Thursday, April 29, 2010

04-28-10 SGA meeting

I did not attend the final Student Government Association meeting of the semester. I just woke up and didn't feel like going. I don't know. Kelly & I went shoe shopping instead. It was fun. I got a new pair of Converse, since my old pair was worn out.

Since I didn't attend the meeting, somebody let me know if anything interesting happened. The last meeting is when awards are handed out and the new officers are sworn in.

Apparently, former SGA Secretary Norma Acord showed up to the meeting, as I saw this recent status on Facebook - "Norma Jean Acord came to the SGA meeting...just for the cake". That made me giggle. If you don't know why that's funny, click here & then click here to read a couple blogs from a year ago.

* * *

I'll try to have a couple more blogs out sometime soon about "Concord stuff." I haven't had as much free time (i.e. "blogging time") as I would have liked lately, so I haven't had a chance to get my thoughts down.

As always, here's my 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.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is a zero percent tuition increase a good thing?

I can't really apologize for a lack of posts, since I've actually been blogging quite a bit the last couple weeks. I guess I could apologize for a lack of SGA recap blogs. I haven't really stuck to my usual format for the last several weeks. Well, I'm really not going to do that this time either.

I'm going to look at Concord University's Board of Governors recent decision to have a zero percent tuition increase and what ramifications that could possibly have.

* * *

Under the urging of Gov. Joe Manchin, Concord University's Board of Governors voted to approve a zero percent tuition increase for next academic year, along with a 2.99 percent room & board increase. Click here to read The Concordian's coverage.

There are two ways to look at this - the first is to see "zero percent increase" and say "Cool, I don't have to pay any more money this summer." The second way to look at it is to think to yourself, "How is that going to work?"

For the 2010-2011 year, the tuition is going to be the same as the 2009-2010 year. However, "things" (bills, living expenses, supplies, etc) are not going to stay at last year's levels. How is Concord going to manage that?

There could be budget cuts. If there's a (non-teaching) department that can function with 5 people instead of 6, maybe they'll look into that. Maybe they'll cut programs. Maybe they really don't need that Spanish major. Maybe they don't need a student newspaper.

Maybe Concord will lower their admission standards and allow more students in, which would give them more people to charge tuition towards. But, doing that would create another "housing crisis" that we've had the last few years.

The biggest problem here is that Concord will potentially have a larger increase next year, when it comes time to vote on tuition.

In the Concordian article I linked earlier, it is mentioned that 1981 was the last year that Concord had a zero percent tuition increase. When I was Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian (07-08), I printed a list of all the tuition increases that I could find. I believe the earliest year I could find was 1977 or 1978 and it went all the way to 2007. I had the story about the possible tuition increase and then I had a box off to the side with all the numbers in it. And, yes, 1981 had a zero percent increase. But, what surprised me was that 1982's increase was something like 20 percent.

I don't think Concord will vote for a 20 percent increase next year, but it wouldn't surprise me to see something in the neighborhood of 10 percent.

This story is still fresh. It needs time to develop. We'll know more about what could possibly happen next year in the coming months.

* * *

There's a couple thoughts I had off the top of my head. I'll try have another post sometime on Monday about some SGA-related happenings. I have some thoughts on Spring Fling, the recent "Justice Fiasco," and Concord's dining area recently going trayless for Earth Day festivities.

If you have any thoughts about the zero-percent tuition increase or would like to add anything, feel free to do in the comments section. As John Walsh says, you can remain anonymous.

As always, here's my 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.

Friday, April 23, 2010

VPAD update; John David Smith selected as new Vice President & Academic Dean

The following e-mail is from Concord's President, Dr. Gregory Aloia. In it, he announces that Dr. John David Smith is the new Vice President and Academic Dean. The VPAD position will essentially make JDS the "number 2" man around campus. He will serve directly under President Aloia and be in charge of several divisions. Smith has been serving in the capacity in an interim basis for a while now.

Click here to see links to meetings the candidates had with Concord's faculty members. Aloia's e-mail is below.

