Friday, April 26, 2013

SGA meeting notes [04-23-13]

As I was sitting in the meeting room of the Student Government Association waiting for the meeting to start, I noticed that there weren't a lot of people there. Then I realized that it was "Greek Week," which is where the fraternities and sororities play silly games against each other for bragging rights to say that they won that year's edition of silly games.

One year in the past, I know the SGA did not achieve quorum, the minimum number of attendees required to have a meeting, during Greek Week. It's an issue every year, and on at least one occasion the meeting was canceled during the events. So, that was on my mind as I was sitting there.

A girl standing in the row in front of me started talking to a couple other girls around her. The girl talking was wearing a Delta Zeta shirt and she was talking to another DZ member and a girl from Alpha Sigma Tau. She had this genius idea - leave the meeting so they can't have quorum. Or, as she put it: "They cain't have a meet-un if they don't have core-um."

I'm not sure what bothered me more, that she had that idea or that I had to listen to her repeat that sentence 5 times.

They left. And a few other people left. And, honestly, the SGA was probably better off without them. If that's how dedicated they are, then I hope they never show back up. They wound up having enough people present for the meeting to start.

Anyway... click here to see a picture from the meeting. Richard Babich wasn't there, so I focused on the other side of the executive board and got a shot of President Josh Hanna and Vice President (and President-Elect) Chelsey Rowe conversing.

Quick note while the subject of core-um is still fresh in our heads, former Faculty Senate student representative Ashley Green noticed this and pointed it out to me - the secretary doesn't call the names of the executive board during the roll call anymore.

The meeting kicked off with Prime Justice Michael Cork revealing to the select few in attendance that it was determined that the Vice President-elect and a Senator were unable to hold the positions they were elected to. It was related to the constitutional questions posed last week about the 2.5 GPA and the clarification of being in "good standing."

So, it turns out that Greg Stamp and one of the Senators (I never bothered to learn who they were) had one or both of those issues. More on that later.

Board of Governors student representative Adam Pauley noted that Thursday's meeting of the BOG had been canceled and would be rescheduled.

The Ombudsman received a complaint about the Internet being down in the North Tower dorm. He said that the IT people had been informed and said that these issues take time. He also announced a new email address to bring forth issues to him - ombudsman[at]concord.edu

This is nothing against whoever the current Ombudsman is, but this used to be a really important position. I don't know what the pay scale is anymore, but I feel like he's getting paid a lot of money to do nothing. And that's because he really doesn't have anything to do. His position is a student-oriented position and the students aren't coming to him.

Maybe the SGA could look into giving the Ombudsman additional duties or cutting the pay or something. It seems like a boring position to have now. He just stands up and say either "no report," or "somebody finally asked me to look into something and I did." The evolving role of the Ombudsman is something for next year's SGA to examine.

Derek Cline, business manager, brought forth a $1500 budget from the International Club for an entry fee into a conference. They received the allocation. Cline said that if your group had not received any money yet, it was because you had a W-9 form to fill out. Also, the last day for budgets is May 1.

VP Chelsey Rowe announced the final(?) event for the upcoming Spring Fling. It's a thing where you can paint a mug and then get it permanently glazed on there.

President Hanna announced that May 9 was the date of the final SGA meeting before being corrected and told that it was May 8. It's a formal meeting. April 23 was the last day for Friedl Award nominations. The winner will be announced on May 8. He also broke the news at the SGA meeting that Concord's President, Dr. Gregory Aloia, had officially resigned to take another job. He filled attendees in on what he thought would probably happen - an interim president, a search committee, then a new president.

This is why I was closely watching the BOG election earlier this semester. They decide the new president. Cody Boone is now officially one of the most important students at Concord University. This is a lot of responsibility for him. Hopefully he can handle it.

Speaking of Cody Boone, the ADA committee report was after the President's report. Boone had a meeting last week with Rick Dillon and noted that there is a $1 million sidewalk renovation project in the works. He said Concord only had to put up $500,000 of it. I'm not sure if he said where the other half of the money was coming from.

Celia Laverty, chair of the Beckley committee, said that she had a small meeting and filled them in on the stuff that was discussed at last week's SGA meeting. She was bringing back Concord-related stuff (shirts and keychains and whatnot) to the Beckley campus.

In the Concord University Student Affairs report, Chelsey Rowe brought up discussion on Concord's potential new "Expungement Policy." Click here to see a picture of her holding the policy, while President Hanna awkwardly touches himself. Or, at least, that's what it looks like he's doing.

A campus police officer was in attendance to give his thoughts. He wanted to make clear to students that the policy does not remove infractions from your criminal record, only from Concord's record. He also asked exactly what the point of this policy was.

VP Rowe responded to him by reiterating that it does not take things off of your criminal record, and that graduate schools, law schools, and various other higher-higher institutions require you to put your school-related infractions on your applications. This policy, she said, was to help those people who made a dumb mistake when they were 18 or 19.

Adam Pauley asked when the expungement process would take place - while you were still a student or after you had graduated?

That seemed to throw Chelsey off for a second, but she thought about it and said that you had to apply before you graduate, otherwise you'd already be in graduate school. That prompted myself and Ashley to exchange a glance, since she took a year off between graduating and going to graduate school. Perhaps somebody could get something expunged after they graduate if they take time off?

The Dining committee report was next. The long-awaited "Wingspan" restaurant was discussed. The chair and President Hanna met with some people from Aramark, Concord's food provider, about the restaurant.

It will replace South of Sicily and Grille Works. Aramark's idea is for the Grille Works side to be a station where you can watch people make your food. The South of Sicily side will have barstools and root beer and cream soda taps etc, with the potential to one day have alcohol if Concord's policy ever changes.

The Dining committee chair and President Hanna both disagreed with the placement of the taps, wanting to include them somewhere at Subway Sides. It was easily the most worked-up and passionate about anything that this SGA body has been this year.

And I'll just leave it at that. When giving my comments during the meeting to Ashley, she was rolling her eyes at me and telling me how wrong I was. And she tolerates me a lot more than anybody else in that room does, so I feel like I have a pretty unpopular opinion.

I wrote down in my notes - "Josh Hanna finally stood up to somebody." We'll leave it at that.

At this point, I noticed that it was raining really hard, which would have likely delayed any Greek Week activities going on that people snuck out of the meeting to attend. That made me happy.

Genevieve Hatcher was unable to attend the meeting, so she had a guy there give her report. He read it off of his phone. He said, "The website is up and watch out for fliers. I don't know what the fliers are for."

The chair of the Technology committee said that a "200 meg" upgrade has been completed. And that was it. I guess that relates to Internet speed.

Regarding the VP and Senator election issues, it was decided that a special election for the VP will be held next week. In new business this week, they needed to reform the Election committee. The names of the members were given, but I didn't catch them.

This caused a little debate between Michael Cork and Adam Pauley, with Pauley wanting to know why we would take this position away from these two people after they were already elected. He asked if they couldn't find an answer to the constitutional questions until after they were elected, why not just use it for future reference and not take away their positions. Cork replied that it was brought up before they were elected, but they were not able to meet to decide on it until after the elections.

And then they went back and forth a few times. Cork lost his cool and got irritated a bit near the end. Hopefully he maintains his composure better at future meetings.

