required to be approved by the state legislature during the 2016 General Assembly. We will keep the campus informed as this process unfolds.
SGA has been concerned about ensuring that students who need legal assistance have a dependable place to go for such help. The attached Resolution calls for a $2 per semester student fee to provide funding for these services. Approval of this fee is needed from the WKU Board of Regents and the Council on Postsecondary Education, but since no bonding is required, it would not need to go before the state legislature. We are exploring ways to address the intent of this Resolution, and have yet to define a specific course of action.
Again, I want to commend SGA for its thoughtful and deliberative analysis of these matters. We will work with them as best we can to implement as much of its requests as possible. We will keep the campus informed as each topic moves forward. Insight, feedback, or counsel from anyone on the faculty and staff on these regards would be helpful and appreciated. Thank you.
Gary A. Ransdell