* * *

The Search Committee for a Vice President and Academic Dean provided me with recommendations regarding the candidates last Friday. The Committee recommended that I consider all four finalists as qualified for the position. I want to commend and thank the Committee for their excellent work throughout the entire search process. I also want to thank the University community for its involvement in the search process and for meeting with the candidates.

Since receiving the Committee’s recommendations, I thoroughly considered each candidate on the information I gleaned from my interviews with them, the comments received from faculty, staff, and students, the committee recommendations, as well as numerous telephone conversations regarding the candidates. I was very pleased with the overall quality of the applicant pool.

After thoughtful deliberation, I am very pleased to announce that Dr. John David Smith has been selected to serve as Vice President and Academic Dean. He will officially assume his duties on Monday, May 3, 2010. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Smith.

President
Concord University
Marsh Hall 200
PO BOX 1000
Athens, WV 24712
304-384-5224
president @ concord.edu

Friday, April 16, 2010

Matthew Belcher wins SGA Presidency [reprinted from The Concordian]

The following is from the April 14, issue of The Concordian, Concord's student newspaper. Click here to see the story on The Concordian's website, along with a comment that I left. Click here for more SGA election coverage.

* * *

Wendy Holdren
Editor-in-Chief, The Concordian

Matthew Belcher is the new Student Government Association President elect. The winners were announced at last Wednesday’s SGA meeting.

Belcher has served as a Senator during his sophomore year, housing chair, and multiple committees. Last year he was elected Business Manager under the Yeager Administration.

How does it feel to be the new SGA President?

Oh, man. I feel that it’s rewarding and exciting to be working for the students. It shows that they’re on the same page as me. They agree with what I’m trying to do.

Were you expecting to win the presidency?

I knew it was going to be a tight race. There were only three of us running, but I didn’t know how the votes were going to fall. I was hopeful, but realistic that the race was going to be tight.

Did you ever see yourself becoming president?

That was actually my goal. Starting out, I knew that becoming president would be something I wanted. I got executive experience under the Prince administration, and then I was elected Business Manager. After I got Business Manager, I knew I wanted to run for President.

What are some of your biggest goals as president?

To try and find a way for students to better communicate with SGA, reallocate time and dollars to improve student life, keep a check on the administrative side of things, follow policies closely. But most of all, I want to make sure the student voice hasn’t been left out. Although we’re just here for four years, students can have an impact. Time will change, but each policy should reflect student input.

Was there anything in particular that you didn’t like, or that you would change about the Yeager administration?

No, not really. He ran a really cohesive administration. I might have handled opinion pieces in the Concordian differently. You shouldn’t try to put people in a negative light. For next year, I hope to have a really close working relationship with the Concordian. I would like to have a staff writer present an objective view of the SGA, and possibly interview executives.

What do you foresee being your biggest obstacle as president?

The university has to answer to admissions, parents, and students. Parents pay tuition. That has caused many hurdles with the visitation policy. Our funding is based on student enrollment, so we also want to keep admissions numbers high. So trying to satisfy the parent and student aspect will be difficult, but I’m more than happy to accept that challenge.

How do you feel about the other members who have been elected?

I feel they all have something new to bring to the table. My whole ticket was not elected, but we’ve already started communication with the other executives. I feel we can all maintain a professional working relationship.

Will you be trying anything drastically new?

Yes. I’m going to be asking that a lot of money be spent on campus objectives such as the “welcome back weekend” which will cost between $35 - $45,000. We’re talking to different departments that may be willing to put up some budgets. It would probably be the weekend after check-in. It’s something a lot of universities do. WVU does it every year. Their concerts get bigger every year, so I wanted to get our foot in the door. I can’t wait to see what happens.

If you could accomplish one thing above all others, what would it be?

If I could bring a type of convenience store to campus. I’m not sure if it can be done in a year’s time. Hopefully we’ll get somewhere with that. You don’t know where or even if an office will be moved. If we can free up some space, then that could be a possibility.

