Saturday, February 27, 2010

VPAD Update

For those who don't know, Dr. John David Smith is presently serving as Concord University's Interim Vice President and Academic Dean. There has been a nation-wide search to find a permanent replacement. At the 02-24-10 meeting of the Student Government Association, Curtis Kearns - student representative to the Board of Governors - announced the four finalists:

Erik Lee, University of Toledo

Steven Stahl, New York

LeVon Neal, U. of Colorado

John David Smith, Concord

To give you a little insight on how the process went, review the following:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Marshall Campbell
Date: Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 11:29 AM
Subject: Status of the VPAD Search
To: facultystaff @concord.edu



The Vice President and Academic Dean search committee asked me to provide a status report on their efforts, while still maintaining the confidentiality necessary in the process. They are making good progress. We received 58 applications, which the committee members reviewed over the holiday break. The committee met last week and cut the field approximately in half. They met again yesterday afternoon and decided on ten applicants to interview by telephone. They decided on an additional six individuals to possibly re-consider if any of the first ten are no longer available or interested. These telephone interviews will be conducted over the next two to three weeks. Thereafter, the field will be cut again for on-campus interviews.

Please understand that the search process at this point is confidential. The committee members have been instructed and understand that they are not to talk about any details of the search outside of the committee. Please do not inquire, directly or indirectly, about these details. Thank you.

Marshall S. Campbell
Interim Director of Human Resources


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Marshall Campbell
Date: Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 1:23 PM
Subject: VPAD Search -- Schedule for Dr. Lee's Visit
To: facultystaff @concord.edu



All -- As mentioned in my email yesterday, I met with the VPAD search committee yesterday afternoon. Here is the schedule for the constituent groups to meet with Dr. Erik Lee this coming Monday, March 1st:

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Meeting with the Classified Staff (State Room)
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Meeting with the Faculty (State Room)
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch with the Academic Affairs Executive Council (aka Dean’s Staff)(Cafeteria)
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Meeting with the Students (State Room)

I hope you can attend. We will have a similar arrangement for the other three candidates. The committee is preparing a form that you can complete with your comments on each candidate. You can either provide your comments to me or your division or staff representative on the committee. (Nancy Ellison is the Classified Staff representative on the committee.) Additionally, we will be placing a locked box in Mitzi Cline’s HR office (A326) if you want to provide your comments anonymously. Please provide your comments with 2 business days of the candidate’s visit.

Additionally, here is Dr. Lee’s Curriculum Vitae for your review before Monday. [PDF attached]
I apologize about getting this schedule and information to you today for Monday. Now, that we have the candidates and the committee has met to discuss how to proceed with each visit, I should be able to get you information sooner for the remaining candidates.

Finally, please note that Dr. Stahl has confirmed for Monday, March 15th. Dr. Smith’s interview date has been moved to Wednesday, March 24th. I am working to finalize Dr. Neal’s visit for Monday, March 22.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Marshall Campbell

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Concordian, Vol. LXXVIIII, No. 7

I'll have some thoughts about the first meeting of Concord's Student Government Association in two weeks a little later. A lot of stuff happened & I need some time to process it. I'll post the tweets during the meeting below & then look at this week's issue of The Concordian, Concord's student newspaper.

The tweets are from me, Jesse Call & Sean Noland. Jesse is a former Board of Governors representative who graduated a couple years ago. Sean is a former SGA President who is now employed by Concord, and also the current Judicial Branch Advisor. Their tweets have their names in parentheses before it.

* * *

At the @CU_SGA meeting. First meeting in 2 weeks.

I was told that the SGA President wouldn't be present at today's meeting. But, he's here. Guess his plans changed.

Received a copy of SGA election rules. It's starting up soon; although people have been planning for months now...

Senator Babich (@Babich53) is wearing his cowboy boots again. Suhweeeet.

The SGA just went into "closed session." Everybody w/o voting rights (me & 4 other people) have to leave.

The point of closed session is for "important" things to be discussed, w/o anything leaving the room.

I usually find out what happens during closed session. A controversy from 2007 was when I printed closed session talk in The Concordian.

The closed session has a time limit of 20 minutes. It's been about 4 minutes so far.

(Sean Noland) @chris_slater the issue doesn't necessarily have to be "important" the main point is to foster candid discussion.

Closed session is over. Back in the meeting.

(Jesse Call) @chris_slater They are probably violating open meetings laws by doing that.

