Students ask congress to keep federal subsidized loan interest rates low

March 14
  • Congress members received more than 130,000 letters from college students on Tuesday pleading for interest rates on federally subsidized student loans to remain the same. The Kansas City Star reports that the interest rates will increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent in July. Keeping the interest rates low could cost the government billions more annually.
  • Kansas Legislature refused to hear a bill that would have made the cairn terrier, best known for playing Toto in “The Wizard of Oz”, the official state dog.  The Lawrence Journal World reports that the South Central Kansas Kennel Club advocates the naming of the state dog and plans on conducting a statewide campaign this summer.
  • The Topeka Capital Journal reports that the Kansas House approved changes to the new concealed carry bill on Monday. The bill would allow concealed carry in public places that do not have adequate security. However, hospitals, colleges and nursing homes could be exempt for four years if they contact the attorney general’s office with valid reasoning.
  • According to the state Department of Labor, Kansas’ unemployment fell from 6.8 in December to 6.1 in January. The Topeka Capital Journal reports that private employers added about 22,000 jobs in 2011.
  • The University Daily Kansan reports that Student Senate approved a bill Tuesday stating students can’t be academically punished for views posted on electronic media, unless it is disruptive to the operations of the University. Student leaders expect the bill to pass at the full Senate meeting next Wednesday.

Kansas republican pushes bill to cut funding for state universities

Feb. 29
  • Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal, a Hutchinson republican, is pushing a bill that would cut funding for the remedial classes that state universities offer. He said taxpayers shouldn’t be required to pay for these classes just because K-12 schools failed to teach basic courses properly.
  • Kansas water officials have proposed measures to protect water levels in the state’s two major aquifers, which showed an average decline of 2.25 feet during 2011. One of these measures is a bill that would eliminate a provision that requires water-right owners to use a certain amount of water each year. Legislature is currently considering this bill.
  • A Kansas House committee is preparing to act on a bill that would prohibit public schools from using materials in human sexuality classes from groups that provide abortion services. The bill would also prevent people from deducting abortion expenses in their income taxes.
  • A man accused of video taping the sexual encounters of a Rutgers University student, which led to the student’s suicide, is currently on trial. He faces a 15-count indictment and up to 10 years in prison if convicted. A proposed law, released less than a month after Tyler Clementi’s suicide, would require universities to create policies prohibiting the harassment of any student.
  • Terrance Anthony Dean was sentenced to 32 months in prison for a 2009 charge of robbery on the University of Kansas campus. Dean robbed a student of marijuana at gunpoint near McCollum Hall on April 29, 2009.

Lawrence commissioners rename street to Fambrough Drive

Jan. 22 – Jan. 28
  • Lawrence city commissioners voted to rename a section of 11th street to Fambrough Drive, in honor of the former University of Kansas football coach, at their Tuesday meeting. The new name will be unveiled during a ceremony at the game in April.
  • Wichita Rep. Mario Goico introduced a bill to prohibit picketing soldier’s funerals on Tuesday. Goico admitted to targeting Westboro Baptist Church members with this legislation. Violators could face fines up to $500, if the bill is passed.
  • Kansans for Life hosted an anti-abortion rally at the statehouse on Jan. 21. The crowd celebrated the state’s new laws restricting abortion made last year. Gov. Sam Brownback addressed the crowd of about 3,000 and noted the number of people under 20-years-old who were present.
  • President Barack Obama said he wants to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday. He also proposed to keep universities accountable by cutting their funding if they cannot keep the cost of tuition down.
  • GOP candidate Ron Paul received the majority of youth votes in the Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. He attributes this to the idealism he promotes in his platform. Paul is campaigning to college students through youthforronpaul.com, on which University of Kansas students lead with the most recruits (1,580).