Belcher will be sworn in on April 28. After he is sworn in, he plans on creating an ad hoc committee to review policy changes. He will also begin taking applications for the chair of that ad hoc committee.

"We just want to make sure the student voice will be heard."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Memories from the campaign trail...

The 2010-2011 Student Government Association elections are over. Smoke has cleared, dust has settled, etc... etc...

As we all know by now, I covered the SGA elections very heavily on my blog. Before that, I used to cover the SGA elections in the pages of Concord's newspaper, The Concordian. Being a student for quite a while, I have covered more than my fair share of SGA elections. For several reasons, there is one election campaign that stands out for me - Rocky Seay's 2006 Presidential campaign.

Some of my favorite times in college occured in the spring semester of 2006. That was just a fun time for me. Personally, I was having a lot of fun. "Professionally," my stock was rising within the ranks of The Concordian. It was just a fun time for me to be a college student, and the SGA elections that year were one of the big reasons why.

Just as an interesting bit of trivia, the spring of 2006 was when I initially began blogging about Concord-related matters.

Just for fun, this is my take on what happened back then. Keep in mind, I am going 100 percent from my memory and that these events occured about four years ago.

Cast of Characters, circa 2006:

Chris Slater - Sophomore at Concord University; fourth semester on staff of Concordian; third semester as News Editor

Rocky Seay - Board of Governors representative; unsuccessfully ran for SGA President the year before, losing to Jared Tice; running for SGA President against Ben Dellenger

Brandon Brewster - SGA Senate member; running for Attorney General

Cody Brewster - Member of SGA Judicial Branch; Brandon's brother

Danielle Richmond - SGA Senate member; running for Business Manager against Bryan Henderson

Bryan Henderson - SGA Ombudsman; running for Business Manager against Danielle Richmond

Ben Dellinger - SGA Vice President; running for President against Rocky Seay

Jade Perez - SGA Business Manager

Sean Noland - SGA Attorney General

Jared Tice - SGA President

Jesse Call - Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian

* * *

Before we get into all of that, it's time for a little backstory. The year before, spring 05, Rocky Seay ran for President against Jared Tice. I was a 2nd semester student at Concord. It was my first semester as News Editor of The Concordian. I had recently become "noticed" for the first time due to an editorial I wrote in the paper that was very criticial of Jade Perez.

I wasn't as knowledgeable about the SGA then as I was now. I went to the Presidential debate between Jared Tice and Rocky Seay not knowing a lot about the SGA. I had only one real concern and I asked a question about it during the debate. Both Rocky and Jared commented that it was a great question. I liked Rocky's answer better, so I voted for him. The day after the debate, Rocky and I were formally introduced. He thanked me for asking that question. I told him I voted for him. He thanked me for that as well.

Jared Tice wound up winning that election. Rocky applied to be Ombudsman in Jared's Executive Branch, but Jared selected Bryan Henderson.

* * *

"Secret" Campaign

It's the spring of 2006. I'm standing in line at Subway, in Concord's Student Center, late one night. I hear a voice behind me - "Chris Slater?" I turn around. It's Rocky Seay. I know who he is, but he still introduces himself to me. He asks if he can talk to me for a second. I get out of line and stand off to the side with him "I never really got a chance to thank you for what you wrote about me in the paper last year. I really appreciated that. I'm running for President again this year and I'd like to have your help with my campaign." [note: In the editorial I wrote about Jade Perez, I had a couple lines where I complimented Rocky]

I didn't really know what he meant by that, but I told him I would think about it. He told me to meet him in Brandon Brewster's dorm room the next day. It turns out Brandon lived about 5 doors down from me. I walked down the hall and knocked. Brandon opened the door. In the room were Brandon, Cody Brewster, and Rocky.

It was a very informal meeting. Rocky explained to me his idea for a "ticket," people running unofficially together. We talked about my editorial from the year before that was criticial of Jade Perez. Brandon, particularly, was a big fan of that. We talked about her, we talked about Jared Tice. Basically, we just "shot the shit" about the SGA. It was during this meeting that I first learned that Ben Dellinger was running for President.