Hmmm... RT @jessecall: @chris_slater They are probably violating open meetings laws by doing that.

SGA Advisor Charles Brichford questioned the need for "closed session" during the meeting...

To the best of my knowledge, the only thing brought up was coting for the Budgetary cmtee. I'll look into whether anything else happened...

The VP isn't here. Wonder what the results are of the Spring Fling/Haiti issue? Are they having a Fling, or giving it all to Haiti?

Correction: an earlier tweet should say "voting" and not "coting." My bad...

Curtis Kearns just announced the 4 candidates for the Vice President & Academic Dean position. More details later.


* * *

I'll mention one thing about the SGA meeting, to sort of serve as a bridge between the SGA talk & Concordian talk. Sean was right with his tweet, the point of closed session isn't exactly to discuss "important" things. It's so people can speak openly and candidly without fear of repercussions.

One of the points of closed session is to get the "media" out of the room. That way, you can say what you really feel on a subject and what you say won't get included in the newspaper's weekly coverage of the SGA meeting.

Except, there was no media presence at the meeting. Actually, there were a couple members of The Concordian staff outside with me during the closed session, but they weren't there to cover the meeting.

That goes back into my discussion last week about how they don't cover news anymore.

I guess, technically, I'm "new media," since I take notes at the meeting and blog about them.

What happens in closed session is supposed to stay confidential, but like I tweeted earlier, I usually figure out what happened. That's the case with this meeting, as I've already had 2 people tell me what was discussed. I'll blog about that later.

* * *

I ran into Wendy Holdren, Concordian Editor-in-Chief, while on campus after the SGA meeting. We both agreed that this week's issue of the paper was possibly the strongest effort this semester. That's the truth. It really is the best issue of the paper in a while.

It follows the same outline I blogged about last week - there's not really a lot of "news" coverage, per se, but what's in there is interesting and informative. Here's a look at the best from this week's edition:

Lost World Caverns an adventure for all ages ... Samantha Ricketts' front page article about a cavern that you can go to. Not my idea of a good time, but I could see some people who would be interested in it.

Coaches Spotlight: Kevin Garret ... The first time the "Coaches Spotlight" was in the paper this semester, it was too stupid to be taken seriously. Now, they've got a perfect combination of serious and funny questions. It's has some good information, and is light-hearted enough that people who don't like sports won't mind reading it.

Grabbing Concord by the Balls ... Another good edition of Kurtis White's column, after the first ones kind of struggled to put in too much humor. This one is about Tiger Woods and his issues that he's been having lately.

Winter Running Tips ... An informative piece. The headline says all you need to know about this one.

More snow, more trash ... Another letter to the editor by Nathasha Cline, looking at the amount of trash that has been left outside lately.

Staff Debate - Do you think the media should show footage of Olympic deaths? ... An interesting debate between Liston Pennington and Wendy Holdren over subject of the Olympic athlete who died during Luge practice. Liston says yes, Wendy says no.

For what it's worth: Think before going Greek ... Amanda Lee takes an honest look back at the last four years she's spent as  member of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. She talks about how she was unprepared for the financial burden being in a sorority entailed, in addition to how much of her time it took up. While she doesn't say she regrets doing it, she does let other prospective sorority and fraternity members know that they should definitely weigh the pros and cons of "going greek."

The couple of hours I was on campus, I managed to hear some "Greek" students complaining about Amanda's piece in the paper. I don't really understand why. I've never quite understood the Greek "clique" mentality that a lot of people have. That's probably one reason why I didn't join a fraternity when they offered last semester.

Amanda's article was a personal reflection, not a personal jab at the remaining members of Sigma Sigma Sigma. Some people won't agree with her opinion, but that's all it is - it's just one person's opinion. I don't think the newspaper covers enough news, but that doesn't mean that I'm against the newspaper or the people involved. That's my opinion about one aspect of that organization, and Amanda offers her opinion on a couple aspects of her organization.

Here's one course of action that I would definitely recommend taking - write a letter to the editor if you disagree with her. If you think Amanda is "trashing" the sacred Tri-Sigma name, defend it. Write 500 or so words about how she's wrong and joining a sorority is a good idea.

E-mail your letters to concordian @ concord.edu. Unless things have changed since my time on the staff, you have until late Sunday/early Monday to turn your submissions in.

