Saturday, October 17, 2009

10/14/09 SGA Meeting notes, etc...

I've finally gotten around to putting some thoughts out about the 10/14 meeting of the Student Government Association. For those who haven't read it yet, I did post a blog that detailed the "tweets" of several people using their Twitter accounts during the meeting. Click here to check that out. Some interesting comments have been left.

As I mentioned in the "Tweet Blog," I'll be looking at Kiwa Nadas' article about the flyer controversy. I did some research on the differences between "flyer" and "flier." Both are acceptable spellings of the same word. I saw different articles that said both were the preferred spellings. So, some people are mixed on which is best. Since this is just a useless blog, I'm going to stick with my "Y" spelling. Just about every resource on the subject I checked out noted that neither form is used to describe somebody who flies a plane. They are neither a flyer nor a flier. They are a pilot.

I'll also look at this week's issue of The Concordian a little bit. I'll use the Concordian article about an SGA issue as a buffer between talking about The Concordian & the SGA.

* * *

I haven't been to the last two Concordian staff meetings. I also missed the first one of the semester. That's three missed meetings in about a month. I think over the previous four years on the staff, I only missed four meetings. I'm not as important to the staff now, so I'm not too worried about not being there.

So, I'm not really sure what the staff's talking about. I don't know what's going to be in next week's issue of The Concordian. I figure there will be coverage of the new Homecoming King & Queen. Hopefully somebody will be in attendance at the game, as it makes it easier to get the necessary quotes.

I covered the Homecoming King & Queen my 2nd & 3rd years here. The 2nd year, I was at the game and stood right there on the sideline getting pictures of the "royalty" and got interviews right after halftime. The third year, I wasn't at the game & had to track them down on Monday and use pictures from the PR office. The article from my 2nd year was a lot better.

If you haven't checked out The Concordian online, you really should. It may one day replace an actual print edition of The Concordian. In fact, if I had any power at all on the staff, I would definitely push for not doing a weekly paper and mainly focusing on the website, with a bi-weekly print edition & weekly website updates.

One of the cool aspects of the website is the ability to leave comments on stories. It makes the newspaper a lot more interactive. You can also write a letter to the editor, which will be published in the paper, right on the website. So far, I think I'm the only person to do that, and that was last year.

I would personally like to see a lot more student participation on the Opinions section. If there's a problem on campus, write something about it and submit it. If you agree with something, write about it and submit it. If you have something random you'd like to get out there, write about it & submit it. You can e-mail letters to the editor to concordian @ concord.edu

Here's some stuff from this week's newspaper that you should check out if you haven't yet -

Bill Fraley acts as new housing operations manager ... Wendy Holdren covers Bill Fraley's new position with Housing. Bill's gone through a couple different positions within Concord over the last few years. He's been a Resident Director of a dorm in the past, and has worked under the previous Housing Director, so I'm sure he's going to do well in this new job.

GSA attends national equality march ... Samantha Ricketts wrote up a report of Concord's "Gay Straight Alliance" group attending a march in Washington DC.

Sports Corner ... The name may not be interesting, but the stuff Zack Graham writes sure is. Check out this week's edition.

Classes During the Homecoming Parade ... I'm leaving this story mainly for the comment that is left with it. I agree 100 percent.

My Opinions piece aka "Communication Breakdown" ... I think it's an important subject, so check it out if you can.

* * *

Here's our halfway point. Click here to see Kiwa Nadas' article from this week's Concordian. In it, she gives justification for why she and several others walked out of a meeting a couple weeks ago. Basically, she did not appreciate people who had nothing to do with Homecoming (the SGA) telling her - somebody who has put in the long hours associated with Homecoming - what to do.

First of all, I'm going to look at what I agree with about this article.

She writes, "So the fact that people were so worried about the wasteful effects of fliers, yet the fact that we use an obscene amount of water in the cafeteria just to wash trays was ignored, confuses me."

That same meeting that she walked out of, Resolution 09302009 failed. It would have removed trays from the cafeteria, which would have saved X-amount of water and been more "green." One of the reasons people spoke against 100 flyers was because they felt it would be a waste of resources (i.e., paper & ink).

It is a very good point that Kiwa brings up about people not caring about one way to save resources but caring so much about another. Plus, the water issue would reportedly save a lot more money over the long-term. Very, very good point.