A few people left, as the meeting was nearing the one-hour mark. They checked to make sure the SGA still had core-um. 27 people were necessary and 29 were present. They eventually voted to reform the election committee.

If you're a Concord University student, you'll probably see more information out about the new election for VP soon.

I understand wanting to make sure the students have their voice heard, but really, the easy thing to do here is right after Chelsey Rowe is sworn in is to appoint Andrew Miller as VP (if he still wants it). I don't see any controversy with it; it's not like she's appointing one of her sorority sisters or doing something behind the students' backs over the summer (aka the "Maxwell Clause"). But, they've already decided on their course of action.

That was it for the meeting. My overall thought is that they should have been having meetings like this all academic year. "Back in my day," a meeting was considered a failure if it didn't last an hour. Now, it seems like torture to get them to stretch things out to half an hour. The 04-23-13 meeting of the SGA was important. If more meetings were viewed as important, then that annoying southern girl wouldn't have tried to get a mass exit started.

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.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Concord University Student Government Association meeting notes [04-17-13]

Going into the 04-17-13 meeting of the Student Government Association, I was expecting an exciting meeting. "Stuff" had been going down. What that stuff happens to be is mostly conjecture, but it allegedly involves some accounting shenanigans that we'll get into later. But, basically, nothing happened. It was business as usual, which is to say that not a lot happened.

The next coming weeks could help cement the legacy of Josh Hanna's SGA. Right now, the main criticism levied against them is that they don't do much. One thing that the SGA is supposed to do is serve in the best interest of the students. If some of these alleged money handlings are true, the SGA needs to do something. That something should probably be a strongly-worded resolution condemning said actions if they're true. We'll let that develop for a bit. Hopefully they're keeping up with these things.

Click here to see a picture I took at the meeting. "Janna" is standing at the podium. Parliamentarian Andrew Miller is writing something to his left. Next to him is Richard Babich, Attorney General. Richard and I commented on Facebook about trying to pose funny pictures next time. As a joke, I tried to make sure he wasn't paying attention when I took the picture. As a joke on me, during the meeting, Richard took a picture of me and tweeted it. It's hard to see, since it's zoomed in, but I'm the block of blond hair in the middle looking down. Not to be outdone, I then tweeted a picture of Richard standing and talking. Cody Boone is the guy in the foreground of the last picture.

The meeting kicked off with Adam Pauley giving a report of the previous day's Board of Governors meeting. The meeting lasted from 1 p.m. until 5:45 p.m. in the State Room (that fancy room down the hall from the cafeteria). All that Adam could say was that the meeting was spent in executive session and that they will continue the meeting on April 25.

The thing that troubles me is that nobody in the room seemed too concerned about what Adam said. You usually don't spend 5 hours in executive session unless something is up. What executive session does is make people who aren't members leave the room. That is usually done to get members of the press or other onlookers out of the meeting.

The SGA has the power to do that, but I doubt a lot of them know about it. They used to do it occasionally back in the day so I had to leave and couldn't write about what they said. I scanned the archives of my blog here and the last time I recall an executive session being invoked was in early 2010. The person who motioned to make me leave was my future girlfriend.

Nothing is on the record as to what was said during the BOG meeting. Trena Bolin had planned to attend and bring up issues with money being diverted from other funds (specifically housing/room and board) and being given to the athletic department. So, she was going to be there and bring this up and they closed off the meeting. They could be related or it could just be a coincidence.

There was a story about this printed in Friday's edition of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Click here to read it. I've had some time to process the article and I'm not really a fan of it. It really doesn't dig too deep. It says Trena thinks something fishy is going on, then talks to President Aloia and Kevin Garrett, athletics director, who both say nothing fishy is going on.

Here's one part of the article I want to specifically look at - "With regard to budgets at Concord, all agree on one important fact: It is legal in West Virginia for state colleges and universities to draw from accounts other than those earmarked to athletics in order to pay its bills — with certain specific exceptions, such as accounts of state-funded capital improvement projects."

Nothing is specifically said in the article about the moving of housing funds to athletics, but it looks like that is what is being implied here. And, yes, it is legal for Concord to do that. But, is it ethical? Concord University students think they are paying money to maintain the dorms and whatnot, but they are actually paying money to buy jerseys and give out scholarships and pay for gas to games, etc...

So, we'll see what happens at the next meeting of the BOG. There have been conflicting reports as to the date. Adam Pauley said April 25, a Thursday, but I've also heard Wednesday, the day of the SGA meeting. So, he likely won't have a report at the upcoming meeting, but we'll know more about that in the coming weeks.

I don't know if the BDT is following up on this story. My guess would be no, since it seems like the writer didn't really care about the issue all that much - "Aloia says it's okay, that's good enough for me." Hopefully some intrepid reporter from The Concordian is digging into this matter. I hope somebody besides me is reporting on this...

Anyway... back to the regularly scheduled report of the SGA. Sorry to go off topic a bit.

The Ombudsman received a complaint about part of the ceiling in the library. "It's pretty gross, actually. I talked to Connie about it." He didn't really say what was wrong with the ceiling, but I guess I could go look at it if I was really curious. It's going to get fixed over the summer.

The Ombudsman gave the floor to Melinda Hatfield, who spoke about the SGA website. She said she has sent 7 to 10 emails, which I thought was an odd number to say, to the IT people. They're just not doing anything with it yet.

Business Manager Derek Cline announced that May 1 was the last day for budgets. I'm not sure if May 1 is the last day to submit a budget for consideration or the last day they will be deciding budgets. If you're interested, contact him for more information.

Vice President Chelsey Rowe announced another event for Spring Fling week. The Thursday event will be a showing of "Warm Bodies" on a giant screen in the valley (weather permitting).

Michael Cork, the Prime Justice, had received a few requests for clarification of the SGA bylaws. It was stated that a candidate for election needs to have a 2.5 GPA. It was asked if that GPA was required when they were running or just the semesters they were elected to serve. Cork said that it was determined that they needed the 2.5 GPA before they could run.

A student running in the elections must also be in "good standing" with the university. It was asked specifically what that meant. Cork said that it meant that they must be in good standing academically, with the university and the judicial branch. There must be no active sanctions against them, and they must have no tier 1 offenses. More on what that means in the CUSAC report.

President "Janna" asked for students to continue turning in nominations for the Friedl Award. That's a teacher of the year kind of deal. If you think you have a great professor, let them know. I'm not sure how long nominations are going on, but if you have somebody in mind go talk to him. He has office hours, but I'm not sure I've ever heard him announce them during a meeting.

Board of Governors student representative-elect Cody Boone gave the ADA committee report. He said he was going to speak with Rick Dillon on Friday about ADA concerns. He should have a report at the next meeting. One thing I will say on the subject is that Concord has made a lot of positive strides in terms of ADA compliance over the many (many) years I've been here.

Celia Laverty, the Beckley committee chair, noted that an issue of concern is that it is difficult for students at the Beckley campus to get ID cards made. She said she was going to encourage Beckley students to travel to the Athens campus to attend Spring Fling events. She also brought up looking into getting an intramural sports program for Beckley.