* * *

That looks like just about everything I have for now. If you have any thoughts on the newspaper, you can leave them here. You can also leave comments on the newspaper's website on their stories as well.

I'll have some thoughts on the SGA meeting in a day or two. Until then, check out the new SGA Facebook profile - http://www.facebook.com/CUSGA. Now, if they could only update the twitter...

As usual, here's the disclaimer:

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

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

Re: Empire State of Mind - WWE

A week or so ago, I posted a blog with a YouTube video embedded which showed the greatest moments from World Wrestling Entertainment at Madison Square Garden. The blog is here -

http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2010/02/empire-state-of-mind-wwe.html


For those who don't have a weird encyclopedia-like knowledge of professional wrestling like me, the video had events from several famous wrestling events. The Hulk Hogan/Macho Man moment was from the first SummerSlam event in 1988. The Rock/Triple H ladder match moment was from SummerSlam 1998. The Shawn Michaels/Razor Ramon ladder spot is from WrestleMania X. The Rock's "Finally..." bit is from WrestleMania XX. Where Steve Austin stuns both Brock Lesnar and Goldberg is also from WrestleMania XX.

With such a wealth of footage to go through, it's hard to get every great Madison Square Garden moment. You have 2 minutes to showcase the best of 30 years. You'll likely miss a few things. There was no mention of the awesome Bret Hart/Owen Hart match from WrestleMania X, for instance. The Steve Austin/Bret Hart match from Survivor Series 1996 wasn't brought up; neither was The Rock's WWE debut at that same event.

You just can't catch everything.

However, there is one moment that is undoubtedly missing from this video. It's not something that the WWE forgot about. There's no way that moment got lost in the vast video library that WWE owns. It was one of the top moments of the last decade, and, arguably, one of the greatest moments in WWE history -

Chris Benoit's celebration with Eddie Guerrero after winning the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX in 2004.

Of course, we know why that moment wasn't included. Benoit's murder of his wife and son in 2007 has pretty much erased him from WWE's history. His name is included in title lineages, but that's pretty much it. At the most, I've seen a clip of a match that showed a portion of his leg for a couple seconds on WWE television since then.

But, that wasn't always the case.

For people who weren't huge wrestling fans during the '90s, it's hard to put into words how emotional that moment was. Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero were two of the best wrestlers in the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) promotion during that time period. However, they weren't presented as such to the fans. Politics exist in every aspect of life, and it was very present in that wrestling promotion. They were kept out of the top tier and presented as talented guys, but not "stars."

In 2000, Benoit & Guerrero left WCW and went to WWE. There, they slowly worked their way up the ladder of success. Both overcame obstacles - Guerrero's struggle with alcoholism led to his dismissal from WWE for a while, and Benoit broke his neck and was out of action for a year.

Both were real-life friends. They met while wrestling in Japan during the '80s and went through the ranks of wrestling together. The fans knew this. They were kind of seen as the "everyman" wrestler. Two normal men with extraordinary gifts.

It's hard to describe the amount of respect that people had for both men.

In 2004, they were both finally rewarded for their years of hard work.

Guerrero won the WWE title in February of that year, beating Brock Lesnar. Benoit won the World title the following month, beating Triple H & Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match.

The moment when Benoit wins the title and Guerrero comes to the ring to celebrate with him, it's a genuine outpouring of emotion from fans. It's not often when fans are happy for a wrestler on a personal level. Sure, people are happy that this predetermined part of the script led to this wrestler winning the title, but not very often are people happy that a man won the title because he deserved it.

That was the case with both Guerrero and Benoit.

The moment took on added significance after Guerrero passed away in 2005 from complications related to Heart Disease. The moment closed the show during the "Chris Benoit memorial show" edition of Monday Night Raw, that aired during that frame of time between finding out Benoit was dead and realizing what had actually happened.

It's forever tarnished by what Chris Benoit did one weekend in June, 2007. But, back in 2004, this was one of the greatest moments that I and a lot of other people had ever seen. Not only one of the greatest moments in Madison Square Gardent history, but one of the greatest moments in professional wrestling.

Monday, February 22, 2010

RHCP - "I'm 18" & "Soul to Squeeze"



No real reason for posting this, other than I think it's pretty cool. It's taken by a fan during a 2006 Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. Something that was popular for years at RHCP concerts was for the drummer - Chad Smith - and the guitarist - John Frusciante - to improvise a cover song at one point. In this clip, the song they do is "I'm 18," by Alice Cooper. That then leads into the popular RHCP song "Soul to Squeeze."

