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I am a very proud Kansan. I was born and raised in Olathe, Kansas; a suburb just south of Kansas City. I wear a belt buckle with the Great Seal of the State of Kansas almost everyday, I can quote the Wizard of Oz like it was my job, I am a loud advocate of Kansas sunsets and Kansas City style BBQ, and for better or for worse, I decided to attend college in-state at Kansas State University.
While attending K-State (go ‘cats, amiright?), I realized I was passionate about politics. There was something about it that drew me towards it, and I realized that our politicians have an immense ability to help those they represent. I got involved in student government, where I learned that the opinion of my constituents superseded my own opinions. Some of our legislatures in #KSLeg apparently have yet to learn this lesson.
As of this morning the Kansas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 175 81-41. Despite the fact that the KU, K-State, and WSU student senates opposed it. .
Before I go into why this bill is completely deplorable, let’s go over what exactly it entails.
- SB 175 deals with religious-based student organization’s membership requirements at Kansas’s Board of Regents Schools (KSU, WSU, KU, Emporia State, Fort Hays State, Washburn, Pitt State)
- Currently no club/organization can exist or be recognized by a public university in Kansas unless it allows any and all students who wish to join to do so.
- Organizations can request funding for events from student senates pending the event is open to all students and has educational merit.
- SB 175 changes the ‘all are welcome’ rule allowing religious-based student organizations to deny membership due to their “sincerely held religious beliefs”.
So let’s recap, this bill allows student groups to discriminate membership based on their sincerely held religious beliefs. This bill allows student groups to bar admittance to students for an event that could very well be paid for by ALL students’ fees and tax payers’ money.