The chancellor of the University of Kansas has vetoed a student-approved $2 fee that was intended to support a proposed “multicultural student government” that would function independently of the Student Senate, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
The creation of a multicultural student government was one demand made last fall by the activist group Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk amid protests over racial-climate issues on the campus. The Student Senate approved the new fee in March.
But in a letter sent to the Student Senate on Wednesday, the chancellor, Bernadette Gray-Little, said she could not recommend the new fee to the Kansas Board of Regents because the group the fee was intended to support did not yet exist.
Ms. Gray-Little also argued that the university’s code prohibited having “multiple independent groups representing a constituent group,” and she questioned whether creating a separate governing group was “an optimal way to achieve the goals we have for diversity and inclusion at the university,” saying it might instead “lead to greater divisiveness.”
Her action leaves in doubt the future of a group that some student-affairs experts have said would be the first independent, minority-based student government in the country.
Trinity Carpenter, a Kansas student who is interim secretary of the proposed group, told the Journal-World that the organization would press on with an effort to secure funding for a body that could stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the Student Senate.
“This hurts,” she said of the chancellor’s decision, “because we are the marginalized students who know there is a need for this resource. It’s even harder to accept because they have admitted there is a need for this institution and are not supporting it.”