For those who don't know, it was recently announced that Frusciante had left the band. It was announced a few months ago, but he had actually made the decision about a year ago. The band has been on hiatus the last couple years, and Frusciante's departure was announced before it was announced that the band was beginning work on their new album.

I don't remember the name of the new guitarist, but he's been a touring guitarist with the band for the last few years.

Frusciante initially joined the band in the early '90s, after the death of the band's first guitar player, Hillel Slovak. Frusciatne left the band in the middle of the tour for the band's breakthrough album "Blood Sugar Sex Magik." After a long hiatus - and a trip through rehab for a heroin addiction - Frusciante re-joined the band in 1997.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Concordian, Vol. LXXVIIII, No. 6

I haven't discussed Concord's student newspaper, The Concordian very in-depth in a while, so I figured now would be the time to do it.

For those who don't know, I was a staff member of The Concordian for 4 1/2 years. From 2004-2008, then the fall semester of 2009, I was on the staff. I held just about every position possible on the staff at one point, ultimately becoming Editor-in-Chief of the paper for the 2007-2008 academic year.

The paper is very near & dear to my heart, as I believe it is essential that the students of Concord are kept informed of what's happening. The newspaper is a great bridge between the students and the administration, as stories about each group can inform the other group. It's a great way for students to keep up with what the Student Government Association is doing, without having to attend weekly meetings. A strong newspaper is essential.

I was a huge critic of last year's paper. And somewhat of a critic of the current paper. Of course, my sharpest criticisms were saved for myself, as I don't believe I did my job well enough for the students of Concord.

My criticisms of the paper aren't nearly as harsh now, due to the fact that The Concordian is settling into its new identity. To be honest, The Concordian is not where you go anymore for breaking news on campus. They don't cover the SGA very well, they don't look for much scandal, they don't "dig deep."

And, that's okay. A newspaper doesn't have to be all "hard news." A fun, feature-filled paper is perfectly acceptable. That's what The Concordian is now. It's a fun 8 pages to pass the time with.

My biggest problem with last year's paper is that they were still trying to present themselves as a "hard news" periodical. They would cover some of the stuff, but not all of it. Students were expecting stories about the SGA and the controversy with President Aloia and all the VP firings and whatnot. They'd get a little bit of that, and then when they'd pick up the paper looking for more, they would find an article about how to brew tea.

There's nothing wrong with interesting features and human-relations pieces, but not when people are expecting front-page, breaking news. If last year's staff had just said, "We're focusing less on this and more on this," I would have had a lot less problems with the paper then. Instead, it just came off as a half-assed attempt to cover "everything."

This year's paper has settled into a nice groove. This week's front page has a good article how important internships are, a reminder about the "Roth Memorial Scholarship," a picture of the winners of a Concordian-sponsored Valentine's Day Contest, and a couple pictures of the snow and a message about the loss of class time.

It's nice to look at and easy to navigate. That's about all I can ask for. There's nothing "breaking" or "important" on the front page, but it's interesting to read and I enjoyed every article in the paper.

Here's a sampling of what I read in this week's edition -

Internships - opportunity for students to get their foot in the door ... Nice piece written by Svilen Trifinov. The headline says everything you need to know about this one.

Weekly Dose of A&E: John Mayer ... Jessica Fowler's column this week focuses on John Mayer's controversial Playboy interview. She's looking at the comments he made about several of his ex-girlfriends, including Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Aniston. She leaves out the part where used the "N-word," which I blogged about earlier in the week (click here for that).

Students beware of meal plans ... This is a letter to the editor from a freshman girl who thought that the amount of "flex dollars" she received was per month, not semester. To put it bluntly, this girl might be stupid.

Snow, snow go away - Amanda Lee writes about how the break from school due to the snow initially started out as fun, but eventually got dull and boring. She's become one of the more consistently good writers on the opinions page this semester.

Snow days are quickly becoming hazardous ... Svilen is back with some tips on how to drive in the snow. I also think he makes a joke about wearing condoms in his last sentence.

Grabbing Concord by the Balls ... This week's sports section was leaps and bounds above the previous editions that I've seen. The stupid comedy was kept to a minimun, and this week's edition of Kurtis White's column was no exception. It was actually well-written and interesting this week.

