Monday, May 11, 2009

Couple interesting notes

It's the last week at Concord University. The finals are here, and then - that's it! No more school until late August. I'm looking forward to the break. I'm sure a lot of other people are too.

I only have a couple things to mention here ... a couple interesting notes, if you will.

I spoke with Jeff Yeager, the SGA President. I got the news straight from him: the library hours will be extended next academic year!

It was an almost weekly point of then-SGA President Wes Prince's reports - that he had been talking with people trying to get the library hours extended. He spent about a semester-and-a-half working on this. Jeff had one meeting with President Aloia and got the hours extended.

I guess Wes warmed them up to the idea and Jeff sealed the deal lol. I'm so glad we finally have an SGA President we can be proud of. I'm going to make a bold prediction - Jeff won't get impeached. Not even once.

According to Jeff, the library will be open until midnight Monday through Thursday. He's not sure about Friday. The library will also be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday. It looks like the library will continue to be closed on Sunday.

So, that's cool. Barely a week in office and he's already getting shit done.

Jeff did say that keeping the hours extended would cost the students in the neighborhood of $1500+ for the year. In the grand scheme of things, that's not such a huge cost. I think getting the extra money will easily pass in the senate.

Jeff didn't give me many details (likely b/c there aren't many details yet) but he said something about the library trying to get a coffee shop. That seems interesting. More details as they become available.

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SGA Attorney General Bill Lewis was chair of the Concord University Student Affairs committee. The CUSAC (pronounced "Q-sack") committee has worked on a lot of interesting things.

They created a new set of visitation hours for the dorms. That was a "hot-button" issue among Concord students this year. Last time I checked, that had been completed and was waiting to be signed into effect. If anybody has an update on the new Housing policy, let me know.

Q-sack also looked into getting tailgating at baseball games. I don't know the finalized status of that, but I know the committee went up there and looked at how feasable it would be. Also, if anybody wants to fill me in on that, feel free to.

The coolest thing Bill & Q-sack did was work towards creating a student-funded scholarship donation fund. Basically, it's students giving money to other students. Say you get your "check change" (leftover money from scholarships & such after your bill is paid) and it's for $500. Your bill is completely paid for and you have $500 leftover. There are some students who aren't lucky enough to get their entire tuition paid for w/ scholarhips and have leftover money. The theory with Q-sack's idea is that you would be able to take some of that money and give it back. It would go into a fund and somebody or a couple people or whatever would receive it.

Bill wrote a note on Facebook outlining what he intends to do with this. Here is the note in its entirety:

The Concord University Student Affairs Committee didn't get as much done this semester as I would have like liked it to, but we did accomplish alot. I'm posting here a copy of the concepts I'm advocating in creating a student scholarship fund. I will make appointments over the summer to discuss with Kent Gambill and Patricia Harmon the details of the fund, and will make every effort to have every mechanism in place by the Spring of 2010. Please review the general outline of the program below and make any comments/suggestions.

Students Helping Students Fund

Core Concepts

The Students of Concord University, acting through the Student Government Association, and believing that quality higher education is a right, and that a well educated citizenry is the cornerstone of a healthy society, agree to manage and direct the Students Helping Students Help (SHSF) in an effort to promote everyone’s right to a thorough education.

1.) 100% of funding for the program shall be from voluntary donation

2.) Students who have unmet financial need after ALL other forms of available student aid have been applied to their account are eligible

3.) The Student Government Association shall establish an advisory board, which shall consist of the Business Manager as Chair, and four other advisory members elected from the student body by the Student Senate by plurality vote

4.) The Students Helping Students Fund (SHSF) Advisory Board shall make decisions as to who shall receive grants from the program; individual awards may vary

5.) On the financial aid award letter, which students are required to sign off on each semester, there shall be a portion of the letter dedicated to explaining the concept of the SHSF and an option listed where students or their parents may choose to donate to the fund in any amount that they choose; additionally, an explanation shall be offered, that in the event a student receives “check change” their donation to the fund can be transferred to the fund directly from their “check change”

6.) Students receiving grants from the SHSF will not receive their grant on a recurring basis; they must reapply to the program each year

7.) The Student Government Association Business Manager shall receive a report from the Business Office no later than 1 week after the beginning of each academic semester detailing the operating budget of the fund for that semester

8.) Funds received throughout any semester shall be applied to the following semester’s operating budget

9.) The SHSF Advisory Board shall review program applicants and issue grants based upon:

1.) Financial Need

2.) Community Involvement

3.) Merit

4.) Willingness to reinvest in the SHSF after graduation

So, there's Bill's note. It outlines what he wants to do with this scholarship fund. He mentions the Business Manager a couple times - that's Matt Belcher, for anybody who doesn't know. This seems like a pretty solid concept. I hope it comes to fruition. The only thing I would change is the acronym. I'd try to make it something that actually makes a word. I don't have any suggestions.

