By Andrew Kutzer
On Sept. 20, the student government board discussed promotion of the student bill of rights to the student body and explained it to new board members.
The bill is a document that outlines rights and policies that are included in “The Key,” the university’s student handbook. Two sections were created: student life and academic rights.
“A lot of students don’t always read The Key,” said SGB member Nykolai Blichar. “Typically, because they don’t have the time to look them up or they don’t know how to find them. So, this is an easy accessible document for all of them,” said Blichar, who served as parliamentarian during its creation.
According to Blichar, the bill is a simplified version of all the handbook policies. “Students obviously have these rights which are already set forth in policies that exist,” said Blichar.
The document was created by SGB’s constitution and policies committee last semester and was sent to the university senate and president’s cabinet for recommendations and support. Student affairs and academic affairs sub-committees also played a part in its creation.
“Nykolai and Joe worked really hard on this document. They presented it to multiple groups on this campus to make sure it was exactly what its supposed to be,” said SGB president Molly Gallagher.
The academic section references policies such as timely graduation, syllabi and service evaluations. Student life policies include quality housing, freedom from censorship and due process. Each section that references the student handbooks cites back to its corresponding policy in “The Key.”
Last semester, the university senate and president’s cabinet reviewed the document and it was revised based off of their recommendations, according to Blichar.
President Hawkinson brought up the idea after arriving at KU. Western Illinois University had a similar bill approved by its student government when Hawkinson previously worked as provost.
Dean of Students Bob Watrous recommended holding open forums to promote awareness of the event. Board members discussed posting the bill on D2L or the university’s website. “Really, this is a general student bill of rights and it needs broader discussion and broader student understanding,” said Watrous.
“We want to really advertise this out to the student body. That way, they become familiar with it and they know what their rights are,” said Blichar.
The policy went into affect on March 29, 2016. The bill can be viewed on SGB’s KUnited page under the student bill of rights heading.