Have a Spring Fling? Or help Haiti? ... Kristina Rustemeyer has perhaps the first mention of the Student Government Association in the newspaper in months. It brings up the point I've been blogging about for weeks - the Spring Fling/Haiti deal. Click here to see the last blog I did on the subject. The only flaw with this article is that it may not have enough background information. If you don't know much about the SGA or read my blog, the article may be a little confusing.

Those are the more interesting pieces in The Concordian for this week. If you can't get access to a hard-copy newspaper, you can always read the paper online at http://cunewspaper.com/. Here's a useless trivia question to tell your friends - who came up with the name cunewspaper.com? Yep, me.

After we had signed the contract with the website company, but before we had an actual website, I created a MySpace page for the newspaper to serve as an online presence. Nobody's updated it in a long time; I picked out the current background over 2 years ago. If you want to see some pictures of me and others on the staff from 2-4 years ago, check out http://myspace.com/concordian.

* * *

For those wondering why I'm not blogging about the Student Government Association's meeting this week, that's because there was no meeting this week. It was canceled for the second week in a row. I'll be blogging about that soon. Until then, here are some tweets I sent out when I learned of the cancellation (All are from me, except for one from Mike Mann):

Sitting in Concord's library. The @CU_SGA meeting was canceled. I'd have known if they did more than put up a sign on campus...

I found out that an e-mail was sent out through the student list-serve, but I'm not a student, so I don't get the e-mails...

This brings up the problems with transparency I mentioned in a previous blog - http://tinyurl.com/yfxyc39

It would have been so easy to mention the closing on Facebook or Twitter, something college-age students check a lot more than their e-mail.

Here's the blog where I discuss the transparency issues w/ the @CU_SGA - http://tinyurl.com/yfxyc39 - guess I'll be writing an update soon.

(Mike Mann) @chris_slater it was on bill's facebook..

@SigTauGod Bill's only one person. It gets lost in the clutter of the news feed. There needs to be an "sga group" or something like that.

The @CU_SGA could learn a lesson from @wvusga - the twitter feed for WVU's student government.

Facebook instant message w/ SGA President - he asked the adminstration to send out a text message about meeting. They refused.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Empire State of Mind - WWE



From the dawn of the 20th century, until about 30 years ago, professional wrestling was a "regional" business. There was no cable television, no Internet, no real way of having a "worldwide" brand. As a result, there were smaller promotions based out of a major city.

Dallas had a promotion, Minneapolis had a promotion, Tampa had a promotion, Los Angeles had a promotion, etc. As cable television came into prominence, it allowed for greater exposure and allowed one regional promotion - the World Wrestling Federation, aka the "New York territory" - to become national; and later, worldwide.

Being originally based out of New York City, their "home arena" so to speak is considered to be Madison Square Garden. All of their original big moments were saved for MSG. Even now, a rare trip to MSG is considered to be a special occasion. The present-day MSG events are treated as big-time events.

The video embedded above is a tribute to the greatest moments in MSG history. It was premiered at the most recent WWE visit to Madison Square Garden, November 16, 2009.

Friday, February 12, 2010

John Mayer's Playboy controversy

If you haven't been following the news, and by that I mean the "gossip news," then you likely missed the recent uproar caused by musician John Mayer. In an interview with Playboy magazine, Mayer used the "N-word" when making a point. It was brought up in the interview that he has a lot of black fans. Here's what he said -

Someone asked me the other day, "What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?" And by the way, it's sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, "I can't really have a hood pass. I've never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, 'We're full.'"


The backlash was pretty quick. This just came out two days ago and people were quick to jump on him for his word choice. People labled him as racist, insensitive, horrible, etc.

Mayer was quick to issue an apology via his Twitter account, through several tweets -

Re: using the 'N word' in an interview: I am sorry that I used the word. And it's such a shame that I did because the point I was trying

to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. It was arrogant of me to think I could intellectualize using it,

because I realize that there's no intellectualizing a word that is so emotionally charged.

And while I'm using today for looking at myself under harsh light, I think it's time to stop trying to be so raw in interviews...

It started as an attempt to not let the waves of criticism get to me, but it's gotten out of hand and I've created somewhat of a monster.

I wanted to be a blues guitar player. And a singer. And a songwriter. Not a shock jock. I don't have the stomach for it.

Again, because I don't want anyone to think I'm equivocating: I should have never said the word and I will never say it again.