If anybody has any comments or thoughts about that, you can leave comments on Bill's Facebook account, or leave comments here - I'll make sure Bill is made aware of them. Bill, if you're reading this & want to throw out any additional information, feel free.

* * *

I guess I've got some 'splaining to do. I received a Facebook instant message earlier today which read - "I saw the hostility about your blog on norma's facebook page, lol." I didn't know what this person was talking about, so I went to former SGA Secretary Norma Acord's Facebook page. While there, I discovered two things - one, she has not accepted or denied my friend request yet. I also saw the following status update from her:

Norma Jean Acord went to the SGA meeting just for the cake! cause she's a fatass right? thanks!
May 6 at 9:10pm


What's she talking about, you ask? Well, she's more than likely talking about a Tweet I sent out over Twitter during the last SGA meeting:

SGA secretary actually showed up. Wow. Must be the cake.
4:06 PM May 6th from txt

I haven't had it confirmed, but I'm pretty sure she's talking about my Tweet. I guess I'll go ahead and explain that:

No, I was not implying that Norma Jean Acord went to the meeting just so she could eat cake. In fact, I don't think she even had any cake. I never saw her eating any.

What I actually meant was that Norma was such a horrible Student Government executive and never attended meetings or actually did any of her job duties, and the only way to get her to show up was to have a special meeting. A special meeting in this case constitutes having cake there, as there's usually none.

So, Norma isn't fat. She was just bad at her job and deserved to be fired months ago. It makes me so mad that Norma got to keep her job when she was so bad at it. She took student money - MY MONEY - for doing fucking nothing. It disgusts me.

So, that's why I was surprised to see her at the meeting. She hadn't done a lot lately and I was surprised to see her at the final meeting. From what I've heard, a lot of other people were surprised to see her there too.

For the record, I think new SGA Secretary Eric Lopez is going to do a great job. To be honest, there's not a lot he has to do ... which is why it makes me so mad that Norma did such a bad job. All Eric needs to do is take minutes at the meeting, make copies of all necessary papers, and keep the office clean.

* * *

For anybody curious, I did get my yearbook picture I talked about in a previous blog. It looks like ass, but at least it's current. If I hadn't gotten the picture taken, they were going to use the picture on my ID card. That picture was taken when I was 17. I'm embarassed by that picture. Luckily, my ID card is so old that the picture is smudged beyond recognition.

One reason my yearbook picture looks bad is due to the "mutton-stache" I'm rocking in it. Myself and my co-workers were bored at Pizza Hut Saturday night and started talking about facial hair. That got us on the subject of Civil War facial hair - they had a lot of weird styles. Somehow out of that, that turned into them giving me $5 to shave my 2-week stubble into mutton chops that connect to a mustache, or as we've dubbed it, a "mutton-stache." Click here to see it, and yes, it will be immortalized in the yearbook for all to see.

* * *

Guess that's all. Questions, comments, etc... feel free to leave them. I'm rescinding my previous request - I really don't care where you leave comments, either here or Facebook. If you do comment on Facebook, I'll probably copy it over to this blog anyway, just for people who read this & don't have a Facebook account. Just have fun.

As always, remember that I import these blogs into Facebook. A feature of doing that is the ability to "tag" people, which send them an e-mail notification about this. I typically tag people for two reasons - if I mention you by name or if I think you'll find this interesting. If I tag you and you don't want to be tagged, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged, also let me know.

Neither Norma or Wes have accepted my friend requests, so somebody do me a favor and let those two know that they're mentioned here. You can only tag your "friends" on Facebook.

19 comments:

  1. Hey Chris, I just wanted to point out the fact that library hours have been being considered this entire year. Wes met and discussed this with Dr. Aloia and he said that he would be collecting information to see if students would benefit from extended hours. As you probably know, Dr. Aloia has visited students in the library during both "finals" weeks to see the impact that it has in person, as well as get student opinion and gauge how many students are helped. So, while it's great that Jeff was able to "seal the deal", this ball has been rolling since President Aloia first came to Concord.

    :) Just wanted to clear it up.

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  2. Ashley,

    Cool.

    Also, just so you know, I untagged you on the Facebook note. This comment confirms that you've seen this blog, so I wanted to use that space to tag somebody who hadn't seen it yet.

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  3. Marshall CampbellMay 12, 2009 at 4:20 AM

    Chris -- Here's an update on the baseball tailgating issue -- CUSAC met last week and reviewed a policy similar to the tailgating policy for Homecoming. We made some revisions and then voted to approve it. It will now go to Dr. Aloia and I suspect that he will ask various administrators such as John David Smith, Chief Stella, Coach Kevin Garrett and others to weigh-in on the pros and cons before a decision is made.

