Three leaders of the University of Kansas Student Senate remained in their posts Wednesday despite calls for their resignation by some group members.
Senate President Jessie Pringle, and chief of staff Adam Moon, whose leadership had been questioned by members of a committee of the student organization amid racial tensions on campus, said they had no plans to step down.
Vice President Zach George, who had also been asked to resign, could not be reached for comment, but he participated in the student senate meeting Wednesday night.
The three student government leaders had been given until 5 p.m. Wednesday to resign or face an impeachment process. That process could take weeks.
At the Student Senate meeting, Moon said he expected a robust debate over a call from the group to support lowering the election spending cap from $2,000 to $1,000. That issue was included in demands made last week by Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk, a predominantly black student group fighting for more diversity and inclusion on the KU campus.
Lowering election spending would even the playing field at least financially, for students from less affluent families interested in running for a student office.
The other matter that was expected to be debated was a call from the Invisible Hawk group for a multicultural student government, separate from the Student Senate.
“That is something that we have never had here at KU,” Moon said.
Earlier Wednesday, members of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk spoke at a news conference about changes they believe will make their campus more inclusive and welcoming to minorities and marginalized students.
Dressed all in black, the members said they were showing solidarity with students on other campuses who say their school administrations have failed to make black and other marginalized students feel safe and welcome.
The Invisible Hawk group said they formed in August 2014 because they are “tired of systemic racism“ not being addressed on the Lawerence campus.
“Racism and sexism is here on this campus and we need to address them,” said Katherine Rainey, a senior psychology and anthropology major from Shawnee.
“We are tired of our cries for justice being silenced and dismissed, “ said Kynnedi Grant, a junior journalism major from St. Louis. “We are here. We are powerful. You can't keep pushing us away.”
The student group became more visible on the KU campus last week after an event on race and inclusion that followed the University of Missouri student protests. At that forum, moderated by Chancellor Gray-Little, and attended by hundreds of students, members of Invisible Hawk took the stage with signs on racism and discrimination.
The Invisible Hawk members who led Wednesday’s news conference said that while they did not call for the ouster of the three student body leaders, they did support the push for the resignations.
The group’s efforts to improve the KU campus climate have already made an impact. The university is creating a team to address demands from student protesters and expects to release a plan by mid-January that will include mandatory diversity training for all students and staff.