But, this leads into an issue that I think has hurt her argument severely - she didn't do a good job of putting thought and planning into her points. She has some good points, but she doesn't articulate them effectively in this piece.

That sentence that I quoted from her article is the only time she mentions the water/tray issue. If you did not attend the SGA meeting (or read my blog), you would have no idea what she's talking about. She didn't explain what the resolution was, or what it was about, or any background to really connect those two points. So, the average reader looks at that point and is confused.

I'm going to go through and point out a few more areas where her argument/facts don't make sense -

"Homecoming is supposed to be a time when people come to together to support our school one last time on our home football field."

This may seem like nitpicking, but the Homecoming Game isn't the last home game of the season. It's really not nitpicking - that's a basic fact that she got wrong, which damages her credibility, which in turn makes it more difficult to prove an argument.

"It gets heated and every year the competition gets worse, but every organization loves it and loves competing for it."

That can't be proven, which also damages credibility. An opinions piece is rooted in facts, and this is an illogical sentence. What is "heated"? Are you sure EVERY organization loves it?

"If you are an habitual reader of the Concordian, or attend SGA meetings regularly, you already know what happened a few weeks ago in a special Senate meeting to go over the rules of homecoming."

To the best of my knowledge, the "walkout" was never reported in The Concordian. The newspaper really doesn't report much on the SGA for some reason. There's no weekly coverage of the meetings in the paper, and I don't think that point was mentioned in any other articles. If it was reported in The Concordian, somebody point it out to me. Until I'm shown otherwise, this was another incorrect fact in this article.

"The real kicker, the reason others and I decided to leave, was because this 'suggestion', this change in something we have been doing for generations, came from members of the Senate and Executive Board who do not nor probably have ever officially participated in homecoming."

First of all, what is "generations"? Earlier in the article, she mentions that this is only her 2nd Homecoming. So, what is her definition of "generations"? There have been 100 flyers for "generations"? This is my 6th year, and I remember having only 50 in the past. Senator Jenn Smith even brought that up in the meeting they walked out of - that she remembered having only 50 as well. She's speaking about a past that she does not have an intimate knowledge about - another credibility killer.

Also, it's not a wise move to make a blanket statement like "who do not nor have probably ever officially participated in homecoming" about a room of probably 50+ people. Off of the top of my head, Bill Lewis was a proponent of the 50 flyers, and he's participated in a Homecoming before. I don't know enough about everybody else, so I'm not going to speculate about what they have or have not done.

"Fliers are not a big deal; they have no impact on the campus as a whole besides to get the candidates names and, more importantly, faces advertised."

There's another blanket statement. They have "no impact." Nothing. Zero impact. These flyers do nothing besides advertise people. So, none of them wind up on the floor as litter? Of all 300 flyers up, not a single one will wind up on the ground? I know at least one did, since I saw it on the ground on Wednesday. When I first saw all the flyers up in the Student Center stairwell, I seriously said to myself, "Wow. That's way too many flyers." I looked at a couple and then just walked past them. Is that an impact?

"If people are so worried about the fliers being recycled, why not make a committee to go around once homecoming is over and pick up all the fliers and put them in the recycling bins. This way the 'concerned' Senate members will know that the paper is properly disposed of."

Couldn't the Eco Club do that? The SGA has enough committees, and nobody goes to them. Sometimes sarcasm doesn't come across well in the newspaper. Trust me, I know from experience.

One last point, I think the sentence "Certain members of the Senate, including myself, walked out." would actually read more correctly as "Myself and my sororoty sisters walked out."


I'll stop there. Instead of saying anything else about this, I'll let some girl named Samantha have the final word. She left this comment on the story's comment section on cunewspaper.com -

"I disagree. Homecoming is not only for groups 'officially participating,' but also for the campus as a whole. All students are invited to attend events, vote, and have fun. Saying that certain members of the campus are not involved is inaccurate; most students are involved in a group of some kind that could participate in the running for homecoming king and queen if they choose. Just because they didn't this year does not mean they won't in coming years or have not previously. And, particularly, this does not mean that their input should be ignored. In addition, faculty and staff are invited to enjoy the events of homecoming as well. I doubt the custodial staff is in favor of flyers, after having to clean them up when they fall or after a group has not taken them down after the week is over. Again, their opinions should not be ignored. Everyone on this campus is involved in homecoming in some way; no opinion should be overlooked.