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  4. Marshall CampbellMay 12, 2009 at 4:21 AM

    Oh, and yes, that post time is correct. I'm working the library tonight from 2 to 8 a.m.

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  5. Marshall,

    That's interesting. I've been a fan of the baseball tailgating for a while now. I think it would help increase attendance at the games. Hopefully it passes.

    People often forget about the fact that to keep a library open 24 hours, somebody has to stay in there all hours of the night. Thanks for giving up your sleep so that people can study for finals.

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  6. I am thankful that the library hours have been extended, and I am hopeful that students will take advantage of this. Wes certainly did pave the way on getting library hours opened longer on Saturday, so we owe him a lot. The only way that we were going to manage to get it open on the weekday is if we offered to help with the funding, and so I promised this to Dr. Aloia. Another possibility that was mentioned is eventually extending it to 2 AM if the 12 AM hours work, but that's just a possibility if people will use the hours given to them now. Let's hope for the best in this coming year.

    --Jeff

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  7. The members of that Facebook group for longer library hours should be happy. Has anybody made an announcement on that group's wall?

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  8. Comment to Jeff-

    You promised that the SGA could help with the funding? Exactly how much "help" does he require, or does he expect he will need? Can the $7,000 in the Special Projects fund handle this? Otherwise, this will definitely need to come before the Senate since we do not actually know how much money we will have next year.
    Also, does Dr. Rowe have the bodies that can actually work longer hours, because I know that this has been a problem in the past, or will he be employing more people? Have students been considered? Of course, it would unpractical to have students working longer hours during their finals, so I assume he'd have to hire another person.

    I posted my questions here because I feel that Chris, as well as his readers, would probably be interested in the answers.

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  9. Those are very interesting questions. I'd like to know the answer as well.

    Maybe this could open up more workstudy jobs for the library.

    Jeff, or anybody how knows the answer, any response:

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  10. We are going to pay for the library through cutting officer pay. This year, the officers made approximately $31,750 (in that ballpark). We have created a budget for officer pay that will be approximately $27,000. Here is what the officers will make:

    President--$400 instead of $450
    Vice President--$225 instead of $200
    Business Manager--$375 instead of $425
    Secretary--$225 instead of $350
    Ombudsman--$325 instead of $350
    Attorney General--$325 instead of $350
    Public Defender--$325 instead of $350
    Chief Justice--$325 instead of $425
    Prime Justice--$150 instead of $200.
    Parliamentarian--$0 instead of $50

    This will free up all of that money in the budget to spend approximately $1500 or so on the library hours (Dr. Aloia has not gotten me a number yet, but it's going to be sent to me soon), as well as free up over $1500 for student organizations, according to our Business Manager's spreadsheet. The University will also cover half of the costs along with us. The request to fund the library will definitely come before the Senate in the fall, which should not have any difficulty passing. If it happens that Dr. Aloia needs the money over the summer, I will convene the executive to see about acting then only if we have to.

    Secondly, to answer your next question, it will be students who will work past 10 PM. Considering this, parts of the library will be closed off since a member of the staff isn't here, but that's better than nothing. It will definitely go to a student who needs it through work study, just as the students who work in there now do. As far as the employing more people goes, it is still being planned by Dr. Rowe, and I will let everyone know as soon as it happens. Considering that the library will be open at least 10 more hours a week, open to midnight M-R, to 4 on F, to 6 on Saturday, and to 10 on Sunday, I'm sure that they will need more manpower.

    I hope this answers all of your questions.

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  11. I also wanted to post that since the bylaw deadline for having an officer "training trip" has passed, the executive branch has decided to not have an officer training meeting with the old officers this year. We did not feel that this was quite necessary, and we will instead be coming back the same time that freshman do in order to speak to freshman at orientation as well as start a long round of strategic planning for the fall. We will still have a training retreat, except for the fact that it's going to be on campus, right before school, so it won't cost much money. We hope to throw out lots of ideas as well as have a joint cabinet meeting with Dr. Aloia before classes even start. This is cheaper and it is more practical insofar as trying to start an effective team dynamic as well as have things ready for the Senate before that first meeting.

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  12. Jeff,

    Cutting officer pay to make room for more library money is a great idea. I've mentioned it several times - there are a lot of SGA positions that were grossly overpaid.

    This way, student organizations don't have to suffer when it comes time to budget money for their expenses in the fall. It's a great idea.

    I'm glad the potential for more workstudy jobs in the library will open up. I've heard for years that the library is one of the hardest jobs to get on campus.

