Friday, August 28, 2009

8/26 SGA meeting, some other stuff

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...

* * *

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/

* * *

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.

New Business:

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.

* * *

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.

* * *

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.

27 comments:

  1. Why do I keep reading this shit?!? Damn you, Slater. Damn you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why do I keep writing this shit?!? Cause you keep reading it lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi, Chris -- Just a couple of small points of clarification. First, on the issues of flex dollars, flex dollars were increased $15 a semester this year with the hopes of more increases in the future. Your statement about them doesn't really note the increase this year. Second, 170 applicants were denied admission this year, not 110.

    Additionally, on the library hours issue, I want to clarify some confusion in the meeting. The TOTAL cost per semester is $2000, not $4000. Thus, the SGA's cost per semester would be $1000.

    Enjoyed the blog, as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for the clarifications, Marshall.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You know me, Chris. I always have to make a scene, and you always have to report it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. :) You just have to work on your whispering skills ... or make sure I'm not in the room when you talk

    You're an asset to the SGA - I'm glad you're not like a handful of previous people who abandoned the SGA after they didn't win the presidency.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The library proposal should be fixed next week. I am personally glad now that it was tabled, as the Senate practically gave the Executive Board the leverage to negotiate a better deal. After the Senate meeting, Business Manager Belcher met with Dr. Rowe the next day and found out that the $2,000 per semester cost included the University helping to charge SGA for finals week as well as Sunday hours. Dr. Rowe, however, did in fact have enough money in his budget that he did not expect to have to cover that cost. Now, the total per semester will equal out to only about $1,000 to keep the periodicals room open as well as get a working wireless printer for students. I confirmed this "new deal" today with Dr. Flanigan and I hope this edited proposal will have no trouble passing to give students the new hours by this time next week. Simply put, once this passes, it will be a great day for the SGA as it will give us good publicity throughout the community, and I personally think that it's the most helpful $1,000 that we will have spent in years. Thanks to the hard work of my Executive Board, this thing will hopefully be a reality soon. If the whole $1,000 is not spent, then the University will simply not charge us for it.

    Let me remind the readers as well that this periodicals room is only the beginning of after hours areas that are monitored and quiet. It's not without precedent either, as other universities in these tough economic times are only opening a smaller area after hours--Dr. Berkey told me that Penn State has a program just like the one we are implementing. This will hopefully give not only on-campus students a good place to study but also the commuters who do not have the luxury of an on campus lounge.

    Also Chris, I like your idea of making tuition and fees a standing committee, maybe we should take care of that this semester.

    See everyone next week!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Chris Slater on the newspaper staff again? Its a good match. I think they would greatly benefit from your knowledge and experience. Also you SGA blog looks good and is full of information as usual. Keep up the good work

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jeff,

    I'm glad to hear about the good news with the library.

    ReplyDelete
  10. For anybody who hasn't seen it yet, Jeff has posted a new blog on the library issue & a few other subjects:

    http://presidentyeager.blogspot.com/2009/08/presidents-desk-library-ada-compliance.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. Chris,

    It's hard for me to understand how "politics" kept you from becoming editor-in-chief. In fact, I think that can only be said if you would've become the editor considering the active political campaign you in which you engaged for that position.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jesse,

    Let's not open this can of worms...

    I'm not blaming "politics" for you becoming Editor-in-Chief instead of my my sophomore year. We all agreed that I would take that semester to improve my grades.

    After that, yeah, that's were I think the "politics" came into play. LeAnne Davis (now Henderson) did a great job as Editor, but - at the time - based on qualifications and merit, I think I deserved the position over her.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, of course you do. But, the thing is that our advisor did not. And that's really the only reason why you didn't get it. I think you give politics a little too much weight there.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I remember that conversation w/ the advisor very well. He made it a point to stress to me that he made this decision after talking to several people - that's where the "politics" arise.

    He told me he had reservations about me & reservations about LeAnne, but it was on the recommendation of several people that he did not choose me.

    That's how I define "politics" in that situation.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That's not "politics," Chris. In fact, I believe you had the recommendation of several hundred Concord University students. If you had been chosen just by "popular demand" than that would been an example of politics. It would have been setting aside judgment just to appease people. Instead, our advisor looked at your qualifications and merit and decided they were at least more lacking then the person he chose.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Arguing about something that happened 3 years ago is pointless - we're not going to get anywhere.

    Let's agree to disagree. I believe one thing and you believe something different.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Okay, well, how about you quit whining about something from three years ago then?

    ReplyDelete
  18. No, really, Chris. I mean how many times have you gone on about it? We've all let you say what you wanted to say without challenging it. Don't you think it's time to move on? It's too old to argue about but not to complain about? I just don't understand.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I don't think I complained about it. I just mentioned it. Why didn't I become Editor? Politics. That's not complaining - that's stating my opinion.

    Yeah, I'll agree, I've complained about it in the past. Maybe I didn't handle it well back then. I thought I was doing a better job of handling it now.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Chris, as I have stated to you before, I enjoy reading these blogs and feel that you provide an excellent summary of the meeting as well as properly represent what each notable opinion has stated.

    Now that law school has taken my heart and soul, I will no longer be able to receive information about what the student government is up to any other way than your blogs. For these reasons, I ask that if possible, tag me so I may know when you have written a summary/response. Every now and then I will post comments from the perspective of an outsider, now that I no longer write for the Concordian and no longer sustain any real ties to Concord.

    God help me as to why I am still interested, but it does not change the fact that sadly, I am.

    Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Ryan,

    Thanks for reading & I'll tag you in the future.

    Good luck in law school!

    ReplyDelete
  22. For those who don't have Facebook, here is a comment that Kiwa Nadas left on the Facebook-ed version of this blog:

    While I agree with 90% of what was said in your blog, I have a problem with your bias towards Greek life and the fact that you accuse some of us as voting a certain way because someone else says its right. Each of us have a mind of our own and use it to its full potential. Frankly am a little offended that you called us a "clique" and used ONE of ... Read Moremy several affiliations as a negative. Ashley may have said something along the lines of staying away from her sisters to avoid a cluster, but rest assured, it was not shared with the rest of this "clique" nor would we care to follow it. The fact that so many Sigmas and/or TKE members are ALWAYS present in SGA meetings, goes to show we have minds that think alike and are trying to accomplish the same goals in our lives. NOT because someone told us to come or because we feel we need to be there to boost a vote a certain way. Please in the future give some benefit of a doubt since without our "clique", SGA would not be as full as it is now.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Here was the response I left to Kiwa on Facebook:

    Maybe I was wrong to say "every" member of those groups. But, historically, the members of those two groups tend to vote together. Also, historically, the members tend to vote that way after Ashley stands up and makes a point.

    I will give you guys the benefit of the doubt in the future. If I see less "clique-iness" I'll be sure to point it out.

    Thank you for reading & caring enough to comment.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Kiwa left a response to my response. I think I'm going to give her the last word in this matter:

    Historically we vote the same way because, like I said above, we think alike and are working towards a same goal. However, to say that Sigmas and TKE generally vote alike is a lie. In fact to say TKE votes alike is a lie. There is currently dissent among TKE. Even to say that Sigma members vote alike every time is a lie. I remember several times ... Read Morelast year when I would not vote with my "clique". Also for a more recent example, Ashley voted against the amendment to add more freshman senators, while the "clique" that apparently orbs around her voted for it. Im offended on behalf of the students who dont have a vote, myself included, that you think and are spreading the opinion that we are there for one reason: to vote the way Ashley does. Please do not make statements about people that you have never spoken to before and when you have no evidence to support the opinion.

    ReplyDelete