Chelsey Rowe gave the report for the Concord University Student Affairs committee (abbreviated CUSAC, pronounced Q-Sack). The long-awaited "expungement policy" was unveiled. Basically, it's a way for violations of the rules to be taken off of your permanent record. The violations are broken into three categories - tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3. Tier 1 is the serious stuff - assault, bullying, hazing, threats, sexual harassment, felony stuff. Tiers 2 & 3 are the less serious things. It was introduced as part of the 3-week process. It gets discussed on April 24 and voted on May 1.

The Dining committee chair told attendees that an email survey about the new "Wingspan" restaurant was circulating and that they should complete it. On April 23, a representative from ARAMARK, Concord's food provider, will be on campus to finalize details.

That's all from the meeting. As I said in the beginning, the next few weeks should be very interesting and hopefully this year's SGA ends things on a high note. This athletics deal is something to follow, as are issues pertaining to tuition increases. If you are not already, become an informed student. Ask questions, look for answers, do something.

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 19, 2013

Articles in The Concordian written about me

I'm trying to think of the last time people submitted pieces to The Concordian that were about me. From 2005-2008, they were a semi-regular occurrence. I was on the staff again in 2009, but I don't think anything was written that semester.

I'm not sure when the last piece that directly mentioned me was printed, but I know the last article that indirectly was about me was in March 2010 when Liston Pennington wrote something about how if all you can do is complain about The Concordian then all you'll probably wind up doing with your life is managing a pizza place or something like that. He wrote it back when I worked at Pizza Hut.

The last time I believe I was mentioned by name was when Natasha Cline wrote a reply to a piece I wrote about joining a fraternity and sorority in 2008. To show how long ago this was, we messaged each other a little bit about the article on MySpace. Another memorable article from that time was Bruce Tedder defending then-SGA President Wes Prince after I wrote a piece asking him to resign.

So, it was fun to see my name getting thrown back out there. The first piece is a letter submitted by Wesley McKinney, an athlete. I've never met him. It's well-written in the sense that it's in nice sentences and good grammar. He seems like a smart guy. He's just not looking at things objectively. He's an athlete, so of course he's going to get upset when I make fun of athletics. I don't know if he gets that the issue is with scholarship money being cut for non-athletic students while money for athletes has risen a disturbing amount. To make the point I'm trying to make, you kind of have to make fun of somebody. That "somebody" in this instance is the athletics program at Concord.

The second piece is by Scott Noble, the Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian. I didn't know Scott before he became Editor of the paper and we talked a little bit last semester. I don't think I've seen him since December. He poked his head briefly into the SGA meeting this week and was standing near me, but he was talking to somebody else and then quickly left.

One thing that I've noticed about Scott's writing style is that it is very personal. He writes about writing. One of his pieces will say something similar to "As I sit here writing this" or something along those lines. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. He kind of does that here and I think it works this time.

What Scott actually does is print his apology email to Kevin Garrett, the Athletics Director. It's kind of a neat idea. Instead of writing something to Coach Garrett and then writing something for the paper, he kills two birds with one stone and gets more mileage out of his one piece.

He comes off as being a little too sorry, if that makes sense. I don't want to call it a PR piece, but that's what it seems like. What I did wasn't that bad. In fact, I don't think it was bad at all. I really hope Scott doesn't feel as bad about this as he comes across sounding like.

Wesley's piece is first, followed by Scott's. If you have any comments or concerns about them, feel free to leave a comment either here or on Facebook.

If you haven't read my April Fools article that caused both of these letters, click here to check it out.

* * *

Wesley McKinney, student-athlete 

In my time at Concord, I have heard people complain about the content in The Concordian and I noticed in my first couple years at the school the newspaper struggled to produce accurate news. However, in the last year or so The Concordian has been turned around and I enjoy reading the newspaper not only to keep up campus happenings but also sometimes to get story ideas for WVCU, the campus radio station. I give complete credit to editor-in-chief for publishing more consistent news over the last two or three semesters.

But the latest edition of The Concordian published on April 3 crossed the line and more specificially the article about Concord athletics being cut from NCAA ties stepped out of bounds more than any other story in the "April Fool's" issue. I recognize the fact that the newspaper printed a disclaimer saying stories printed on the first two pages of the paper were false and were for humorous purposes only.

However, the story quoted Concord Director of Athletics Kevin Garett several times, which is libelous and also defamation of Coach Garrett's character. Knowing Coach Garrett personally, I can't imagine at all he said anything printed in the article. While I do not have exact statistics to back up my claim, Coach Garrett has done phenomenal things for the athletic department in his brief tenure as athletic director. Garrett has put the "student" back in student athlete and as assembled one of the more successful athletic programs in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Even though the article is supposedly fictious, there's no need to attack Coach Garret and Concord athletics in manner that Chris Slater did.

Also, to quote Coach Garrett saying Concord can't compete on a national level is outrageous. During the 2011-2012 academic school year, the Mountain Lions produced four All-Americans and the football team made the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Once again, I understand this article is meant to be funny and humorous, but it definitely did not come off that way. I believe the author, Chris Slater, was trying to attack Concord athletics with this article.

I’m truly disappointed in Mr. Slater, the editor-in-chief of the Concordian and the staff advisor of the newspaper for allowing this article to be published. While I have nothing to do with The Concordian, I am indeed a Communications major and I feel like this article is a misrepresentation of our department and a handful of people are at fault for producing this non-sense.

As a student-athlete at this institution, I am outraged at the fact that our athletics has been attacked and I'm asking the appropriate people apologize to Coach Garrett, coaches at Concord and current student-athletes for defaming our athletes in a disturbing manner.

* * *

Scott Noble, Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian 

Coach Garrett,

I just left a fairly spirited staff meeting and part of that "spirited" conversation was in regard to the article in our April Fools section. When we decided to run it as is, some of us had concerns as to how it would be received. Well, those concerns have come to fruition. I received a letter from a concerned peer, Wes McKinney who was indeed offended by the piece and in the next issue, I will respond to his comments. I understand the author of the article has a tendency to stir the pot, but since it was a parody, I signed off on running it. Maybe it is my age, but at the time the ridiculous nature of the humor outweighed the real world impact. The numbers in the article are accurate to my knowledge and also (to my knowledge) any quotes attributed to you are completely fabricated. One would think they were something no reasonable person would find plausible. Apparently, that became a topic of discussion today as well. I am hoping not only to diffuse a misconception regarding budgets, but to hopefully repair the damage (though unintended) my decision to run this story has caused.

I believe the impetus for the "story" was borne of the budgetary grousing about how much money goes into Wes' letter. In my response to Wes' letter, I will point out this is not an exception but the norm in many institutions of higher learning. I recently read a Time magazine article regarding athletic budgets and it did point out (via USA Today) that out of 227 Division one schools that participate in athletics, only 22 are self-sufficient. Also, when people gripe about money going to something they have no interest in, they need to realize even though they man never read one issue if the Concordian, part of their fees go toward printing it.

I am a bit more pragmatic about how money is spent since I did have some experience with some "unusual looking" budgetary issues while in the Air Force, so the numbers in the article did not alarm me at all. I suppose it goes back to an adage that says sometimes it takes money to breed success and from what I have personally witnessed in my time at Concord, the money has been well spent.

