KU Senate considers fee hike to create 'multicultural' student government

A group at the University of Kansas, “Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk” is demanding a Multicultural Student Government (MSG) that would be completely separate from the existing Student Senate.

This demand, one of the fifteen released in November by the group, has reached the Student Senate. The Senate is considering a $2 fee increase in order to fund the MSG, which, according to the Invisible Hawks, will serve “all students’ needs.”

Considering KU’s population of 28,000 students, a $2 hike in fees would amount to a total budget of $56,000 for the MSG, likely more, since the student senate’s list of rules and regulations dictates that “every student enrolled in any semester” is required to pay student fees.

How exactly the budget will be used remains unclear since no members of “Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk” have addressed the nature of the MSG beyond calls for its establishment.

“Establish Multicultural Student Government independent of current University of Kansas Student Senate,” the group states in its list of demands, but neglects to provide any further explanation, leaving questions about what sort of real influence the MSG will have up in the air. 

In a “State of the University” letter released on Twitter Wednesday, the group also states, “The need for something in addition to the current order can not be ignored any longer.”

They cite “a cacophony of racist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist incidents occurring on KU’s campus” as a reason for their activism, through which they hope to “validate and amplify the silenced voices of Lawrence, Kansas and the KU Community.”

They say, “On one hand, we are happy that task forces, committees, and groups charged with addressing discrimination and racism on campus are more diverse, but on the other, we are frustrated with the lack of transparency and reactivity of the administration.”

The group suggests the administration “be more proactive and rather than engaging in what can be described as damage control begin to think about preventative structural changes.”

While they say that they welcome debate and dissent about their movement and tactics, in the same sentence, they accuse their dissenters of tone policing. The group says they agree with “activist, scholar and Black Lives Matter co-founder” Opal Tometi, quoting her as saying, “Respectability will not save your life!”

The Invisible Hawks also say the university is attempting to stop student activism and silence students.

The group says this manifests “as sugar-coated hostility, rhetorical violence and invalidation from few in spaces like student senate and town hall meetings across campus.”

They also accuse the university police of profiling them and selectively patrolling the areas in which RCIH protests.

Concluding their “State of the University” letter, the group says, “We believe that multiple initiatives can run parallel to each other, often complimenting one another.”

Just three months ago, members of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk blasted members of the Tri Delta sorority for selling candy canes to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the same area on KU’s campus where the protesters were congregating.

One member of RCIH tweeted, “@KUTriDelta control your members. Now is NOT the time for laughin/candy canes. Have you heard of microagressions?”

Many others accused people of vilifying the black women leading RCIH to “protect the White Women of Tri Delta,” and still others accused the sorority of silencing black students, not acknowledging race problems, and not caring about #BlackLivesMatter.

Despite past controversy, RCIH insists they will continue, saying, “We are ever committed to giving a voice to invisible Jayhawks and creating a space where everyone can be heard and valued.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @themomillennial