I just wanted to play the guitar for people. Everything else just sort of popped up and I improvised, and kept doubling down on it...


He also apologized during a concert, in the middle of the song "Clarity." That's embedded below.



My take on this? It's all been blown way out of proportion.

If you don't get the point that Mayer is trying to make, let me explain it to you. The term "hood pass" essentially means that black people accept you as being "one of them," even though you're not black.

Mayer noted that if he truly had a "hood pass," he would be able to call it a "nigger pass" because black people can say nigger and white people can't. That's the point he was trying to make and it got distorted by the media and people who are quick to jump to assumptions.

Nigger is a strong word that carries a lot of negative connotation with it. It would have been easier for Mayer to not have used it during the interview. But, if we keep avoiding words that scare us, then we'll never get over them. The only way to de-sensitize the stigma from "nigger" is to not be afraid to use it in the proper context.

One of the most famous comedy sketches of all time is the George Carlin "Seven Words" monologue. In it, he discusses the seven words that you can't say on television - "shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits."

The point Carlin makes with his bit is that these words are deemed so horrible and offensive, but really, they're nothing but words. They're just sounds that come out of your mouth. It's the people who make them horrible. If you just accept that they're harmless, then there's nothing wrong with them. See for yourself, video is embedded below.



Carlin also has a great quote about the word "nigger" - "There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word 'nigger' in and of itself. It's the racist asshole using it that you ought to be concerned about."

Of course, this has opened up discussion on the topic of racism. Living in a predominately white, predominately "backwards" area, I have seen and heard examples of racism. I don't understand racism, but I've seen it enough times to know what it is.

One of the best ways to combat racism is to de-sensitize a harsh word. It's like when you have a bully. The best option is to ignore the bully. Take the power of that word away from a racist and what does he have then? If he can't call you a nigger, then what does he have?

It's like the Beatles said, "take a sad song and make it better." Take a horrible word and strip it of its horrible-ness.

Speaking of the Beatles, John Lennon also attempted to use "nigger" for social commentary. He used it in regards to holding women down, in his song "Woman is the Nigger of the World." Listen for yourself, a video of him performing it is embedded below.



In the end, what will come of this? Mayer can never take back what he said, as it is there in the pages of Playboy for everybody to see. Did he take the easy way out by apologizing and moving away from his word choice? Yes. Was it the right thing? For his short-term career, yes. In the long run, I think it would have been a better idea for him to stand behind his words and be known as somebody who helped de-stigmatize a stigmatizing word.

That's just what I think.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Akeya's e-mail, re: Spring Fling/Haiti

Since I'm technically not a Concord student at the moment, I didn't get this e-mail in my inbox. I requested a copy from the SGA President Jeff Yeager and received it. He let me know that so far, there have been around 100 replies.

To give a little background, for those who may have stumbled onto my blog for the first time, here's where this all started -

At the 01-27-10 meeting of the Student Government Association, the Vice President - Akeya Carter-Bozman - brought up the possibility of doing away with Concord's annual "Spring Fling" events and donating the money that would have cost (roughly $10,000) to Haiti relief efforts.

The next week, at the 02-03-10 meeting, Akeya mentioned that she was going to send out an e-mail to the student body with four possible options for what to do with this money. She asked for students to reply with what they want to do, and the winning option would be what course of action to take.

I blogged about both of those meetings. You can see the links below:

01-27-10 Student Government meeting - I give my suggestions for what Concord should do with that $$$ that would go to Spring Fling. I suggest that we get rid of Spring Fling and not give any of it to Haiti.

02-03-10 Student Government meeting - I break the news of Akeya sending out the e-mail. Plus, I take the SGA to task for not having greater transparency on campus. I call the SGA out for not making sure students are made more aware of what they are doing; not only with the Spring Fling/Haiti issue, but with everything.

The e-mail is below, in italics.

* * *

Hello All,

I apologize for the email coming late. During my first attempt at sending it there were a few complications. The options for Spring Fling 2010 are as follows:

(1) No Spring Fling at all, instead split the budget among the following options: Haiti, Relay for Life, and student scholarships

(2) Spend 10,000 on Spring Fling. this includes T-shirts, dance, picnic, actvities in the Valley, etc

(3) Spend 5,400 on dance, t-shirts, big screen movie (w/ wii games, popcorn,and cotton candy). This option includes using the remaining $4,900 towards Haiti , senior gift, and student scholarships

Remember that everyone has a voice, but if you choose not to use yours then you do not have the right to complain. In order for your vote to count you must pick one of the above options. In order to vote please reply to the email, please include the number of the selection you want inside the email. Make sure the subject line reads: Spring Fling Spg. 2010 thank you. Due to the dealy emails will be taken until 2:30 pmn Tuesday Fed 9th.