Additionally, many people do not realize the hours of work athletes must put in on the courts, roads, and fields that go hand-in-hand with their academic responsibilities (along with the visibility they bring to the school). The dedication to academics can be as demanding as two a day practices and I do understand and appreciate that. Case in point, at a recent SAC event, there was a mass exodus of the crowd and as it turned out, it was our athletes going to a mandatory study hall.

In the end, I cannot take back the printing the article, but I do hope I can erode some of the bad feelings if may have caused. Its sole intent was humor and only humor. Finally, I want to extend my apologies for a decision I made that may have upset you, your staff, and the athletics of Concord University. Like I said before, our intent was humor and it seems that intent did not meet my expectations. Ultimately, I am responsible for what goes in the paper and since I am here to learn above all else, I will take this as a learning experience. As I write this, e-mail, I am thinking this may be the appropriate response to Wes' letter.

I will be by next week to drop a copy of our next issue to you, and I hope you will allow me to personally apologize for more than likely being the cause of a bad day. I respect and value the relationship I have forged with your department and personnel and I hope this in some small way, affords some degree of repair. Thank you for your time and consideration and if you feel it is appropriate, please feel free to forward it to your entire staff in the athletic department.

* * *

So, there's that. One good thing that can hopefully come out of things like this is getting more eyes reading The Concordian and potentially getting more involvement in the letters to the editor section. If you think I'm full of shit about what I wrote, submit something. If you think Wes and Scott overreacted, send your thoughts to the newspaper. If it outrages you that the President of this university has applied to another school, write a letter about it. Anything is fodder for a letter.

Send letters to the editor to concordian[at]concord.edu with something resembling "letter to the editor" in the subject line. The next issue will likely print May 1, so get emails in by no later than April 29. If any of this information is wrong, somebody on the staff please correct me.

Students of Concord, you pay for The Concordian. If you don't think it's interesting, make it interesting by submitting something to be printed. I did, and look what happened.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

"April Fools" article I wrote for The Concordian

Below is the satirical article I wrote for the "April Fools edition" of The Concordian, Concord University's student newspaper. It was printed on April 3, 2013. I've written about it in a couple previous blogs, so check those out for the full story. But, the short story is basically, I found out some information about differences in scholarships that go to regular students and ones that go to athletes, in addition to some other stuff. I was asked by a couple Concord employees to submit a piece to the newspaper about it, so I did.

The people on the newspaper staff that I spoke with about the article all said they enjoyed it and thought it was funny. After being printed, it caused a little controversy, as some were not happy about it. A couple pieces were written in the next issue of The Concordian about me, which I'll print in my next blog.

If you haven't seen it yet, let me know what you think. I think it's okay. I like the descriptor they included in my byline.

* * *

Printed in The Concordian; April 3, 2013

Chris Slater
Former Editor-in-Chief

In a shocking development, Concord University officials have made the decision to remove CU athletics from official NCAA sanctioned play and instead move to a "club sports" program.

"Basically, it was a money issue," said Kevin Garrett, athletics director. "This institution was wasting way too much money on athletics, and we decided it was time for a change."

Under club sports rules, student athletes do not get scholarships and in fact, actually pay dues to play their chosen sport.

"Don't worry, we're still going to have sporting events and teams that you can cheer for," Garrett said. "What's changing is that the students will be playing because they love the sport, not because we're giving them inflated scholarships."

For the 2012-2013 academic year, Concord University paid approximately $1,312,000 in athletic scholarships. For the 2008-2009 academic year, that number was only approximately $369,000.

"That's just ridiculous to be paying such an exorbitant amount of money for what are basically average teams," Garrett said. "I mean, if we were doing something huge on a national stage, I could see spending all that money, but I’m sure we could do something better with it."

Institutional scholarships, which are monies that Concord gives out to all students, were listed at approximately $1,576,000 for the 2012-2013 academic year. In 2008, that amount was approximately $1,666,000.

Money that all CU students can receive for scholarships decreased approximately $90,000 over the last four years. Athletic scholarships, in that same time frame, increased in the neighborhood of $943,000.

"And, that's not right," Garrett said. "Think of all the money that we waste on athletic scholarships. Take a look at the statistics on the ones who graduate in a timely manner, it doesn’t make us look good."

In the fall of 2008, there were 132 incoming freshman student athletes. Only 17 of those 132 graduated in four years.

"Some of our athletes even get their books paid for too," Garrett said. "Do you know how expensive books are? The amount of money we're throwing at them is ridiculous."

One benefit that Garrett looks at to removing athletic scholarships is that student athletes might actually use their study lounge located in the Rahall Center.

"That's a real nice room down there," Garrett said. "It used to be the business incubator and all the furnishings in there were paid for with entrepreneurial grants to see businesses thrive and succeed. Since we're not doing that anymore, the athletes might as well use it."

With the change in the athletics structure, a question raised is if this will have any effect on the athletics staff, which according to the CU directory page includes 35 members, more than most education departments.

"We'll probably have to get rid of some," Garrett said. "Realistically, a lot of them just coach and don’t teach anything. Since we're putting more of a focus on the classroom, some of these coaches aren’t needed any longer."

Reaction from student athletes has been mixed. One student in favor of this stated, "It will force me to actually study and apply myself." Another student against the changes noted, "It will force me to actually study and apply myself."

When informed of the changes to the athletic structure, Concord University President Dr. Gregory Aloia promptly put in an application to the College of Coastal Georgia.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top 25 Beatles songs

The other day I was listening to the radio and a Beatles song came on. I turned it up and tweeted that it was probably in my top 15 favorite Beatles tracks. That got me thinking of what my favorite songs were, and I gave me the idea to present you with this list.

It's a very subjective list. If I made it a month from now, things would probably look different. I just went through all of their songs on my iTunes and picked out 25 that caught my eye. Then I loosely ranked them. So, take it for what it is: me feeling a certain way about a group of songs on a certain day. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

Hey Jude ... I'm basing this song on how it makes me feel when it comes on. I smile and turn up the volume and hum along to the na-na-na-na-na-na's. It's a feel-good song.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps ... The opening guitar riff is probably the coolest thing Eric Clapton has ever done. And that's the word that personifies this song - "cool." This is just a cool song that is mellow and kind of heavy at the same time. My favorite track from the bootleg "Grey Album," the mashup of the Beatles White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album, is "What More Can I Say," which includes this music over Jay's lyrics.

Oh! Darling ... Paul McCartney loves to write these doo-wop ballads and sing really loud, and that's what he does here. It's a sad song about a failed relationship, but it's sort of a upbeat musically.

Come Together ... With such profound lyrics as "one and one and one is three," it's a philosophical song about the intricacies of life. Or, it's just some ramblings that John Lennon wrote.

A Day In The Life ... I feel like "epic" is one of the most overused words in our lexicon. With that said, though, if there ever was an epic Beatles song, it would be this one. Lennon and McCartney both had half of a song and didn't know what to do with it, so they combined them together and the result was wonderful.

I Saw Her Standing There ... One of my favorites from the group's early days. It's a fun song about seeing a girl at a dance and wanting to be with her. It's one of Paul McCartney's favorite Beatles songs and he still performs it to this day. A couple years ago he sang it at the Grammys with Dave Grohl on drums.

