Friday, September 11, 2009

09-09-09 SGA Meeting (and etc...)

In case I've picked up some new readers in the last couple weeks, click here and check out my entry about the semester's first meeting of the Student Government Association. I give a little background about what it is that I do here.

Also, click here to check out last week's blog. There were some interesting comments on it.

Again, it seems as though we're having a hard time understanding what "historically" means. I'm using it to describe incidents from the last several years. Not individual examples, but a wide-reaching "general" example of how the last several years were between members of Tau Kappa Epsilon and Sigma Sigma Sigma in the SGA. Historically, they voted alike. Yes, there were specific instances in those couple years that they didn't. You can find those if you want to nitpick. And, yes, lately (this semester and some of last semester) there have been a lot of examples of the "Tekes" and "Sigmas" not voting together.

Here's an anonymous comment that was left last week:

Chris,

I hate to continue the harping on this issue...but:

Just because Ashley makes a point, and people subsequently vote according to her point, does not mean that they are just following her lead.

Unless you can see into everybody's psyche, you cannot make this point. How do you know how Kiwa (or Nicole Coleman, Karina Rahall, or the quiet freshman in the back) was feeling when Ashley made her point? Maybe they already agreed with her, and just didn't stand up to say so.

I'm not saying your point isn't valid: I'll be the first to refer to the senate as sheep. But over the past few years, I have definately seen a greater awareness about what is going on and you cannot call specific people out, because you don't know what they are thinking. Additionally, Kiwa brought up current issues but she was only giving examples. You want past examples? 1) Keith Pruitt disagreed with Jared Tice. 2) Jessica Cook disagreed with Danielle Richmond (remember Ben v. Rocky?) And speaking of that election, Danielle DEFINATELY disagreed with Tice.


Here was my response to that:

To respond to "Anonymous" - you wrote:

"You want past examples? 1) Keith Pruitt disagreed with Jared Tice. 2) Jessica Cook disagreed with Danielle Richmond (remember Ben v. Rocky?) And speaking of that election, Danielle DEFINATELY disagreed with Tice."

Those are two examples over the last 4-5 years. Again, we're having a misunderstanding of what historically means - those are two exceptions to what has historically been the case in the SGA. Of course, we're going to have instances of two members of Tau Kappa Epsilon and Sigma Sigma Sigma disagreeing (which is what you presented in your points). But, there are something like 12 SGA meetings a semester, and you gave two instances. Two examples out of nearly 50 meetings or so (if my horrible math skills hold up...).

I'll even give you another example to help you - when Danielle Richmond ran for Business Manager against Bryan Henderson. That split the members of Sigma Sigma Sigma.

But, it's not enough to change the fact that historically, those two groups vote and think alike in the SGA.

Could it be changing this year? Maybe. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks and semesters. Has it been that way in the past, though. No.

I don't know. Let's give that debate a rest for a couple weeks and see what happens with it. It looks like the two organizations may be changing what has historically been the case in the SGA. Let's see what develops...

I had another interesting comment in my blog. Take a look at it:

"I Can't Believe It's A Journalist!"

"Hi, I'm Chris Slater. You may remember me from such self-help films as 'Watch, Bitch, and Blog: How to Make Yourself Feel Important', and 'SGA Antagonism: The Road to Infinite Attention'"

One of my favorite things to do with anonymous comments is try and imagine who wrote them. With this one, I'm 95% sure that I know who wrote it. I can just hear something like this coming out of this person's mouth. But, this person chose to remain anonymous, so I will respect his or her decision. If you don't get where the quote is coming from, click here.

And, again, I want to point out that I don't mind anonymous comments. If want to share something you feel is important, but don't necessarily want your name attached to it, go ahead and make it anonymous. As long as it's semi-relevant to the subject and not completely trashing somebody, it's okay.

I don't really know how to respond to a comment like that. As I've stated several times in this blog (and my old blog), I think some people don't understand the power and importance of social media mediums, like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging.

I don't do this to "bitch" or "antagonize" but I will admit that I do this for attention. I do this to bring attention to things I find interesting. If I'm blogging about a George Harrison song I like, I want people to listen to it. If I'm blogging about my first haircut in 3 1/2 years, I want people to see me with short hair. If I'm blogging about the SGA, I want people to know about the SGA.

I think Concord's Student Government is important. I had always blogged about the SGA a little bit in the past, but I really got heavily into it whenever I realized that last year's Concordian staff didn't consider the SGA to be a high priority for them. I knew a lot of people read my blog and decided to do what the newspaper wasn't doing - give people a weekly summary of what went down. Some people like my opinions, so I added my thoughts.

