SGA outlines plans for this spring semester

Anna Lawson

Before the spring semester started, the Student Government Association already had plans to look into as many controversial and opinionated topics as it did last semester. 

There are some resolutions that will be brought back as well as some new ones—both have the potential to affect every student on the Hill. 

SGA President Nicki Taylor said she’s very proud of what the group accomplished last semester and looks forward to what this semester holds. 

“I know there are some ideas that I have individually, and there are students inside and outside SGA who will also have ideas,” she said. 

Taylor said she and the SGA senators tried their best to listen to what the students wanted. 

“We were very responsive to student issues on campus,” she said. “We have tackled things like the smoking policy and moving the Gatton students hands-on, and responded to what was going on on-campus.” 

This semester WKU can expect to see the smoking policy debate come up again. The push to make WKU’s campus completely smoke free was vetoed. 

“The smoking issue probed to be the most taxing on all sides,” Taylor said. “It is something that will effect every student and visitors and faculty as well.” 

Seth Church, the SGA chief of staff, said opinions on smoking policies are very divided on campus, as well as in SGA.

The topic will be brought up again, but instead of a complete smoking ban, the new resolution will allow for limited tobacco use on campus. This means clearly defined smoking areas would be created, and the number of those areas would decrease over time. 

Another controversial topic was the alcohol policy. Last semester, the Student Senate passed a resolution saying that the student body supports the sale of alcohol, in certain quantities, to of-age students. 

Jay Todd Richey, speaker of the Student Senate, said there was some confusion around campus as to what this would look like.

“A lot of people thought that the alcohol policy would make it a wet campus, but that is not what it does,” Richey said. “Students wouldn’t be able to go to POD and buy alcohol.”

Taylor has held a few informal meetings with President Gary Ransdell, but SGA has not officially presented the resolution to the administration. No date is set for any official presentation. 

Taylor said there are endless possibilities for what the policy could look like. 

“At this point, it is too early to say what it would change,” Taylor said. “We’re just looking at the general idea of it being somewhere.”

SGA will also be looking at a few issues dealing with culture and the inclusion of every student on the Hill.

This past semester, SGA created a new committee called the Cultural and Diversity Affairs committee. It is made up of students who work to make WKU a more diverse campus. CDAC mostly hears issues dealing with minorities on campus. 

Nolan Miles, SGA executive vice president, said this semester, SGA will introduce a resolution to make this committee an official SGA committee. 

SGA is also looking to include more students within its government. Currently, only full-time students can hold senate seats in SGA. This semester, they will discuss opening senate seats to part-time students to represent nontraditional students. 

“I don’t think there is any reason someone who wants to hold a position shouldn’t be able to,” Taylor said. “Part-time students pay tuition just like everyone else.”

This spring, the Confucius Institute is going to be expanding. A new building will be opening, adjacent the Honors College and International Center. SGA would like to introduce a resolution which would allow for students to also have use of the center. 

The primary purpose of the building will be for offices and classrooms for training professors within the Confucius Institute.

“It isn’t that students wouldn’t be allowed inside the building,” Taylor said. “I want them to be encouraged to use the space.”

SGA is also looking into a resolution about gender-neutral housing. According to Church, this has been discussed for a while. Currently, transgender students or non-confirming students can go to Housing and Residence Life and get a room to themselves. This resolution would make it easier, allowing the process to be completed through TopNet. 

“When students go to register for housing there would be a question on how each student self identifies themselves and if they would be okay living with a transgender student,” Church said. “It’s a good step for inclusiveness on campus.”

SGA’s first meeting of the semester will be held Tuesday at 5 p.m.