Thanks,

A. Carter-Bozman

SGA VP '10

Concord University
Student Government Association
(304) 384-6242
(304) 384-5147
sga @ concord.edu

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I don't know if I misheard, but I'm pretty sure it was initially announced that there would be four options in the e-mail. As you can see above, there are only three. I don't know if one was dropped all together, or two were combined, or if I heard three & somehow thought it was four.

Let's take a look at the available options -

(1) No Spring Fling at all, instead split the budget among the following options: Haiti, Relay for Life, and student scholarships


The original option presented at the late-January SGA meeting did not include Relay for Life or student scholarships. I was not in favor of the original option, but I think this one is a better compromise. Relay for Life is a good project, raising cancer awareness. I'm in favor of the student scholarships option, as long as it's not the end-of-the-year SGA scholarships that are given to SGA members, by SGA members. I think it would better serve the campus as a whole if those are somehow able to be given back to the "common student." Something like that scholarship fund that Bill Lewis & the Q-Sack committee talked about over the summer...

(2) Spend 10,000 on Spring Fling. this includes T-shirts, dance, picnic, actvities in the Valley, etc

This option is essentially the "status quo." This is what Concord does every year, with no considerations for any other options. The activities in the valley are usually shitty-looking inflatables. There's usually a jousting thing, and one of those deals where you strap a bungy cord to yourself and race a friend, and some sort of obstacle course deal. I scraped my elbow really bad on the obstacle course inflatable my freshman year. It got infected. Gross.

The problem is, the last year I enjoyed the inflatables was when I was a freshman. When I was 18 years old, and acted a lot younger. They haven't been a popular attraction over the years. I doubt this year would be any different.

The picnic isn't much. It's a bunch of people sitting around "the valley," eating hot dogs and hamburgers while a computer hooked up to a speaker blares out some music. I brought up the suggestion last year in my old blog of possibly allowing alcohol at the picnic. If we have a picnic this year, I'll come back to that suggestion at a later date.

(3) Spend 5,400 on dance, t-shirts, big screen movie (w/ wii games, popcorn,and cotton candy). This option includes using the remaining $4,900 towards Haiti , senior gift, and student scholarships

This option is closer to what I suggested in my "01-27-10" blog I linked earlier. In that one, I suggested that we keep the best parts from the Spring Fling (the t-shirts, and maybe a dance) and add the money left over to the end-of-the-year "senior gift." Given enough money at the end of the year, I even said we could give some to Haiti. Student scholarships was one idea I suggested using the money on.

This option leaves less money than I estimated. At the 01-27 meeting, it was speculated that only $2000 or so would be necessary for the dance & t-shirts. So, that throws off the $$$ figures I mentioned.

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Which option should we choose? I will say, 100 percent, do not pick option two. The status quo of Spring Fling was horrible.

It depends on whether you want a dance and t-shirts or not. For option 3, I'd suggest getting rid of the movie. In theory, the movie is supposed to be shown outside on a big screen, but it usually rains and it has to be shown in the gym. Last year, nobody showed up to the gym. Zero. Not a single person. Rick Dillon and Marshall Campbell sat there by themselves.

I'd replace the movie with the picnic in the valley. Then, you could have a Haiti donation thing set up if that's the route you want to go. Get some canned goods or clothes or what-have-you.

Without giving it a huge amount of thought, without breaking it down & asking more questions (how much $$ goes to Haiti, how much to scholarships, etc...), it looks like 3 is the best option. It seems like more of a compromise than the other 2.

You have until Tuesday to vote. If you're a student at Concord, it is definitely in your best interest to let Akeya and the SGA know what you want to do with your money. If you have an opinion on this, voice it. If you'd like to anonymously leave your choice in the comments section of this blog, you can do that as well.

As an aside, I was mentioning this Spring Fling/Haiti situation to Kelly the other day. She's also taking a semester off from school and - unlike me - is actually taking a break from keeping up with Concord-related matters. I told her about the transparency issues as well. She suggested a pretty simple idea - set up a table in the bottom floor of the student center or in front of the cafeteria & have pamphlets and people talking about the 3 options. She also liked my Facebook group idea I mentioned in the "02-03-10" blog.