So, there's that. I guess. Hopefully that helped explain my reasoning somewhat for doing this.

* * *

Speaking of The Concordian...

The 09-09-09 issue of the newspaper is online at
http://www.cunewspaper.com/ and looks pretty good. Design-wise, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done with the paper. The writing also needs a little help. I kind of compare it to the Obama Administration - there's a lot of good stuff they want to get done, but they've been saddled with a lot of crap from the previous administration.

The Concordian is still trying to fix its damaged reputation. Don't get me wrong, the paper had some good stories and some good writing last year, but I don't think the majority of public opinion was ever good again after the infamous "Voted yes on No Confidence" mistake that was made.


I feel confident in this semester's staff. That's why I re-joined. If I'm not satisfied with what I'm seeing with the paper, then I won't be back next semester. Wendy Holdren isn't the savior of the paper. She's a smart girl with some good ideas. Can she lead a good newspaper staff? Yeah, I think she can. Will she? That's what we're going to find out this semester.

I have three stories in this week's paper, in addition to some pictures I took for the Sports section. Click here to see my op/ed piece I wrote. Click here to see my feature on Concord's new football coach. Click here to see my story about the football team winning 2 games. My pictures are included with one of the football stories.

I really like the piece I wrote for the Opinions page. I'm kind of admitting to some past mistakes I made as a college student. Maybe some younger students reading that won't make the same mistakes. I also bring up a couple interesting "University 100" questions. I think it's an entertaining read.
I'd like to clear up what my role on the staff is. My official title is "Senior Staff Writer." That's not something I created - that's what The Concordian has always called a former Editor-in-Chief who comes back as a staff writer. Technically, there's no real difference between a Staff Writer and a Senior Staff Writer ... except that one is a former Editor-in-Chief and one isn't. I don't contribute anything besides offering story ideas and what I write. I have no say in what appears in the paper and how it looks.

With that said, though, I believe it would be a waste of my talent and knowledge to simply write stories and contribute nothing. We haven't exactly worked out how I'm going to do this, but I'd like to work individually with some of the writers and editors and help them if I can.

I don't know. We'll figure something out. If I enjoy my role and like being on the staff, I'll come back in the spring. If not, then I don't.

Now, what you've all come to read:

* * *

The Sept. 09 SGA meeting opened with a speech from Dr. Stephen Rowe, who is (was?) in charge of the library. He noted that as part of an agreement between the library and the SGA, he would make an appearance at the beginning of each academic year and explain what he's done with money that is allocated to the library. For the 08-09 academic year, he noted that they spent "a tad under $64,000."

Rowe gave the following rundown on various database services the library uses and some other stuff and how much they cost -

Infotrac - $14,000
Epsco - $0
America's Newspapers - $2100
[Didn't get the name, something for music majors] - $1800
Sci Finders - $5000
"J-Store" Databases - $4000
[Something "J-Store" music related] - $3500
[Something "J-Store" science related] -$4800
Classicalmusic.com - [didn't get how much it costs]
6-8 workstudy students $15,000 [I think...]

Rowe also talked about the extended hours for the periodical room of the library [extended from 10 p.m. to midnight] ... it was open 09-08-09 on an experimental basis ... he says 10 people showed up ... he is talking to the fire marshall, as he believes there is seating for 20-25 people in there ... he is looking into getting a phone for the room ... there were only 2 internet jacks in there, so he set up a wireless hub in there ... he has hired 2 workstudy students to be in charge of the room ... regarding ADA issues, he said that he has e-mailed Nancy Ellison [who works with students with disabilities] and Jeff Shumaker [who builds & fixes stuff on campus] and has not heard a response from either one

Rowe also gave an update on the "Campaign for a University Library" fund that has been around for the last several years ... it was initially going to add a 3rd floor to the library, but Rowe does not think that is feasible now ... instead, it will go towards an extensive renovation project, with Rowe giving fixing the leaky roof as an example

I'd been wondering about the status of the "Campaign for a University Library" for a while now. When I did a story about it for a early-2007 issue of The Concordian, Rowe gave me 2010-2011 as a possible date for the third floor to be on the library. As we're in late 2009 and nothing has happened regarding that, I wondered what was up. Apparently the materials are too expensive and that's throwing a monkey wrench in their plans. So, they're going to fix some problems with what they've got. I like that.

