Hello. For those who don't know me, I'm Chris Slater. I'm a guy who should have graduated a long time ago but I haven't, so I stick around and blog about the Student Government Association.
I initially became interested in the SGA by reporting on it for Concord's student newspaper, The Concordian. I reported on every meeting over the next 4 years. During that time, I rose up the ranks of The Concordian from a staff writer, to News Editor, and then to Editor-in-Chief.
Last year, I was no longer on The Concordian staff, but I still had an interest in the SGA, so I continued to attend meetings. I didn't feel as though The Concordian was covering the SGA as well as it should, so I began writing a weekly summary of the meeting in my blog & adding some of my own thoughts.
It caught on & became pretty popular. If you're new to this blog, click here & you'll find out why I'm new to this particular blogging service & why there's no archives of past SGA-related blogs.
Let's get this started...
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Before I talk about the SGA meeting, I'd like to say a couple words about The Concordian. There is a new Editor-in-Chief of the paper - Wendy Holdren. I'd like to look at last year's staff as a transitional year. There was a one-year window between when I left the paper and when Wendy took over. Whatever happened in that one year is behind us. I don't even want to think about it anymore.
I'm glad Wendy is in charge of the paper now. I've seen the potential in her for a while now - I promoted her to her first assistant editor position on the staff & tried to take on somewhat of a "mentor" role with her. I don't know how successful that has been - I guess decently successful, since she sometimes asks me for advice.
I tried to rejoin The Concordian last semester. I had a meeting with the advisor & the Editor-in-Chief. I didn't like the way that meeting went, so I didn't come back. It's not 100% official at this moment, but you can go ahead and consider me to be a staff member of The Concordian again. It's just a matter of getting all the "paper work" figured out. I've already written one story for the second issue (9/2/09) and plan on writing one more.
We'll figure out my role on the staff and what I'm going to do. I don't want to usurp any of Wendy's power or authority, but I do feel as though there's more that I can do for the staff than simply write stories. We'll figure out something for me to do, don't worry.
Wendy has definitely earned this position and I think she can do a great job in the future. This is only Wendy's third year, and I can't even think of the last time a 3rd-year student took over the newspaper. There was talk of making me Editor-in-Chief during my sophomore year, but through politics & whatnot, I had to wait an extra 3 semesters before I finally did it.
If Wendy decides to stick around and be Editor-in-Chief for two years, this will finally allow The Concordian to do some long-term planning. It will also let her formulate a plan on how to properly run the paper for a while. By the time I finally figured everything out - e.g., I knew who I could trust, I knew how much time to spend doing certain things, etc... - there were probably on three issues left for the year. If she decides to make this a 2-year commitment, then she can get all her "growing pains" out and have a great product for a lot longer than most Editor-in-Chiefs.
So, I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop and what the future holds for The Concordian.
Check out The Concordian online at http://www.cunewspaper.com/
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Now, what you've all come here for - thoughts on the first SGA meeting of the semester. The way I do this is I go to the SGA meeting and write down some notes. I then write the blog w/ my notes sitting beside me. I experimented w/ a couple different formats, but the one that seemed to be the most popular was putting down a rough summary of each individual report, with my opinions (if any) below it in italics. We'll follow that format.
Since this was the first SGA meeting of the semester, Concord President Dr. Gregory Aloia paid us a visit and spoke on a few subjects. Things he mentioned include:
the cafeteria is open until 7 p.m. now ... they're looking into ways to get students more flex dollars ... looking into ways to expand the library hours ... the 24-hour library hours during the finals is still here ... they're trying to create a movie theater on campus ... they rejected more students from attending concord than they ever have in the past (110 this year as opposed to 7 last year) ... he thinks some students should attend community college for a few years b4 attending concord ... concord bought new property near campus & are looking into what to do with it
I'm glad that Concord has finally started rejecting students. This school has long had the reputation of allowing "anyone" to attend. The thought has always been, "If you can't get into a tough school, come to Concord." The retention rates are showing that we're bringing in a lot of students with poor grades and they're failing out. Hopefully this will help change the perception of Concord.
Attorney General Bill Lewis spoke next ... he noted that the SGA will do a much better job of enforcing absences than last year (an organization loses its voting rights after 3 absences) ... noted that the SGA now has a Twitter & YouTube channel, in an attempt for better transparency (click here to see where I wrote about it over the summer)
There were several people outspoken about the job of keeping attendance & the duties of the then-secretary last semester. But, I was probably the most-outspoken & "loudest." There was just a really bad job of that done last semester. It looks like this year's SGA is going to do a better job in that department.