"And not only does the issue of flyers affect everyone on campus, but it has a global effect as well. The waste of resources is a worldwide problem, and even a small campus like ours should at least attempt to do its part to produce less waste.

"Using paper flyers is generally pointless anyway; most students do not vote by how many flyers they've seen or how good they look. They vote by what organization it is, who the candidates are, who gave them the best candy, or who had the best billboards. In fact, billboards are a successful and original way of advertising. They use wood, which can be reused each year, and they require artistic talent and creativity, as opposed to printing off a few pictures and words from a computer. I'd recommend getting rid of flyers and actually adding more billboards, if more advertising is desired.

"Having a committee for the recycling of the flyers is a start, but until such a committee is assembled, reducing the number of flyers seems like a reasonable conclusion. Also, I agree that the cafeteria should get rid of trays, and the campus as a whole should be more eco-friendly in general. Stopping the use of flyers could be the example the campus needs to begin taking more steps in this direction."

So, there's that. Now, the SGA report...

* * *

The meeting kicked off with Kiwa Nadas giving the SGA Affairs committee report ... she talked about amendments to bylaws she is looking into

Russell Christian gave the Safety committee report ... he was unable to meet this week, but is starting to look over the agenda items that have been given to him ... meetings are Friday at 3 p.m. in the SGA Office

Katlyn Amos gave the Dining committee report next ... she noted that one of her priorities is to get trayless dining in the cafeteria ... is looking into getting clear cups in Subway for water, so you don't have to buy a soda cup (over $1) if you only want water ... wanted to make it easier to get bacon on hamburgers ... looking into more "green" initiatives

I find it odd that she's going to continue to try and get rid of trays in the cafeteria, even after the Senate voted down an Amendment that would do that. It seems like she's got her own agenda & isn't following the will of the Senate. Maybe if she brings up some more statistics and gives some better reasons for why going trayless in the cafeteria would be a good idea, maybe more people would be open to doing it.

Publications committee report was next ... they're working with the Publicity committee ... trying to get some sort of handbook done

ADA committee report was given by Jenn Smith ... noted there were some people on crutches who asked about getting a wheelchair ... there are only two wheelchairs on campus - one in the Alumni Office, for alumni only & one in the athletic department, for injured athletes ... Smith said that if you will pay for a wheelchair rental, Concord will get you one from a place in Princeton ... Smith also noted that Concord's police are trying to crack down on students using fake handicap decals to get better parking spots ... She also said something about students with certain disabilities being able to register for classes a day early ... meetings are at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, in the SGA Office

If you followed the "Tweet Blog," you would remember that Mike Mann noted that using your grandmother's handicap decal wasn't cool. He was talking about Jenn's report. I don't remember much about what she said regarding being able to register for classes early. I'm assuming that if this applies to you, then you already know about it.

Technology committee had no report ... meetings are Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Sarvay Hall lounge

Higher Ed. committee report was given by Ashley Hicks ... she was having trouble finding a meeting time ... created a Facebook group ... noted that her committee will be heading to Charleston in the future to lobby for funding

We're going to need a new chair for the Higher Education committee, as Ashley had her Senator position taken away from her. I Facebook Instant-Messaged her the other day and found out that she's not going to appeal the ruling about her Senatorial position being taken away. So, for the time being, it looks like Ashley Hicks is done with the SGA.

SGA President Jeff Yeager gave the Ethics committee report ... the cmtee will be looking into issues with the "Maxwell Clause" and also issues with the Vice President taking over Justice duties ... committee meets every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the SGA Office

For those who don't know, the Maxwell Clause is something that allows the SGA President to do things during breaks without Senate approval. It can be used for good things, like when Jessica Cook talked with the gazebo architect over the summer before the school year started two years ago. But, it can also be used for bad things, like when Wes Prince appointed Matt Belcher Vice President over the winter break, because he didn't think the Senate would approve it.

