Kansas University students sign off on the Contract With America. For a vocal few, it didn't get a stamp of approval.
A coalition of Kansas University students want to cancel the Contract With America.
House Speaker Newt Gingrich's political mantra inspired KU Environs, Students Against Loan Cuts, KU Pro-Choice Coalition and KU Young Democrats to join forces to whip up opposition to the contract.
The contract, a legislative check list for conservatives trying to reform the federal government, dominated the first 100 days of this session of Congress. With contract in hand, Gingrich set the legislative agenda.
KU freshman Jason Schreiner of WaKeeney, an organizer of the college loan organization, wants KU students to be players in this process.
"We must step forward," he said.
Provisions of the contract would damage environmental law, reduce college loan program benefits and affect welfare reform and reproductive rights, Schreiner said.
He said Congress may require that federal college loans begin accruing interest as soon as issued. Currently, the federal government subsidizes the interest payment of a loan while the student remains in college.
"A lot of people are quite surprised when I tell them that," he said. "Most just don't know what's going on."
To help educate KU students, the coalition staffed a table last week in front of Wescoe Hall. They distributed information about portions of the Contract With America that they consider objectionable.
Jenny Lawson, Lenexa sophomore and the information fair coordinator, said student loans were the primary focus.
"We oppose any cuts in federal financial aid programs because these cuts would be detrimental to the students and the university," she said.
Another coalition participant, Amy Turnbull of Lawrence, said the Contract With America's personal responsibility act was harmful to women.
"Through informing people about the Contract With America, we hope to dispel commonly held myths about welfare and show the contract does more harm than good," Turnbull said.
Although provisions of the contract have passed the House, KU students could still influence the process by writing to U.S. Sens. Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum, both Republicans from Kansas.
"If the opposition to the contract is loud enough in Kansas," said Lawrence sophomore Ed Miller, president of KU Young Democrats, "they will be provided with an adequate excuse to halt its progress in the Senate."
Schreiner said it was a challenge to inspire KU students to take action to influence the political process.
"Apathy is very strong," he said. "We need to do something now."
Setting partisan politics aside, KU sophomore Brad Burke of Topeka denounced one element of the Contract With America.
"Not all Republicans support every part of the contract," said Burke, chairman of the Kansas Federation of College Republicans. "I don't support term limits."