Rocky didn't have a clear-cut idea of how I would fit into his campaign. I explained to him that due to my ties with The Concordian, there wasn't a lot that I could ethically do. He understood that. I think him wanting me was just him trying to gather as many minds as he could. He didn't know what he wanted to do with me, but he wanted me there.

At the very least, we agreed that I would take some campaign pictures for him.

Campaigning Begins; Birth of a Ticket

Rocky Seay had the great idea to run a "ticket." He did this to get a wide spectrum of votes. He ran with Danielle Richmond, running against Bryan Henderson for Business Manager; and Brandon Brewster, running unopposed for Attorney General. They were running against the hastily-formed ticket of Ben Dellinger and Bryan Henderson.

Campaigning began, and what a wild ride it was. Rocky's campaign slogan was "Rocky the Vote," a take off of MTV's successful campaign to encourage youth voters. Ben's was "The Underdog."

The first memory of campaigning was probably one of the funniest memories I have from that time period. Myself and Kelly were walking outside when Rocky spots us. He comes over to me and places a sticker bearing his camaign slogan on my chest. He then takes his hand and smooths it out. He places one on Kelly's chest and starts to reach his hand out, then stops, and gets red in the face. He looks at me and says, "I'll let you handle that."

Posters were up everywhere. One of the funniest showed Bryan and Ben putting a "Post-It" note on Rick Dillon, with the caption "Sticking it to The Man." Rocky had a funny poster spoofing Star Wars. To the best of my knowledge, there was only one poster that wasn't approved - it was one of Rocky's with the slogan "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," a play on Ben's slogan.

Campaign in full swing; It's starting to get dirty


One afternoon I was sitting around my room. I got a phone call from Rocky Seay. He was laughing and told me that I wouldn't believe what he had to tell me. He said he couldn't tell me and told me to meet him in the Administration building and to bring a camera. I grabbed a camera and walked over there. I'll admit, what I saw was pretty hilarious. In fact, take a look for yourself -


Ben Dellinger is The Unerdog. A prominently-displayed campaign flyer had a very glaring spelling error. I snapped that picture and before long Rocky had it all over Facebook.

One night, around 3:30 a.m. I receive a phone call from Rocky Seay. I'm wide awake, which prompts Rocky to ask, "Do you ever sleep?" Answer - no. He wants to know if I can come take some pictures of them writing slogans in sidewalk chalk. The only other thing I could be doing is sleeping, so I grab my camera and head out there.

It was a fun time. It was Rocky, Brandon, Danielle, and a couple other people. They made some pretty cool designs. They had me take a picture one one of Ben & Bryan's sidewalk "chalkings" that they think may have violated the election rules. I don't think anything ever came out of it - nobody could prove who wrote it. I don't even remember what it said.

A surreal moment occured when a drunk girl wandered over and started talking to us. She then proceeded to go behind a bush and urinate. While still talking to us. After a few minutes, she finally went back to her dorm.

The chalk-writing continued until about 7 a.m. At that point, they made the decision to just stay up all day. Danielle had a class coming up soon, and Rocky had campaigning to do. Plus, they all had to speak with the football team that afternoon.

Around 3 p.m. I get a knock on my door. It's Rocky and Brandon. "We're going to go talk to the football team. Can you take some pictures for us?" They meet up with Danielle outside. Since Brandon is unopposed, he's not talking. I have to make a quick stop, so I'm a few steps behind them. They're already to the football field and I'm walking through the parking lot. For some reason, I turn around. I see a car directly in front of me about 30 feet away. Jade Perez is staring at me. It's obvious that she can tell I'm there with Rocky, Brandon, and Danielle. We make eye contact. She drives away.

Rocky and Danielle take the field. I stand near and begin taking pictures. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice Bryan Henderson and Ben Dellinger have made their way to the football field. I wonder who tipped them off?






