Associated Student Government may have violated their own policy by deeming an email blast, which informed organizations that their line items were facing proposed funding cuts, a meeting.
In the email, sent out at 10:40 p.m. last Wednesday, several organizations, including The Bulletin, “The Sunflower,” “Quivira” and the Performing Arts Board, were informed that their groups were up for funding cut proposals at the allocation meeting the next day, March 29.
According to Article IV of the Senate Line Item Policy, “groups will be advised of this desire to decrease a line item amount and will meet with the Fiscal Affairs Committee to discuss the proposed changes.”
“A ‘meeting’ shall be conducted in one or all of the following manners: (1) email; (2) in-person; or (3) over the phone,” according to Article II of the same policy.
The emails count as the meetings with the organizations and follow ASG’s policy guidelines, McReynolds said.
“A blast email is not a reasonable interpretation of a policy that seems to require an interactive communication,” said Max Kaustch, a media law attorney based in Lawrence, Kansas. “It’s an extremely loose interpretation of the policy and flies in the face of good faith negotiations.”
Katustch is the Media Hotline Attorney for the Kansas Press Association and has represented The Bulletin.
However, the ASG committee met in person with Blythe Eddy, director of student activities and community service, who oversees the Union Activities Council and the Special Events Board. Neither of those line items are receiving any proposed cuts to their budget.
“The reason we met with Blythe Eddy specifically was because her line items, when we looked at the budget, we didn’t have a clear understanding based off of numbers of where we were going,” McReynolds said. “We wanted to make sure, from our numbers standpoint, we could understand and fully comprehend a full picture view of what it looked like, because they are smaller line item and receive smaller funds and so we wanted to make sure that that was an adequate representation of it.”
After they met with Eddy, the fiscal affairs committee found that the line items had “a really meak budget to begin with” and their primary duty was to fund departments for events, specifically diversity events, McReynolds said.
“We felt that to stay consistent with Goal Five of the university, we wanted to make sure we’re promoting diversity, equity and inclusion on Emporia State’s campus,” McReynolds said. “So we didn’t want to (cut their funding). We already only have two positions at Emporia State that promote diversity and inclusion that are permanent positions and so we wanted to make sure that we were consistent with that goal.”
No other line item were given an in person meeting with the Fiscal Affairs Committee.
According to McReynolds and Shelby Marten, chair of the Fiscal Affairs Committee and senior physical health education, the email sent out to the line items was the only communication the organizations received regarding their proposed cuts prior to the allocation meeting.