A little background on the "Campaign for a University Library," the SGA of several years back (when Jared Tice was President) gave the Library somewhere in the neighborhood of $80,000. To the best of my knowledge, the only thing they've done with any of that money was throw away $30,000 of it. Around the time of throwing away that $30,000 we got those two shitty-looking statues outside the library.

I like Dr. Rowe. He's always got a good soundbite for an interview and he's usually eager to talk to the press. Hopefully we'll see some more stuff about the "Campaign for a University Library" in a future edition of The Concordian.

The Attorney General's report was next ... Bill Lewis noted that he was not going to count absences from the first meeting of the semester ... he gave a warning about accumulating excessive absences ... he also said to talk to him if you wanted to serve on the Judicial Reform committee

Interim Vice President [don't know the exact position...] Marshall Campbell brought up a question of whether or not Bill was still chair of the Concord University Student Affairs committee ... Bill responded by saying that he wasn't sure if he or Ombudsman Brittany Keys were going to chair it

Secretary Eric Lopez gave his report ... don't misuse office supplies, he said, or he will throw them away

Ombudsman Brittany Key's report was next ... Regarding the complaint about Science professor Dr. Crick making students take a test when books still had not arrived in the bookstore, Keys noted that Crick provided an online version of the book ... She sent Housing Director Rick Dillon an e-mail regarding complaints that the shower heads in South Tower were not powerful enough ... regarding complaints about ARAMARK, she deferred those complaints to the Dining committee

Business Manager Matt Belcher announced that the Budgetary committee was going to be voted on at the next meeting

I've been hearing some interesting things about the Business Manager and the issues surrounding that. I mentioned last week that Matt was being taken to the Student Supreme Hearing Board over some issues. I'm covering that for the 9/16 issue of The Concordian, so look for that next week. The verdict has been reached and will be announced at the 9/16 meeting. I know what the verdict is, but I don't know if I'm supposed to.

The Vice President's report was next ... Akeya Carter-Bozman said that the first Homecoming committee meeting was last week - "It was a blast," she said ... she appointed Adam Pauley to chair the Publications committee and JR Davis to chair the Publicity committee

I really don't have a clue as to what the Publications committee does. Hopefully it does something.

President Jeff Yeager's report was next ... He began his report by announcing John Dunn's resignation from his Senator position, saying "He wasn't happy about certain things" ... Jeff announced Kiwa Nadas as Dunn's replacement ... He appointed Katrina Stewart to the "Athletic Liaison" position ...He introduced the new interim-Student Center Director (and SGA Advisor) Anna Mills Hardy ... Hardy was previously (and still is, for now) the Resident Director of Wilson Hall and Sarvay Hall ... Yeager noted a faculty complaint with "Distance Learning" classes and he spoke with Dean John David Smith about it ... He gave an update on his push to get religious studies classes at Concord - he said that some history faculty have expressed an interest & it would also help utilize the University Point building for students ... He noted that he couldn't give many updated about being on the University's Budgetary committee ... he is also serving on the "Emergency Alert Team"

I've heard some pros & cons about Hardy having this new position. Most of the pros center on her being eager & nice. The cons seem to note her lack of experience. As of right now, this isn't a permanent job, so hopefully she can learn on-the-go and figure out what she needs to do. From what I've heard, the opening of this position to a nation-wide search hinges on how Marshall Campbell works out in his new position. If he sticks with it, they'll open up the search. If not, they'll give him back the Student Center Director. That's how it was explained to me.

Old Business:

Amendment 08262009A passed. It increases the number of Senators from 10 to 13.

Amendment 09022009A was tabled for two weeks. It would require that opinions relating to cases of constitutional interpretation be heard and published in a timely manner [no later than 2 weeks].

New Business:

Resolution 09092009A passed. It shows that the Student Senate endorses a program of Religious Studies at Concord University and formally requests that the University adopt said program to better utilize University Point.

* * *

That was everything from the meeting. I thought I'd leave with some "lighter" content, to kind of add a little bit of fun to the drudgery that is the SGA Blog.
The blurry picture below is from the notes that I take during the meeting. That hunk of notes is from when Dr. Rowe was speaking. I had a "dyslexic moment" when I was writing. Rowe mentioned that in the library, the roof leaks. If you squint your eyes and stare at the center of that picture where the parentheses are, you'll see that I wrote "loof reaks."

In addition to my blog, I'm also a big fan of Twitter. On my blog, there's a version of my Twitter feed on the right side of the screen. My actual Twitter page is located at - http://twitter.com/chris_slater . I've talked about Twitter before a few times in the past. I really enjoy it - the possibilities of what you can do with it are endless. Check that out if you're a fan of random thoughts, interesting articles, occasional professional wrestling talk, and much more.