Bryan and Ben get up from the sidelines and work their way over to the group. After Rocky finishes talking about how he'll support athletes if he's elected President, he asks if there are any questions. I don't remember the exact quote, but Bryan raises his hand and says, "Didn't you once vote to [do something that wouldn't support athletics]?" The look on Rocky's face was priceless. The football team broke out into laughter. Rocky opened his mouth to talk, but all that would come out was, "Well, ugh, ugh, umm..." The football coach quickly called an end to the discussion.

They quickly leave. As I'm leaving, Bryan calls out to me. I talk to him for a minute. He asks if I'd be willing to take some pictures for him and Ben. I agree to do it. He gets my phone number, but he never calls me about getting any pictures.

A few nights later, I'm in my dorm room. The time is about 5 a.m. My phone rings. I pick up and hear Rocky say, "Do you ever sleep?" Again, no I don't. "You're never gonna believe what happened! Somebody tried to set Brandon's door on fire! Are you there? Go talk to him!"

I walk down the hall. The first thing I notice is that there's shaving cream everywhere. The second thing I notice is a huge burn mark on Brandon's door.


Brandon's room didn't have a regular, plastic room marker on it, so there was just a piece of paper with the room number taped to his door. That's what was set on fire. I knocked on the door and he came out and I interviewed him for a newpaper story right there in the hallway at 5 a.m.

He was up playing video games with some of his friends, when he heard somebody outside his door. He opened the door and whoever was defacing it began running down the hallway. Brandon took off after them, but they were already out of sight by the time he got to the stairs.

The next day, I interviewed Rocky and Danielle. I got Ben's phone number from Mandy Sole, former Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian, and called him for an interview. He denied knowing anything about it. Rocky publicly said that he didn't think Ben had anything to do with it. Even privately, he said he didn't think Ben had anything to do with it. He didn't rule out Bryan Henderson or Jared Tice, though.

Debate; A private affair

The debate for the elections was an odd event. It was held in the State Room and didn't have a lot of students present. It was one of those atmospheres where the only people there knew who they were voting for. All the "Rocky supporters" sat on the left side of the room and the "Ben supporters" were on the right.

There were only three contested elections - President, Business Manager, and Board of Governors representative. The BOG race was between Jesse Call and John Dunn. Everybody know Jesse was going to win that one. Dunn had to work and didn't even try to get out of it to attend the debate. Jesse sat with Ben and Bryan, for anybody curious.

I came up a couple times during the debate. Rocky was accused of having me write something in the paper to make him look good, and quotes that were indirectly attributed to Danielle in one of my articles were used against her.

Aftermath

Rocky Seay was elected President. Danielle Richmond was elected Business Manager. Brandon Brewster became Attorney General. All seemed well.

I caught up with them shortly after the elections were over. I hung out in Brandon's room with him, Cody, and Rocky. We watched a Cheech & Chong movie and just had a good time.

There were some signs that things weren't going well. Due to an incident that occured during that semester's "Greek Week," Rocky was sentenced to several hours of community service. People were trying to create issues over whether or not he completed all of his required hours.

Brandon was being investigated by present Attorney General, Sean Noland, for hacking a fellow SGA members e-mail account.

The last fun moment that we all had as a group was Rocky's birthday, held that summer. We went out, had a fun night, and enjoyed the collective victory.

It wasn't a victory for long. Perhaps realizing that he would be found guilty, Brandon resigned as Attorney General and took the semester off from school. Rocky chaired the first SGA meeting of the fall semester before being sent to the university's court system for alleged academic dishonesty. He was soon found guilty of self plagariasm; re-using a paper he had previously submitted for a class the second time he took said class. He resigned as President and was suspended from Concord for a period of time.

* * *

There's that tale. That's really the short version, as I could go on about several more aspects. I didn't touch on any of the "drama" surrounding the Concordian staff at the time, I could have gone into a lot more detail with the issues that Jade Perez and I had. I could have talked a lot more about Bryan Henderson. Jared Tice was barely mentioned; I could write 50 blogs just about my experiences with him. This is just the short version, completely off the top of my head, of a pretty cool time period that I was a part of.

If you have any questions about anything, or if you were there and want to add anything, feel free to do so.