Revolution ... Lennon and McCartney both set out to write the loudest songs they could imagine for the White Album. This is Lennon's. They recorded an electric and acoustic version and wound up putting the acoustic one on the album. The louder version is better.

Rain ... A nice song about being happy. Other people get upset when it rains, but not them. The first Beatles track to feature back-tracking, taking words and playing them backward to make weird sounds. Also one of the few songs to prominently feature the drums. Ringo usually fades into the background, but not here.

Get Back ... The last song that the Beatles ever performed live, it is included in their "Let It Be" album and documentary. After the impromptou concert on the roof of their recording studio, Lennon jokingly asks the audience if the band "passed the audition." Probably the most mainstream song to feature references to both marijuana and transexuals.

And Your Bird Can Sing ... Upbeat song from the middle of the Beatles lifespan, as they started experimenting more with different song styles. "Bird" was slang for a whore back then. I've read that this song was written as a diss to Mick Jagger and his then-girlfriend, but I don't know if that's 100-percent true.

When I Get Home ... It has some almost embarrassingly bad lyrics in it, but it's catchy. It's fun to listen to, even if Lennon sings that he's gonna "love her 'till the cows come home."

Can't Buy Me Love ... The first time I ever heard a Beatles song was in an episode of The Simpsons. It was this one. One of their more popular songs among casual fans.

Ticket To Ride ... Another possible song about casual sex. A little deeper than most of the early Beatles songs.

Magical Mystery Tour ... Title track from the followup to the popular White Album. Also made a movie of the same name. Possible subtle drug reference in the opening of the song - "roll up, roll up for the magical mystery tour." Good song and good album. The movie has been out of print for decades, so I haven't seen it. The band apparently wasn't pleased with the finished product.

Good Day Sunshine ... This song just makes you want to smile and bop your head along. Feel-good music will never go out of style.

Helter Skelter ... This is Paul McCartney's effort to make the loudest song possible for the White Album. Apparently it's about a carnival ride. Over the years it has become more closely associated with the Charles Manson Family murders, as Manson was obsessed with the White Album and its alleged hidden messages.

She's A Woman ... Nice song about appreciating the fairer sex. In the early days especially, McCartney tried to mimic Little Richard's musical style, and this is an example of that.

I Me Mine ... George Harrison's subtle dig at his spot in the band and the egos that existed among others. One of the best parts of the "Let It Be" movie is when this song is played for the first time and John Lennon and Yoko Ono dance to it.

Baby's In Black ... Song about a woman in mourning and how it affects them - "Baby's in black and I'm feeling blue." One of the first songs released by the band that wasn't happy and about young love.

Drive My Car ... Yet another possible casual sex reference. Fantasy song about getting famous and how you can drive my car. Ends with going back to reality - "I got no car and it's breaking my heart, but I've got a driver and that's a start." One of the first Beatles songs that I ever heard.

You've Got To Hide Your Love ... If you're ever on Jeopardy and the answer given to you is "The song John Lennon wrote to try and sound like Bob Dylan," you would buzz in and say "What is 'You've Got To Hide Your Love?'" It's stripped down musically and vocally. It's a nice song. Eddie Vedder recorded a cover that's pretty good as well.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) ... First Beatles song to feature the sitar. Tale about a woman rebuffing Lennon's advances, so he burns her house down.

She Said She Said ... Trippy song. Lennon said he wrote it based on an experience he had dropping acid.

Your Mother Should Know ... Instrumentation is very bare in this song. The voices really take charge here for a neat effect.

Two Of Us ... I prefer the stripped-down version from the "Let It Be (Naked)" album that was released in 2003. It takes away most of the post-production on the songs and leaves them in their more natural state. A nice little love song.

And, there's that.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

SGA meeting notes; election results revealed [04-10-13]

Results of the SGA elections were revealed at the 04-10-13 meeting of Concord's Student Government Association. For those who weren't present and didn't see it on the SGA's Facebook page, the 2013-2014 SGA elected members are:

President: Chelsey Rowe
Vice-President: Greg Stamp
Business Manager: Genevieve Hatcher
Attorney General: Kenny Breslin
Public Defender: Greg Slone
Board of Governors: Cody Boone
9 Senators were elected.

If you want to see the following information as written down in my notes I take during the meeting, click here. During the meeting, I took a picture of the results and tweeted them. Things went about the way I thought they would. The one that surprises me, though, is Greg Stamp. That's nothing against him, it's just that the elections are usually just a popularity contest and I saw where that could have hurt him. But, I'm sure he'll do a good job, just like the rest of the elected officials.

At the very worst, if they just continue the "holding pattern" of not destroying the SGA but not really doing much like the current administration is doing, then they'll be fine. But, hopefully they build upon this lackluster year and move forward.

Here's what else happened at the meeting. Click here to see a picture that I took. President Josh Hanna is in the middle. Parliamentarian Andrew Miller is beside him, followed by Attorney General Richard Babich. The guy in the foreground on the left, with the green shirt and ponytail, is Greg Stamp, VP-elect.

Stamp kicked off the meeting, as he is the Faculty Senate student representative, and gave a report from the Faculty Senate meeting. He noted that Concord is looking to change their current campaign against academic dishonesty to focus more on promoting academic honesty, to give it a more positive connotation. He also said that the nationwide search for a new Vice President and Academic Dean will be discontinued until May, when we should have a clearer idea on what the university's President Gregory Aloia is doing in regard to staying or leaving. And, as is said at some point every year, Concord's strategic plan is in need of an updating.

The Board of Governors met on April 9. BOG Student representative Adam Pauley gave a summary of the meeting. He attended three BOG committee meetings, and here is a rundown of those:

The student affairs committee ... noted that "commuter appreciation week" will be next week ... and that construction of the new "wing span" restaurant will begin in the next fiscal year, which starts in July and should be ready by Homecoming

academic affairs committee ... roughly 60 programs offered by CU and looking into ways to review those more efficiently, as they only go through 5 per year

finance and facilities committee ... it is looking like a 5 percent tuition increase (roughly $265 more) is going to go into place for the next academic year ... there's going to be approximately a $3.4 million increase in operating costs and the BOG is looking into a plan to save $2.8 million of that, which would mean only seeing a 5 percent increase ... regarding room & board, they are looking at different options including a 1, 2, 3, or net-zero percent increase

"The Board is adamant on keeping an increase as low as possible," Pauley said.

This is something that impacts every student of Concord University. Adam is trying to fight for the students and make sure that you don't have to pay more than you absolutely have to in order to attend CU in the fall.

Time is running out for solutions. We should know by the next BOG meeting what will happen. If you're interested in any of this get in touch with Adam. I'm sure he'd like to hear from concerned students.

Business Manager Derek Cline brought forth 2 budgets to the senate. Some Appalachian Shakespeare production deal requested and received $1131.28 for costumes and whatnot. Greg Stamp is involved with that, so get in touch with him for more details if you're interested. And Pi Kappa Phi received an allocation of $1365 to cover registration fees for a leadership conference.

