SGA passes resolution to oppose Study Abroad fee

Sarah Stukenborg

The Student Government Association passed a resolution at its last meeting to oppose the Study Abroad and Global Learning $150 application fee.

Keyana Boka, executive vice president of SGA, said SGA gave their official stance of opposition because the fee came up so suddenly.

“As students, of course we are opposed to additional fees that will limit opportunities,” Boka said.

The $150 application fee WKU is implementing for all students studying abroad will begin with the summer 2013 programs.

SGA opposes this charge because in addition to the other expenses for Study Abroad, the SGA senate feels the fee could make program costs unreachable for many students.

The University Senate has also passed a resolution in opposition of the fee, wanting to delay it until the fall 2013 semester.

SGA President Cory Dodds proposed another resolution involving Study Abroad, in which SGA would have adopted an amendment to its bylaws.

The amendment, which was not passed, called for the revocation of SGA members’ eligibility for SGA-awarded Study Abroad scholarships and Scholar Development grants.

Dodds feels that SGA members’ eligibility causes a conflict of interest. He said that of the 125 Study Abroad scholarships and Scholar Development grants given out during the 2012-2013 year, 11 were awarded to SGA members.

“While this may sound miniscule, when we are awarding a very limited number of scholarships, this is substantial,” Dodds said.

Dodds said SGA members make many sacrifices in order to serve the students of WKU, such as sacrifices of time and academics.

“It is only natural that we should take one additional sacrifice to ensure our integrity,” Dodds said.

The Academic Affairs Committee of SGA chooses the recipients for SGA-funded scholarships.

Hannah Garland, Academic Affairs Committee chair of SGA, said she is not in support of this resolution.

“As someone who chooses applications, I can say that being an SGA member has nothing to do with whether or not they are selected,” Garland said.

Garland feels there are alternative ways of making the selection process fair.

“I would be in support of making Academic Affairs members ineligible,” Garland said.

The resolution to adopt an amendment to the bylaws of SGA was not passed.

According to Boka, the resolution could be modified and proposed again.

“There’s always a chance it could come up again,” Boka said.

After tonight’s SGA senate meeting, there will be an informational meeting for the spring elections, as well as other election announcements.