Friday, April 9, 2010

VPAD update; interviews complete

At the end of February, I blogged about Concord's search for a permanent Vice President and Academic Dean. Click here to read that. The position is presently being filled by John David Smith on an interim basis.

All of the four candidates - John David Smith, Erik Lee, Steven Stahl, & LeVon Neal - have made trips to campus and met with different constituency groups. The candidates' meetings with Concord's faculty were recorded and available as a .wmv file. The links are below, with the date they spoke in parentheses. You need Windows Media Player to play the videos.

LeVon Neal (03-22-10)

John David Smith (03-24-10)

Erik Lee (03-29-10)

Steven Stahl (04-06-10)

I'm not 100 percent sure when the new Vice President and Academic Dean will be announced, but I assume it will be relatively soon. If anybody has more information on that, let me know.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

SGA Election results revealed; resignations follow

Matthew Belcher was announced as the 2010-2011 Student Government Association President at the April 7, SGA meeting. Belcher defeated Robert Elsaid and Korey Hummer. In the other contested elections, Dustin Blankenship was elected as Vice President and Chris Matheny was elected Attorney General.

A full list is below -

President
Matthew Belcher

Vice President
Dustin Blankenship

Attorney General
Chris Matheny

Public Defender
Grace Hurney

Business Manager
Adam Pauley

Board of Governors representative
Josh Lawson

Senators
Ashley Green, Cassidi Hall, Megan McCoy, Travis McReynolds, Kiwa Nadas, Karina Rahall, Erica Romero [there may be more Senators, I'm not 100 percent sure]

Just in case you missed them, click here to read all the interviews I conducted with the candidates.

* * *

I spoke with current SGA President Jeff Yeager shortly after the SGA meeting concluded. He informed me that Attorney General Bill Lewis and Public Defender Josh Lawson resigned from their positions in protest of the election results.

Bill left the following two Facebook status updates shortly after the meeting concluded. I'm not sure if they're related, but they were sent at roughly the same time:

Bill Lewis breaking point...go!

Bill Lewis resigns...

On March 23, Bill wrote a Facebook note giving his picks for the election. Here is what he wrote about the Presidential election:

Robert Elsaid deserves to be your SGA President. He and Josh Lawson will be able to work in tandem like no others, building a strong bridge between the University and Student Administrations and forging, furthering, and cementing strong and successful partnerships between the SGA, the Administration, the staff, and the faculty. He brings an exuberant amount of experience and knowledge from a diverse background. He deserves to be your SGA President, he will serve you well, and he has my full support in all his endeavors.


As of right now, there's no information on Josh Lawson's Facebook page that would suggest why he resigned. He was the only candidate I didn't interview last week. But, when speaking with Korey Hummer about tickets, he noted that he was not running as a ticket, but he and a few people - including Lawson - were supporting each other.

Here's what Hummer and myself said in the interview:

CS: Are you running with a ticket?

KH: We're not considering ourselves a ticket, but we are supporting each other. ...

CS: That's you and [Chris] Matheny, right?


KH: Also, along with [Josh] Lawson and Dustin Blankenship, we also support each other.


While I haven't heard anything official from either Bill or Josh as to why they resigned, SGA President Jeff Yeager told me that they resigned to protest the election results. Bill was supporting Rob Elsaid and Korey Hummer said Josh was supporting him. Neither one of those two men became President.

We can use this blog as an open forum - if anybody involved would like to speak publicly about the resignations, they can do so here. Leave a comment, or get together with me for an interview. I'd like to seperate the fact from the gossip. Or, e-mail somebody at The Concordian to get your thoughts in the student newspaper - concordian @ concord.edu.

As of right now, Jeff Yeager informed me that his plan was to ask Chris Matheny and Grace Hurney to serve as interim Attorney General and Public Defender, respectively. I don't know if he's had a chance to speak with them yet.

I'll keep following this. I'm sure there will be a lot more to mention in the coming days.