Vice-President Chelsey Rowe announced another event for the upcoming Spring Fling week. What I have quoted her as saying is, "This thing, it's kind of like bungee jumping. It's set up on, like, four trampolines." About halfway through the presidential debate I thought it would have been a fun idea to count how many times she said "like."

President Josh Hanna reiterated from his report last week that nominations for the Friedl Award are due April 24.

Celia Laverty, chair of the SGA's Beckley committee, noted that Beckley students wanted to be more involved in planning for Concord's Homecoming events in the fall. Current VP Chelsey Rowe, who planned last semester's events, noted that she reached out to Beckley students and did not receive input. So, we'll see what happens next semester.

The Dining committee chair said that more details of the "Wing Span" restaurant will be available soon (which is what he has said for the past month). Also said that a representative from Aramark (Concord's food provider) involved with Wing Span will be on campus April 24.

Publicity committee chair, Genevieve Hatcher, said that the SGA website is done and that they are just waiting for "IT people" to put it on the student tab of Concord's website. Said she will start putting fliers around campus promoting the facebook and twitter pages. Ended her report by saying that she will try to keep the accounts up-to-date.

The final three committee reports all said nothing. The Safety committee chair said they were looking into grants. The SGA Affairs committee chair said they discussed amendments. The Technology committee chair said they were working on a survey.

In Unfinished (aka Old) Business, the amendment 3202013 passed. I'm sure barely anybody that voted for it knew what it did. It took a duty away from the Vice President and gave it to the Parliamentarian.

That's all from the meeting. I mentioned at the end of last week's blog that an article about the upcoming budget cuts should be the lead story in The Concordian. I received a facebook message a few days ago that said that it would be. That issue will be out on Wednesday, April 17. So, hopefully people will be reading it.

I might be too late to show up early on the 17th and people-watch before the meeting. I have to work on Wednesday, but my shift ends at 3. So, I should have enough time to get there before the meeting. Somebody save the seat that I've sat in for roughly the last six years. That's one advantage of showing up early - you get to pick out the same seat every week. If you want to see what I wear when I'm selling electronics, come to the April 17 meeting.

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 12, 2013

Concordian; April Fools edition

The April Fools edition of The Concordian, Concord University's newspaper, came out April 3. So, I guess it was more of the "Early April issue that had some fake stories in it," or something like that.

The reason I have an interest in this issue is because I have an article in it. Yeah, one of the "fake" articles. I mentioned in one of my previous blogs that I was asked to write a piece. I submitted it and people seemed to like it. It's okay, I guess. I'm always one of my worst critics. But, people seemed to like it.

It's about how Concord decided to stop giving out sports scholarships because they give out too much money and it could be better spent elsewhere. I did a fake interview with the athletic director. It's kind of funny. The basis of the article was due to the fact that regular scholarships for all students had decreased a certain amount over the last four years and athletic scholarships had increased a stupid-ridiculous amount in that same period.

With that said, I thought I'd take a look at the rest of the paper. Pages 1 & 2 are fake stories and pages 3-10 are real stories. Well, I haven't verified any of them. Real unless proven otherwise. That's a joke.

As I've also mentioned in previous blog posts, I'm not a fan of the April Fools issues of The Concordian. I only wrote my piece because I was asked to. I just don't like the fake articles that are presented. They're not funny, they're not interesting, and they're not entertaining. So, they're a waste of time. I think my article is the best one there and I wrote it in one hour after talking to 3 people one Friday afternoon and I don't even think it's that good.

Editor-in-Chief Scott Noble wrote a piece about how Punx-Ton-Uhhh-Way Phil had to go into hiding after his horrible weather prediction. As a sidenote: I think it's funny to spell big words Fuh-Net-Uh-Clee.

Sterling Snyder wrote a piece about how budget cuts were affecting portion sizes in the cafeteria. This one had potential, but he spent too much time trying to explain the portion sizes and it fell flat. I had high hopes for this article, because his twitter picture is him wearing a banana suit and I figured it would be funnier based on that.

Chris Allen wrote about some fictional pancake festival he went to. The less said about this article the better. I don't even know how to write about how bad and pointless that article was. Just avoid it at all costs. It's not even his fault; I'm blaming Concordian leadership for allowing it to print without helping him make it less awful.

Morgan Elmore wrote a piece about a Concord student training to be a Pokemon master. I didn't realize Pokemon was still a thing. I was into that in middle school. To age myself, that was the late '90s. Interesting little nostalgia trip for me. Bulbasaur was my favorite Pokemon, so it was cool to see a picture of him included.

Chris Allen wrote another article, this time about Jack Sheffler, Fine Arts Division chairperson, going on some sort of drunken rampage in Spain. I really don't know Jack Sheffler that well, so I guess the idea is that he's the opposite of what is in the article. Ummmm, I guess...

Onto the real newspaper:

What I liked -

"Connie Shumate's Library Corner" box of useless library information. I like interesting trivia stuff and it was set up in a way that people could easily access and digest it. Check it out if you want to know how many people visit Concord's library, print out stuff, check out stuff, etc... I hope the staff has more stuff like that in future issues.

Article about the WV Exhibit in the library ... Molly Bates wrote a nice article about a touring exhibit about the history of WV. It's time to admit how immature I am: I giggled when I read her name for the first few times. I think I'm finally over it now.

Molly Bates (hehe) also had a nice piece on the opinions section about how students need to take advantage of events being held on campus. There's always some cool stuff going on and nobody is ever there to watch or participate. I wrote recently about the poorly-attended "Lebowski Fest" and I was also recently at the CU Directing Class' night of 4 student plays. I was one of a select few that attended.

Hopefully Molly stays with The Concordian for a while. She's a good writer with some good thoughts in her head. They need more of those.

I like the "You Know You Go To Concord When..." feature. There's no byline with it, but I believe Sara Cameron wrote it. The one that especially made me giggle was the line about how you will always see an ice cream cone on the ground. That's very true.

Like Molly, Sara is another one of my favorites on the staff right now. And that's not just because she told me that she likes to read my blogs. It's because she has a passion for being a staff member of The Concordian. That's what the paper needs the most; people who care and want to put forth the effort the make a quality product.

What I didn't like -

The lack of SGA coverage. It was especially bad considering the paper came out during SGA elections. If you've ever read my blog before, you know how I feel about how The Concordian should cover the SGA. So, there's that.

That million-word article by Jon LLoyd on the opinion section about why he fasts as part of his religion around Easter. Again, I didn't read all of it. Mainly it's because he's almost as wordy as me. Secondly, I'm not religious and don't really care about religion all that much. With that said, though, if something is presented in an interesting and informative manner I'll check it out.

I read roughly the first 7 inches or so of his column. It didn't even scratch the surface of what he wrote and it turned me off. That's mostly because it's kind of insulting to people who don't share his religion. With things like, " ... it's a case of trying to explain concepts that are totally alien to Western society and especially Western Christianity ..." and including lines like, "For those of you who may not know..." it just comes off as condescending.

And, maybe this is just me being stupid, but I couldn't figure out what his religion is. He mentions a few different ones in the beginning and isn't clear in the first few hundred words I suffered through. One of these days I'll get through one of his columns. Maybe...