Election Reform committee report was given by Bill Lewis ... he has been having attendance issues with his committee ... if nobody starts showing up, he may dissolve the committee ... meetings are Mondays at 2 p.m. in the SGA Office

Gary Thompson gave the Green Sustainability committee report ... he said he had good news regarding making the Admissions office more "green" ... looks likely that they will get rid of the Add/Drop slips, and you will be able to add classes straight from your Advisor's office

Curtis Kearns gave the Tuition & Fees committee report ... said committee was "moving along nicely" ... they are looking at peer institutions right now ... Kearns said he believes tuition will be raised this year ... meetings are Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the SGA Office ... he said that "when the time is right," he'll start asking certain people to attend the meetings

I went to a Tuition & Fees committee meeting two years ago. It was when Travis Prince was chairing the committee and Wes Prince took all the credit because he was running for President. It's a very important committee - they try to make sure tuition raises are kept to a minimum. If that's something that interests you, them make it a priority to attend.

Jeff Yeager gave the Religious Studies commission report ... said the first meeting has been postponed ... "Issues have come up that I would like to address before we meet," he said ... he noted that they will eventually meet, there are just some things he wants to fix

At this point, Jeff introduced a guest speaker - Dr. Stephen Rowe. I'm not sure what he does now, but he used to be in charge of the library ... Rowe was there to talk about the fact that people were upset about the library's hours of operation during the Fall Break 4-day weekend ... there were four people in the library on Thursday & six on Friday, so they decided to close on Saturday & Sunday ... he also noted that the extended hours for the library is not very popular, as there was nobody there last night ... he said if you want to keep that, you need to utilize it ... he closed by saying that there were pigeons in the top floor of the library & they were trying to get rid of them

Attorney General
Bill Lewis noted that four groups have two absences, meaning one more and they lose their voting rights (I didn't get the group names) ... then proceeded to take away the voting rights of 5 organizations and strip Ashley Hicks of her Senator position for getting three absences

Board of Governors rep Curtis Kearns gave his report ... there were issues over when the new members would be sworn in ... long story short, Curtis and the others were finally sworn in ... they are required by law to have 6 meetings, and it looks like they will have 1 this semester & 5 next semester ... the long-awaited "military policy" is coming along nicely, Kearns said

Somebody remind me to suggest the "military policy" to the Concordian Editor-in-Chief. That's something that has been in the works for a long time, was nearly 100% a student-led initiative & is something that the students of Concord should really know about.

President Jeff Yeager gave his report next ... noted that the Concord University Student Affairs committee visitation policy passed & will be on a trial basis next fall ... congratulated Bill Fraley on his new position with Housing ... noted that one person on Concord's campus does have the H1N1 virus, but has been quarantined

Reports are over, time for Old Business:

Amendment 09232009A passed. It called for better storage of SGA minutes

New Business:

Amendment 10142009A passed. It gave $568 to Jeff Yeager & some guy named Rory to attend a National Shakespeare essay competition.

Actually, I'm not sure how much money was passed. Dr. Brichford brought up the English dept. putting up some money, but some in the SGA wanted to pay the entire bill. So, I'm not sure who paid, but overall $568 was given.

* * *

That looks to be everything from the SGA meeting. If I missed anything, or got something wrong, let me know.

As always, here's the disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

9 comments:

  1. The other person girl who is participating in the Shakespeare competition is named Lorien Anderson. Sorry if I might have mumbled her name last week to get "Rori", lol.

    Also, I pretty much agree with all your remarks in this blog Chris. Keep up the good coverage--especially since no one else bothers to.

    -Jeff

    eff

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  2. The only issue that many people had with the resolution to remove all the trays from the cafe is that it was a resolution to remove ALL the trays from the cafe. Many people would have been find with the resolution if it had supported keeping some trys for ADA compliance and for those students who prefer to use the trays, not just getting rid of all of the trays. I really did expect her to return with the resolution amended to support that a portion be kept. I'm positive that it would be approved by the Senate then.

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  3. I feel that it is only fair to point out that participation in Homecoming is completely voluntary and if your group wants to participate, you should clean up after yourself. No committee is needed to clean up for you. That's why in the Homecoming Rules it states that each organization is required to clean up after themselves.

    I'd love to think that all the organizations who put up fliers will recycle them like was suggested at the SGA meeting. Unfortunately, I've already seen 3 different candidates' fliers in the garbage. I remember that part of the complaints about the amount of fliers was that there would be more paper to recycle. What about the amount of garbage produced?

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  4. I guess people did not understand the Resolution involving the trays in the caf, because Katlyn Amos stood up and mentioned that the trays would not be taken out right away and would be offered to those who asked.