* * *

In other SGA news:

The long-awaited SGA Code of Ethics will be voted on next week. Click here to see a story about it in The Concordian. Some minor wording issues were changed at this week's meeting, but it still reads largely the same.

This deserves much more than a tiny blurb, but that's all it's getting for now. It turns out that the SGA is not legally allowed to give state money to charity, so it appears as though donating money to Haiti is now off the table. Vice President Akeya Carter-Bozman gave her amended Spring Fling plans at this week's SGA meeting. I believe there will be story about this in next week's issue of The Concordian, so I'll link it then.

Speaking of Akeya, she added some fuel to the fire that was brewing in the pages of The Concordian. Following in the footsteps of Ashley Hicks, Jeff Yeager, and Curtis Kearns, she sent a letter to the paper that was very critical of several areas of the SGA. She is also mostly criticial of some recent claims made by Curtis Kearns. Click here to see that.

* * *

Here's my 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.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2010 SGA election thoughts

Voting for the 2010-2011 Student Government Association elections are over at Concord. The results will be announced at the April 7, SGA meeting.

I've been covering the SGA elections in my blog quite a bit over the last week or so. I've had a few people ask me why. About a week ago, I was talking to one of my friends who follows me on Twitter. He was asking what these interviews were that I kept tweeting about. I told him they were for the SGA elections. His response - "I don't get that. I mean, you don't even write for the paper anymore, how did you get roped into doing that?" I explained that it was just for my blog. He responded - "So, this is just some sort of journalism side project you're doing, or something like that?"

I guess that's the best way to put it - a journalism side project. A couple people I interviewed started off by apologizing for taking up my time and inconveniencing me. I had to explain to them that I actually enjoy doing stuff like this.

As dumb as it sounds, I feel as though it's almost an obligation for me to disseminate this information. As a journalist, I have the means and ability to get news out there, so I do it. That's why I've started blogging so much more about the SGA over the last couple years. This important student organization doesn't get enough press in the campus newspaper, so I do my part to spread the word, so to speak.

It's what I used to do in The Concordian, only I now do it in this blog. Well, I've added a lot more commentary and opinion. It's the same principle as what I used to do. Just in an easier-to-read, online forum. Plus, my blog has a much-easier-on-the-eyes blue layout, as opposed to that cringe-worthy maroon of The Concordian. I seriously hate that color.

Even though I give a lot of commentary, and some say that my opinion is interesting, I didn't offer any election picks. That was a very conscious decision for me. I had a few people (election candidates, mostly) ask me if I was going to post my "picks." 

This was a situation where I didn't want to sway people with my opinions. I wanted to do what any good "news man" can do - I gave you the facts and let you make up your own mind. I asked everybody pretty much the same questions and let you know how they reacted to them. Some handled the questions well. Some were a little nervous. A couple asked me to not print parts of their interview after the fact, a request I honored.

* * *

With the election process over, I figured now would be an okay time to throw out a little commentary on a couple of the "big issues" going on in the 2010-2011 elections.

The first big issue is the perceived "divide" between certain members of the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. There are two "TKEs" running for President - Matt Belcher and Korey Hummer. Chris Matheny, also a TKE, is running for Attorney General. Matheny is publicly supporting Hummer for President.

The big name in all of this discussion is Curtis Kearns. He was originally running for President before announcing his retirement from the SGA. The big rumor going around at the time was that he dropped out of the race in an effort to save face from a perceived election-related threat against him and that he was going to use Hummer as his "hand-picked" Presidential candidate.

I thought it was a bit of a stretch, but I asked Korey about it in his interview. He gave me what felt like an honest answer - Curtis is his friend and he'll go to him for advice, but he's not running his campaign. I informally asked a few other people about this subject and they all gave me essentially the same answer - Curtis Kearns isn't running Hummer's campaign, but he wants to do anything in his power to make sure Matt Belcher isn't elected SGA President.

From looking at the situation, it doesn't look so much like a "TKE Divide." It doesn't seem like it's very split down the middle - it seems like most of the TKEs are supporting Hummer. It looks like Belcher is the proverbial "odd man out" in this sense.