Business Manager Matt Belcher was up next ... he said that the SGA didn't lose any funding this year ... he has the budget prepared, if anybody wants to see it talk to him b4 next week's meeting come see him ... he'll present the budget at the next meeting
Board of Governors representative Curtis Kearns spoke next ... he noted that he'll be sworn in soon ... there was a BOG "summit" held the past weekend, where people from across the state spoke about BOG issues ... the next BOG meeting will be Sept. 24, at 10 a.m. & it will be a teleconference meeting ... the West Virginia Higher Education Policy State Commission's Advisory Council of Students will meet sometime in September, Kearns will attempt to become chair ... Kearns then spoke out about President Aloia's interim hiring over the summer, calling arguments for it are "nonsense"
I don't know a lot about the WVHEPC, but I've heard a few conversations about how it's very important for Concord that Curtis become chair. So, hopefully he can do that. Regarding his speech about Dr. Aloia's hiring practices, I'll offer this - nothing that he said was that groundbreaking or revolutionary. I wasn't personally shocked by anything he said. What did shock me was the assortment of giggles from fellow Student Government members while Curtis was talking. To me, it didn't seem like Curtis was talking to a room full of his peers about a legitimate gripe. It came off like he was talking to a bunch of giggly kids who couldn't believe he would attempt to stand up to President Aloia. For some of Curtis' thoughts about various CU-related matters, check out his blog - http://cudiscord.blogspot.com/
Faculty Senate representative Ashley Green gave her first report ... she hasn't attended a Faculty Senate meeting yet, but looks forward to
Secretary Eric Lopez gave his report, again pointing out that the SGA will do a better job of keeping up with absences and attendance.
Ombudsman Brittany Keys gave her report, noting a few complaints she has received so far - the clocks in the admin building don't work, building are too hot or too cold, people smoking too close to the doors, etc...
Vice President Akeya Carter-Bozman noted in her report that she would select a committee to plan Homecoming, instead of just doing it by herself ... the week of Oct. 12 is Homecoming ... she also noted that she plans to chair a "Multicultural Affairs" committee
In President Jeff Yeager's report, he gave a run-down of things he accomplished during the summer ... [all the following appointments made by Yeager passed] - Jeff made an appointment for Dr. Charles Brichford to return as SGA faculty advisor ... an appointment for Akeya Carter-Bozman & Brittany Keys to co-chair an ad hoc "Multicultural Affairs" committee ... an appointment for Curtis Kearns to chair an ad hoc Tuition/Fees committee ... an appointment for Bill Lewis to chair an ad hoc Judicial Reform committee ... an appointment for Matt Belcher to chair an ad hoc Budgetary Reform committee ... and appointment for Gary Thompson to chair an ad hoc Energy Sustainability committee
I'm interested to see what the Multicultural Affairs committee does. It seems like a good thing. I think it's about time the Tuition/Fees committee becomes a standing committee. It doesn't have a temporary purpose, like the Judicial & Budgetary reform committees. The Judicial & Budgetary reform committees are looking at ways to make both of those processes better. When they do, their need is gone. The Tuition/Fees committee is looking at ways to keep tuition & fees lower. I think we need that full-time. If memory serves me, this will be the third consecutive year for this committee to be an ad hoc.
Resolution 08262009A, which would extend the library hours, was tabled until next week
Amendment 08262009, which would add some Senators to the SGA passed. Discussion will be at the next meeting, with voting taking place the week after that.
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That looks like about all from the meeting. The resolution was tabled b/c the SGA wasn't sure exactly what services they were spending their money on. Or, it may have been tabled because Ashley Hicks said it should be, which caused all the other members of Sigma Sigma Sigma & Tau Kappa Epsilon in the room to vote with her. For the record, I think it should have been tabled a week. It just makes more sense to get more information.
Speaking of Ashley Hicks, I overheard her say a couple interesting things during the meeting. I wasn't trying to overhear... she just has a voice that sort of "carries"... if you know what I mean. She told Curtis Kearns after the meeting that she had been texting last year's President Wes Prince during the meeting. I also overheard her saying something to the effect that she couldn't sit next to Curtis because they wanted it to seem like they were more spread out in the room, so they wouldn't be seen as a "clique" sitting in the same area. I paraphrased that last one. So, take those however you'd like.
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I'll leave my infamous warning here - I import these blogs into Facebook. Facebook gives you the option to "tag" people in your note, sending the person an e-mail notification. I generally tag people for two reasons - 1) if you are mentioned by name, I try to tag you & 2) if I think you will find this interesting, I will try to tag you.
If you're tagged & don't want to be, let me know & I won't tag you in the future. If you're not tagged & would like to be in the future, also let me know.
Questions/thoughts/complaints/suggestions/etc... are encouraged. There is a comment feature on this blog, and I don't mind if you use it. Anonymous comments are allowed, but only if you keep the comment relevant to the subject & mildly-profanity free.