The Student Government Association held its second town hall on Oct. 26 to discuss various topics, including the Koch brothers and teacher unions. The meeting allowed students to bring up their concerns to SGA and suggest legislation. Max Lewis // DN
Koch brothers, graduate student unions brought up in SGA town hall
The Koch brothers and teacher unions were just a few of the subjects students brought up at the Student Government Association town hall on Oct. 26.
The town hall was held to allow students to bring up their concerns to SGA, as well as suggest legislation.
Travis Miller, a senior dietetics major, is a member of the Progressive Student Alliance and brought up his concerns about donations made by the Charles Koch Foundation to the university.
If students have concerns or things they would like to see changed at the university, they can contact SGA at firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to an SGA senator.
“We’re worried that Ball State will become a part of something that is not representative of the Muncie population, the Ball State population, the faculty, even all the way up to the administrators,” Miller said. “I don’t want Ball State to be pulled into the 'Kochtupus.'”
“Kochtupus” is a term that has been used by the media to describe the network of institutions the Koch brothers finance, Miller said. He also said he wants SGA to help in researching how much influence the Koch brothers have on the university and introduce legislation that will allow students to have oversight of what types of contracts are introduced.
Switching concerns, Morgan April, a TESOL and linguistics graduate student, asked SGA to help graduate students unionize.
April said graduate students are considered part-time employees and do not receive health insurance benefits from Ball State, which is a problem for many graduate students.
“I think education is extremely, vitally important and the people that are teaching education need to be able to negotiate for a living wage and need to be able to negotiate for health insurance,” April said.
Students also brought up concerns about priority class registration for students in the ROTC program and wanting more eco-friendly measures put in place on the campus.
Although more students vote for homecoming candidates than SGA candidates and are less-informed than SGA would like, members of SGA are trying to increase students' awareness and knowledge by holding public forums and town hall events.
Headed by SGA President James Wells and senators who represent different student organizations and residence halls, student government holds Senate meetings every Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. in the Student Center that are open to the public. At these meetings, the group passes legislation to make changes at the university.