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.

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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.

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