Another fun Twitter account to check out is this one - http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays . It's run by some guy named Justin and every Tweet is something that his 73-year-old father said. It's hilarious.

I tag people in the SGA blogs, but I usually don't in the other blogs I write. Just to show that I blog about other topics besides the SGA, I'll leave a list of some recent blogs. If the title intrigues you, click it.

My Hair

Look Good in Leather

Who covered The Beatles better?

Beatles cartoon - "I'm Down"

Beavis & Butthead review "Extract"

George Harrison - "My Sweet Lord"

* * *

I'll leave my disclaimer 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.

12 comments:

  1. Maybe it seems nitpicky...but I really don't like that the phrase "extending library hours" is being used. That's not what happened at all....the library still closes....only now, we have a room to sit in. A room is very different from a library.

    I realize that you, specifically, didn't use that phrase...but I hear people in SGA talk about how great it is that we've gotten the library hours extended. I guess, to me, if the "library" hours are extended, then I should be able to use the whole library. If all we're getting is a room -- why can't it be in the student center game room where there are computers available?

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  2. Chris,
    If you need any info regarding the question that was presented to the hearing board, I would be glad to provide it, but until the Hearing Board releases its written opinion i would strongly recommend that you not discuss what you think you may know about the result. At this point, the best you can offer is conjecture. Wednesday, the decision and the rationale behind it will be released. I think the Hearing Board deserves the right to be judged not by rumor and conjecture but by what they put in writing. I hope you will agree.

    Sean Noland
    Judicial Advisor

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  3. I am not saying i think that is your plan, i just wanted to ensure clarity and head off any drama that might spring up if rumors get abreast of the actual opinion.

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  4. Sean,

    Don't worry. I wasn't planning on printing anything about the result before it was announced and discussed. All I know is "they said this." I don't have enough to do anything with.

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  5. JD,

    That's a good point. We didn't really extend the library hours, it's more like we have a new 2-hour study lounge.

    There are no actual library resources you have access to, unless you consider a wireless hub to be a resource.

    But, it's still in the experimental phase. Maybe they'll improve the situation next semester or next year.

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  6. I think you should start doing a "Really!?!" section in your blogs similar to what Seth Meyers does on SNL's Weekend Update.

    Just a thought.

    I believe I would shit bricks if you did.

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  7. Chris,

    This isn't really that important, but just for the sake of accuracy in regard to two database names(and because I'm a library science nerd) "Epsco" is actually "EBSCO" and "J-Store" is "JSTOR". I'm sure nobody cares, but I thought you might want to know. Enjoyed the blog, as always.

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  8. Chris,

    Always enjoy reading your blogs, even though I rarely leave a comment. However, today I just felt the need to chime in.

    I think the students will be pleased with the choice of Anna Hardy as the Student Activities Director. You are correct she is "eager & nice", and she has some really good ideas for activities. However, I don't think all the student realize how much experience she has because she hasn't been here that long this time.

    Anna was an RA and then an RD when I was a student here. She left in the Summer of 2004 to pursue a Master's Degree at WVU. She then returned to CU as an RD again, which brings us to now. So experience wise she has plenty. Not only has she worked in Student Affairs here more than a lot of people realize, she also brings in some different perspectives from being at WVU.

    Thanks Chris. Looking forward to next week's blog.


    Bill Fraley
    Intramurals Director

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  9. Dude, I wanna see Extract-it's at the Beckley Marquee Cinema...I'm def. going sometime this week.

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  10. Concordian Faculty Advisor Lindsey Mullins left the following comment on the Facebook version of this blog:

    ~~~~~

    You are right in saying that Wendy isn't the "savior" of the newspaper. However, she does have drive and a desire to work hard. The only way the newspaper can get better is if we all work together as a team and discuss things we want to improve in the workshop within the workshop.

    Another thing that would improve the workshop would be an actual journalism program at Concord. Right now we just have an adjunct that teaches journalism classes (not that she does a bad job).

    Also, it was quite frustrating to hear that nobody could give me any story models last week other than the inverted pyramid. I'll try to spend about 15 minutes over the next couple of weeks (leaving 35 minutes for everything else) to teach other ways to write stories. It is my hope that this will generate some more feature stories, columns etc.

    I think students learn by doing so I have taken that approach with the workshop. I don't want to check every line and every layout prior to print.

    ReplyDelete