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  5. Chris,

    As always, I enjoyed reading your blog, but I have some responses to some of the "anonymous" responses you have.

    First-
    "The only issue that many people had with the resolution to remove all the trays from the cafe is that it was a resolution to remove ALL the trays from the cafe. Many people would have been find with the resolution if it had supported keeping some trys for ADA compliance and for those students who prefer to use the trays, not just getting rid of all of the trays. I really did expect her to return with the resolution amended to support that a portion be kept. I'm positive that it would be approved by the Senate then."

    This is not a true and correct statement. This was a red hearing tossed at SGA because people dislike Aramark and how some of the standards are in the Cafeteria. If students want to push the going green, push the fact that we are wasting plates on multiple trips through the line over four (4) chicken nuggets at a time. I know personally the limitations have been annoying and a waste of my time. Sometimes I only want a select items in the cafe, and if that is all I want... it is all I get. Get the students something they would appreciate, and I'm sure the removal of trays or the addition of "please only use the trays if you need them signs" in the cafe would pass in the SGA. These leads me to point two...

    Second-
    "I guess people did not understand the Resolution involving the trays in the caf, because Katlyn Amos stood up and mentioned that the trays would not be taken out right away and would be offered to those who asked."

    Nobody wants to ask for trays. It may be more proper to put one stack of trays up with a sign saying "please do not use to conserve water and be eco friendly." The SGA is a representation of the student body and not the student body. It would be best to see how the students respond to the suggestion rather than just make a decision for them.

    Third-
    "I feel that it is only fair to point out that participation in Homecoming is completely voluntary and if your group wants to participate, you should clean up after yourself. No committee is needed to clean up for you. That's why in the Homecoming Rules it states that each organization is required to clean up after themselves.

    I'd love to think that all the organizations who put up fliers will recycle them like was suggested at the SGA meeting. Unfortunately, I've already seen 3 different candidates' fliers in the garbage. I remember that part of the complaints about the amount of fliers was that there would be more paper to recycle. What about the amount of garbage produced?"

    I hate to put out something I know will not be appreciated, but the fact is the students who participate do a lot and do not want the extra hassle of even taking down the flyers. People generally will try to get a way with as little work as possible. Therefore, I think the only way to limit the amount of trash or make them get recycled is to limit the amount of flyers as was done. In all seriousness, the results would probably ended up the same because it is a popularity contest. You have to have your most popular candidates up to win. Sometimes you have a better set of cards and sometimes you don't. Try to pick the organization you run with wisely, and try to pick your most popular candidates to win. Limiting the amount of flyers is the only proper suggestions to help the environment in this case. You can't force people to recycle, but you can keep them from putting up flyers.

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  6. Jeff,

    I don't know how I got "Rory" out of that lol

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  7. I think the main reason that the trayless resolution did not pass is because Jenn Smith Called the question at an inapproriate time and the chair allowed it. This stifled discussion and the ability for the Senate to amend the resolution into something they wanted. Curtis Kearns suggested an amendment shortly before the question was called and no one had time to act on it. As I'm sure you know. The appropriate use of calling the question is when the discussion is going in circles, this was not the case in this scenario. I think that The Dining Chair's resolution was given short shrift by the Senate and her only recourse is to take that into accound and present something more palatable. It is truly a shame that some iteration of that resolution did not pass. It could have translated into a financial benefit to students or an increase in quality or options. In other words, the Senate failed to act in the best interests of the student body. Trays would have been denied to no one, and money would have been saved.

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  8. To respond to "Anonymous,"

    Call 2 Question is definitely misused a lot. There are a lot of instances where the person doing it purposely trys to stifle discussion, and then there are some times when the person using it really doesn't understand what it's supposed to do.

    Based on the comments here, it seems as though the trayless resolution wasn't really understood that well. If better statistics and some more thorough information is presented, it may pass in the future.

    A key point brought up was where the money saved by going trayless would end up. That's something the Dining committee should have figured out before this thing ever has a chance of passing.

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  9. I would like to reiterate the fact that we are a representation of the "Student Body" and not the "Student Body." The trayless cafeteria may or may not save the students money, but the option should be polled by the student body and not just a decision by the SGA. I say if you feel that strongly about it you should poll the students like we did in the past for the visitation hours issue. We all like facts.

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