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  13. Comment to Jeff-

    I think that cutting officer pay is a fine decision; I would be more supportive of putting pay into the bylaws so that it is not an arbitrary decision year to year. However, I assume that your Business Manager's spreadsheet exists on the scale that we had this year, which will not be the same amount of money that we will have next year. In your next meetings with Dr. Aloia and Dr. Becker, you may want to find out exactly (which will honestly be a ballpark number) what our budget is for the 2009-2010 year. It would be wonderful if we continue to have $100,000, but I would appreciate you making sure that our budget isn't going to change before you set officer pay in stone. For example, if we only have $50,000 next year, $27,000 for officer pay will not pass the Senate.

    Just things to consider... :)

    Also, as far as students manning the extra hours, that's awesome! What will be done during finals weeks? Students who work there that do not have early finals will work the late hours? Has Dr. Aloia drafted a plan for this, or is it still in planning stages?

    Thanks for all the information, by the way!

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  14. Jeff,

    I also want to applaud you for not having a "retreat." It does serve a good purpose, but that's if it's only used correctly. It's supposed to be an event for the outgoing & incoming executives to get together & transition.

    I don't know a lot of details about last year's infamous "DC field trip," and that's probably for the best. I have heard that you were one of the few executives who refused to go on it. A lot of students were upset about the trip, especially a lot of money was spent for it w/o the senate getting a chance to approve it.

    Coming in w/ the freshmen and speaking to them is a great idea. Making a big impace w/ the younger students is a great way to make them aware of the SGA & possibly get some of them involved.

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  15. I cannot speak for Business Manager Belcher, who is already doing a fine job, but he mentioned that based on his discussions with administrators, the SGA budget is likely not to see any cuts next year, despite the fact that all of us this year wore worried that we would. As soon as Matt gets that number, either he or I will let everyone know what it is.

    As far as what happens during finals week, everything is still in the planning stages at this point. The only thing we do know now is that they will be open longer, unless the President decides to back out. Considering his reputation and considering that he is a man of integrity though, I don't foresee that happening.

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  16. I must first say what a fine job Jeff is doing as SGA president. In his first week he has already done more then Wes Prince did his whole term. I am happy to have a SGA President I can be proud of. Keep up the good work Jeff! 2nd, I like the idea of creating a scholarship using students check change. However I must be the negative person here but how many students do you know that are going to give up their money? I know with as much as I pay, what little bit I get left, I need to pay other bills, Im sure Im not the only one in that situation. Also going back to the great job Jeff is doing, Ive always thought SGA members are overpaid. This cut to keep the library open 24 hours is an awesome idea. Its great! One more point on baseball tailgating. I have yet to watch a baseball game here at Concord. I was going to this year but as a high school baseball/softball official, I was on the road most of the time. I have heard though attendance is small for a game. We have one of the best small college baseball teams in the eastern region and more people should come to watch them. I think tailgating is a great idea and I believe it would increase attendance alot. Also, Chris keep up the good work!

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  17. To echo Pat's comments - I've been to two baseball games in my 5 years at Concord. One was my freshman year, the other was my junior year. Both were because I was covering the baseball team for The Concordian. Both times, attendance was poor.

    I can often hear the baseball games going on from my room - the baseball field is that close. But, baseball isn't really a sport that interests me.

    However, if something were done to make it more interesting, I would likely go if I weren't doing anything else. If tailgating were allowed, I could see myself calling up some friends and getting some beer & heading down to the baseball field.

    I hope Aloia signs off on this.

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  18. Jeff, I must strongly disagree with your decision to cut the Prime Justice's pay by $50. Before the new community service plan was passed I would have had no objection. I believe that though the database elements of the PJ's job have been removed, the community service responsibilities are vast and represent a net increase in responsibilities.

    I understand that it would seem unfair to cut everyone's pay but the PJ's, but she really never made that much money in the first place. In addition, Michelle has done a fantastic job, so based on both her job responsibilities and her diligence, I disagree with the pay cut. I propose that you leave her pay unchanged through the fall semester and see how much work is involved. If by the end of the semester you feel that her new responsibilities equal a net DECREASE, in responsibilities, then you should consider a pay cut. Until then i believe it is unfair to take this action.

    I also would like to point out that your initiative represents the SGA paying for an improvement that the University should be paying for. While it is not unprecedented for the SGA to fund campus improvements, the SGA has traditionally seen this as an undesirable method of getting things done. It is however unprecedented in the respect that the SGA has never given money for improvements in a way that is binding on future SGA's It establishes a precedent that "if the SGA wants it, let them pay for it." If this becomes the mentality of the administration, then eventually the SGA will take on more and more commitments until the budget is significantly and adversely impacted. You really need to safeguard that money. What you are doing is admirable and beneficial, I am just saying be careful about the precedents you set. Especially when those precedents are binding on future SGA's

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  19. I took a lot of these comments and put them in the body of a new blog, so more people could check them out. If you have any additional comments to this, direct them to the new blog:

    http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2009/05/last-blogs-comments.html

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