I could be wrong. It's happened before. Those guys know a lot more about that situation than I do.

* * *

Another issue that I noticed popping up with the candidates is that none of them presented them being elected as something that necessarily needed to happen. I asked all the candidates for contested positions what they would do if they weren't elected. In a nutshell, they all pretty much said, "I'll continue working on my goals I set out. I'll also try to offer ideas to whoever is elected."

It's not a big deal if Ashley Green doesn't become Vice President. She'll keep plugging along and she'll try to work with Dustin Blankenship. Similarly, it's not a big deal if Dustin Blankenship doesn't become Vice President. He'll keep plugging along and he'll try to work with Ashley Green.

Nobody said, "These goals won't be accomplished if I'm not elected." Nobody gave their campaign that sense of urgency. I think that's one reason this election season lacked a lot of the "drama" of past years. I just get the impression that it doesn't matter who wins, because everybody will keep working on their campaign initiatives and also try to help whoever does win.

One of the reasons I think people were asking me to post my picks is because all the contested elections were seemingly so close. There's no clear-cut winner in any of the races. At this point in time, anybody can win. Well, the votes have been counted, so somebody has already won. But, most people will actually be surprised when the results are announced.

I think it really would have helped somebody to put over the urgency of electing them, to get over the fact that they need the position of President/VP/Attorney General to accomplish their goals.

* * *

The last issue I'd like to address is tickets - a group of different candidates unofficially running together. The way they're presently organized, I don't understand tickets and don't think they serve a purpose.

Really, the only ticket that ever really worked was the original ticket - the 2006 group of Rocky Seay, Brandon Brewster, and Danielle Richmond. That ticket worked for two reasons - 1) it was a small ticket, only three people. 2) They unofficially ran against another ticket.

The biggest problems with tickets is that they've just turned out to be a group of people running to get their names together. The original 2006 ticket actually stood for something. And, I think it says something that the two contested positions (Seay & Richmond) won. Of course, that whole thing came crumbling down over the summer of 06. I may blog more about that soon...

Last year's "Fix It Ticket" is a perfect example of assembling a ticket for the wrong reasons. First of all, the ticket had something like 6 members. And only 2 or 3 of those people were running contested positions. To top it off, there were only 3 other people in the entire election. They weren't running as a ticket. 

It was 6 people, 4 of whom didn't need to be there, running as a collective unit. Another part of the problem was that it was so painfully obvious that some of these people didn't like each other and were only "ticketing" for political reasons.

This year's "New Deal Ticket" seems to be together for the same reasons. I just get the feeling Matt Belcher looked around and said, "Hey, can I put your name on this ticket?"

* * *

I don't know. That's just a purging of some SGA thoughts I've had in my head over the last week. If you agree, that's cool. If you don't, that's cool. You can leave a comment and tell me if you think I'm way off base or whatever. 

Speaking of comments, I'm kind of surprised that more people didn't use the comments sections of the interview blogs to question a candidate or offer a rebuttal. The only interview that really had any sort of debate on it was Kelsey Queen's. She had a couple anonymous people speaking against her, a couple anonymous people for her, and the current Attorney General, Bill Lewis, speaking in support of her.

Anyway, here's my 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. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Interviews

I've finished with interviews for Concord's Student Government Association elections. I interviewed every candidate, with the exception of Josh Lawson (Board of Governors) and the Senator candidates.

To help sort through all of the interviews, if you haven't checked them all out, below you will find links to each Q&A that I conducted with the candidates, organized by position. Click on the person's name and you will be taken to their interview.

* * *

President

Matt Belcher

Rob Elsaid

Korey Hummer


Vice President

Dustin Blankenship

Ashley Green

Spencer Stevens


Attorney General

Stephen Pavey

Chris Matheny

Kelsey Queen


Business Manager

Adam Pauley


Public Defender

Grace Hurney

* * *

Voting is underway. If you are a Concord student with a valid student identification card, you can vote. Voting concludes Friday, April 2. The winners will be announced at the SGA meeting held on Wednesday, April 7.