What I liked but could have been better -

Morgan Elmore wrote an opinion piece about her support of gay marriage. There has to be a flaw if I'm shaking my head at an article promoting equality for homosexuals. I'm all about that. She has a great idea, but it turned me off when she spoke in absolutes. Nothing is concrete. Things like saying that homosexuality isn't a choice, that people are born that way. That's never been proven. It took away from her credibility a little bit. But, she's got a great idea there.

That's about all I've got for the paper. If anybody on campus read it and wants to chime in as well, feel free to. There's a lot of potential for the newspaper to be really awesome and informative and entertaining.

I want it to succeed. I want to write about how I opened it up and loved it, especially Jon LLoyd's stuff (seriously!). But, I can't really do that right now. Hopefully in the future.

Friday, April 5, 2013

SGA meeting notes [04-03-13]

First off, I want to apologize for not getting notes from the other Student Government Association debates posted in a timely manner. The SGA debates were held Wednesday afternoon, after voting had already started. Immediately after the debates that night I posted a recap of the 4-way debate between Presidential candidates Cody Boone, Chelsey Rowe, Andrew Miller, and Richard Babich.

As I've noted in other blogs, I was unemployed for a few weeks there. Thursday happened to be my first day at my new job. I went in at 9 a.m. and didn't get out until after 5 p.m. and rushed to the mall immediately after due to the freak snowstorm because I didn't know how much worse the roads were going to get. I needed a long-sleeve shirt to cover my tattoos, as I'm not allowed to expose those while I'm selling electronics. Long-story short (still kind of long, though) I didn't get home until around 9 p.m. and I was tired, so I went to sleep. Friday, I worked at 9 a.m. again and by the time I was done, voting was over, so it seemed pointless to post the recaps.

If anybody wants to see the 12 pages of notes I took during the debates, I'll show them to you. Same if you'd like to see the pictures I took. If you are one of the people in the pictures and maybe want it to post on facebook or whatever, I can email or text it to you.

Before we get into the boring meeting stuff, I thought I'd share a funny story. For clarification purposes, the "Janna" mentioned is Josh Hanna, SGA President.

I was sitting in my chair before the meeting began, people watching. I saw a guy drinking a Dr. Pepper and talking to a girl. I heard him say, "Yeah, I like to get a Dr. Pepper so Janna can't get one. I think it's funny when he comes in looking for one and it's not there."

I tell this story to set up my own story. As I started getting closer to Ashley Green last fall, I realized that she was close with "Janna." I thought this would be a funny story to tell her then, and now I'm telling all of you. I said to her, "The first meeting that I went back to, I grabbed a Dr. Pepper. When Josh came in, he looked for one and I thought his reaction was funny when he couldn't find a Dr. Pepper. So, now I always try to grab a Dr. Pepper so he can't have one."

So, there's that. I wonder how many other people are hoarding Dr. Pepper?

Back to our regularly scheduled blog... Click here to see a picture from the meeting. Josh Hanna is in the middle. Parliamentarian Andrew Miller is to his left. Vice President Chelsey Rowe is to his right. Beside her is Business Manager Derek Cline.

The meeting kicked off with a report from Greg Stamp, student representative to the Faculty Senate. A few notes from Greg: The Academic Policy committee made a motion to rework the "advising mentor tactics," which will change things about advising and who a student can get their PIN from ... the faculty senate wants to make it so that students must declare a major and have an advisor before they reach 60 credit hours ... Stamp noted that each educational department at CU could see cuts that would ultimately total $3.5 million & that more itemized information should be available soon ... noted that commuters and Internet classes were up, which was taking a hit on housing ... pointed out that a majority of repairs to the President's House (the house the President lives in while working at Concord, not Aloia's personal residence) have been paid for by alumni

Board of Governors student representative Adam Pauley reminded those in attendance that the next BOG meeting will be Tuesday, April 9. We're getting close to tuition-raising time, so this should be an important meeting.

Business Manager Derek Cline said that the Budgetary committee was unable to meet earlier to decide on the budget submitted by the Sportsmans Club and would have that by the next meeting.

Vice President Chelsey Rowe is now announcing one event for the upcoming Spring Fling at each SGA meeting. The first day of Spring Fling, April 29, will feature "Black Light Bingo." It will be held in the ballroom. Rowe said, "Prizes are gonna be huge, off-the-wall crazy."

President "Janna" announced that the SGA is taking applications for the Friedl Award, which is basically a "teacher of the year" deal. See him for more information if you're interested in that. He also addressed the controversy with Concord President Dr. Gregory Aloia applying for another job. He said he spoke with Dr. Aloia, who told him that he had been approached by this school and was just exploring his options. "He's not searching," Josh said.

The dining committee chair said he met with Vice President of Administration and Associate Dean of Students Rick Dillon and Josh Hanna about the layout for the new restaurant - "Wing Span" - that will be opening on campus.

Sam Dobson, the SGA Secretary, gave the Higher Education committee report. About the "Higher Ed. Day" that the committee attended in Charleston, Dobson said, "We thought it went, overall, okay." That's similar to what he said last week as well. Somebody tell Sam that at some point this semester he needs to tell us what actually happened. As I've stated before, my guess is nothing happened.

In the highlight of the meeting for me, Publicity Committee chair Genevieve Hatcher announced the official SGA twitter account was @SGAConcord. So far, the account has 5 general-information tweets, follows 14 students (mostly just members of Alpha Sigma Alpha) and has 19 followers. So, hopefully they'll expand on that; start following a wider variety of Concord students and tweet some more meaningful and interesting stuff.

The SGA Affairs committee chair noted that they were looking into changing certain election rules and possibly raising the minimum GPA requirement to run.

For years, stuff started last week and carried over was called "Old Business," but I've noticed they've been referring to it as "Unfinished Business." Is that an official change or just something they've started saying? Who wants to take bets as to whether or not anybody actually knows the answer to that question?

Anyway... in Old/Unfinished business, the 3202013 amendment was in week 2 of its 3-week process. They had the chance this week to clean up the vague and confusing wording of it. It takes away a task from the VP and gives it to the Parliamentarian. Nobody really cared enough to worry about it, so it remains unchanged and awkward. It will be made official after mindless voting next week from senate members who don't care what the amendment does.

After the meeting, the SGA Advisor Dr. Charles Brichford gave a few more comments about budget cuts that Greg Stamp mentioned earlier. If the leadership of The Concordian cares about the students, that is definitely the lead story for next week's paper or the one after 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.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SGA Presidential Debate

Voting for Student Government Association elections are underway through Friday. Voting booths are located beside the cafeteria and commuter lounge, both in the Student Center. To vote, you must be a registered student with a valid ID card.

SGA debates were held Wednesday evening, in the State Room. Below are notes and observations from the debate between the four candidates running for SGA President.

From left: Cody Boone, Chelsey Rowe, Andrew Miller, Richard Babich.

Michael Cork, the SGA Prime Justice, moderated the debate. Questions were decided beforehand based on suggestions from the SGA senate members. Near the end of the debate, the floor was opened for audience questions.

I took notes while they were talking. Below are rough, sort-of complete responses to what they were asked. Basically, it's just to give you an idea of what your candidates think about the issues. If any candidate reading this wants to expand on my interpretation of their answers or add anything else, feel free to in the comments section either here or on facebook.

The first question asked the candidates to describe three duties of the SGA President.

Cody Boone: serve the student body ... deal with organizational matters at hand ... set up the sga for future administrations

Chelsey Rowe: be the liaison between the sga and the students ... delegate tasks to other sga members ... be a good face for the concord community

Andrew Miller: be a representative for the students ... lead the sga executive board ... lead the sga meetings every week

Richard Babich: leadership ... communication ... stewardship

The next question noted that previous SGA administrations have not achieved as much in the past and what the candidate would do to improve the SGA.

Richard: bring back transparency ... update the sga facebook and twitter accounts ... write a weekly column in The Concordian giving sga updates ... bring back the tuition rally concept from 2008

Andrew: noted that past administrations have served themselves instead of the students ... he would help the students get their voice back

Chelsey: require the sga executive board to keep folders of everything they do ... "More of those, like, 'Meet Dr. Aloia' meetings"

Cody: said that every student must know everything that is going on in the sga ... said that future planning was vital to the sga

The candidates were asked to describe their goals and how they would accomplish those.

Chelsey: [she started to say her campaign slogan, but then forgot what it was] ... said that she wanted more openness from the sga and wanted things more up-to-date

Cody: wants more cameras on campus in order to increase safety ... "I won't make a promise I won't keep."

Andrew: wants to involve the students on concord's beckley campus more ... "I will sacrifice myself for the benefit of everybody."

Richard: he will attend as many meetings with faculty and administration as possible ... wants to increase transparency between the sga & students ... wants to make sure condoms are available at the front desk of every dorm

The candidates were then asked how they would keep the Judicial Branch more involved with the Executive Branch.

Andrew: said the chief & prime justice should sit at the front table during sga meetings ... the judicial branch and executive branch should attend each others meetings

Richard: noted that there should be a separation of governing bodies and that it all depends on the people in charge next year as to how close they want to be

Cody: said that all the organizations should meet together to keep everything on the same page

Chelsey: wants to be a liaison between the executive and judicial branch ... encourages the chief justice to become more involved in things

Candidates were asked how they would help improve relations between Athens and Concord.

Andrew: he said he wants to put a student on the Athens town council

Chelsey: have Athens community more involved in things that concord does ... put up fliers around town for things going on at CU

Cody: stated that he was part of a student organization that already has a member on the athens town council and that he would expand upon that if elected

Richard: said he would push for tailgating at home football games

The floor was opened for questions. Genevieve Hatcher asked what the candidates would do to involve students more in the SGA.

Richard: said he would have an open-door policy and also use social media platforms to entice student involvement

Andrew: said he would keep his office hours in different places around campus; sit in the cafeteria one day, library another, starbucks another, etc... would actively engage students during this time, informing them of what their sga is doing

Chelsey: keep her office hours posted at different places around campus ... stress to the concord community that the sga is not an intimidating organization ... make sure more information is presented in the concordian

Cody: said that social media is a good way to talk to people

Jareth Wieland asked why we should vote for one candidate over another.

Cody: he said he is not in this election for a paycheck, he is in this to help people

Chelsey: she said she worked hard to get to this position over the years and wants to be the liaison between the students and administration

Andrew: he said he would be happy if any of the candidates here were elected ... noted that his current sga position is not paid and the he is also not in the election for a paycheck

Richard: the sga is something that he has always cared about and that he has taken things more seriously over the years ... wants to bring validity back to the sga and unite the student body

* * *

That was it for the Presidential debate. A few notes and observations:

Richard was the only candidate taking notes during the debate. He has sort of played his "public candidacy" persona as being humorous, with funny slogans and posters, but he appeared to be the most prepared during the debate.

It was kind of funny when Chelsey forgot her own campaign slogan, which was "A vote for me is a voice for you."

Candidates are allowed to run for more than one position, and two are doing that. Cody Boone is also running for Board of Governors student representative and Andrew Miller is running for Vice-President.

I have mixed feelings on candidates who do that. I feel like if you were really dedicated to something you would put all of your power into running for that one position. Which position does Andrew want more? Which one does Cody want the most?

Chelsey and Richard are at least solidly standing behind one position. They feel that they should both be the President and that's what they want to do the most.

Chelsey looks like the candidate who campaigned the most. Writing slogans in chalk on the sidewalks used to be one of the biggest parts of SGA elections, but this year it looks like she was the only candidate who did that. She was also the only Presidential candidate I saw sitting in the student center actively campaigning during voting hours. She gave me a sucker. I gave it to Ashley.

On a personal level, Richard is the candidate that I know the best. We've had classes together and used to sit next to each other during the meetings "back in the day." I had one brief conversation with Andrew Miller last semester. I've exchanged pleasantries with Chelsey Rowe a couple times and she gave me candy. I had seen Cody Boone at the meetings before but had never talked to him before.

Use the aforementioned information however you see fit. The best thing you can be at Concord is an informed member of the student body. Hopefully this helped you in that regard.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them. You can leave anonymous comments if you'd like to go that route. If any candidates want to add anything or expand upon a point, please do.

I'll try to get some more candidate debate profiles up shortly. I also have notes from the Vice Presidential, Public Defender, Business Manager, and Board of Governor races.

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 Concord University SGA elections

The list of students running for positions in the upcoming Student Government Association elections was released last Wednesday. Nearly five days later, a list was finally put on the SGA's official Facebook page. Actually, it's not a list, it's pictures of pictures of the candidates that are on display in the Student Center. It's a cool-looking setup. If you're on campus, check it out.

A list of candidates is below:

President
Richard Babich, Cody Boone, Andrew Miller, Chelsey Rowe

Vice-President
Kenny Breslin, Sam Dobson, Andrew Miller, Greg Stamp

Business Manager
Genevieve Hatcher, Greg Slone, Quinten Whalen

Attorney General
Kenny Breslin

Public Defender
Sam Dobson, Greg Slone

Board of Governors
Cody Boone, Kaitlynn Lilly, Zach Whitfield

And there are some Senators running, but there aren't enough for it to be a competitive race, so they're all going to get their position. Also, Kenny Breslin will be the Attorney General, as he's running uncontested.

Voting starts this Wednesday and continues through Friday. If you care to vote you'll know where the polling places are. Usually they're by the cafeteria and there has historically been one by the old SGA office, which is currently the commuter lounge (by the game room). You have to be a registered student with a valid ID.

There has been confusion swirling around as to whether or not there will be a debate between the candidates for this year. Unlike the last few years, the main positions are actually contested, and a debate would help sway any potential undecided voters. Well, in theory it would. Usually the only people who show up to debates are there to support their friends who are running. But, you never know, an undecided voter or two could swing by.

Those last few points are moot, though, as it looks like there will not be a debate. I've heard that potentially after this Wednesday's SGA meeting there will be a debate of sorts. That would be both good and bad. The good is that there will already be people in the room who will listen. The bad will be that most of them either don't care or already know who they're voting for, as they're the informed (in theory) senate. I'll keep my ears open and let you know if I hear any thing finalized regarding a debate.

If you have any questions, leave them here or on this blog's Facebook version. Hopefully somebody will help you.