But, she's my roommate, so she may have just been humoring me...

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That's all for me. I'll put my usual disclaimer here - I import these blogs into Facebook. One of the options of doing so is the ability to "tag people," which sends them an e-mail alert about this blog. I tag people for two reasons - if I mention you by name or if I think you'll find this blog interesting. If you don't want to be tagged, let me know & I won't tag you in future blogs. If you'd like to be tagged, let me know & I'll start doing so.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm the Juggernaut, Bitch!



If you've never seen the "Juggernaut Bitch" video, then you're really missing out. This video popped up about 3 years ago or so and was a huge Internet hit. It's cult popularity was so big that it even had a cameo in X-Men 3.

X-Men was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. I remember watching it every Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on Fox. It's cool to see one of my childhood favorites spoofed like this.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

02-03-10 Student Government meeting

I want to start off by thanking everybody who commented on my last blog. I received a lot of interesting feedback. If you have not read it yet, click here to do so. One thing to remember is that I also allow anonymous comments on my blog. If you completely disagree with me and want to call me stupid, but don't want your name attached to it, feel free to do it anonymously. See more information at the end, during the disclaimer portion of the blog.

Before I get into the "SGA stuff," I want to point out one of the best pieces I've read in the opinions section of The Concordian in a long time. It's written by Wendy Holdren, the Editor-in-Chief of the paper, and suggests that trash cans should be placed in the parking lots. She argues that this would possibly help the litter problem. Click here to check it out.

If you're not a fan of serious reporting, check out the Sports section of the paper. If you want to know what the basketball coach keeps in his fridge, click here.

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I was taking notes during the meeting, so I didn't send out many tweets. The ones I did send out are below. You can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/chris_slater

Terms:

"RT" means Re-Tweet. If you see "RT" before a message, that means I'm re-posting what somebody else said. You can leave your own comments before the "RT" in the message.

If a message begins with "@_______" that means it is a reply to that person. If I write "@buckskeen," I am sending a reply to Buck. It's still public and people can see my reply.

The tweets are below. The first one was sent out about 45 minutes before the meeting started.

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On Concord's chilly campus.

I like to show up to the State Room - where the @CU_SGA meeting is held - really early, so I can pick out which seat I want.

I also like to watch people filter in & gradually watch the mood change from an empty room to a bustling meeting atmosphere.

It's gotten a lot louder in the room. Wonder if anything "interesting" will happen today...

I would be interested in seeing a breakdown of how many membere from fraternities & sororities hold positions in the @CU_SGA

I hear people talking about the yearbook. Again, where is the yearbook? It's taken about 8 months so far, & the 08-09 book isn't done yet.

A few more people in here than usual. Wonder what's up...

The Secretary keeps calling "The Concordian" during roll call. The paper broke away from the SGA nearly 6 years ago. Shouldn't be on roll.

I don't like how people in @CU_SGA giggle when asking for "qualifications" during appointments. It shows that it's nothing more than a joke.

The SGA VP will send out an e-mail with 4 possible Spring Fling scenarios. If u care, reply to her e-mail.

The Yearbook rep just asked for pictires for next year's yearbook. Are they working on 3 different books @ the same time now?

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To update the Spring Fling situation, there will be an e-mail sent out by the SGA Vice President, Akeya Carter-Bozman (on Twitter at @MzfutureCEO). The e-mail will be sent to all Concord students and will have four options for what to do with Spring Fling.

I haven't seen the e-mail yet and am unsure what the options are. I'm guessing two of them are "Give all the money to Haiti" and "Keep all the money for ourselves." The other two options are probably something along the lines of "Give some of the money to Haiti and keep some of it."

I'll post a copy of the e-mail whenever I see it.

It's really important that students reply to Akeya's e-mail and have their voices heard. Each student has invested roughly $26 to the SGA and a portion of that money goes to the Spring Fling. It doesn't seem like much, but it's the principle of the matter. It's your money, let the SGA know what you want done with it.

This is probably an example of one area where Jeff Yeager's SGA Presidency has failed so far - transparency. Transparency, in the sense that students know what their SGA is doing. It was something Jeff promised on the campaign trail last semester and it was something he mentioned in the beginning of the semester - to make sure the students of Concord know what their SGA is doing.

I wonder how many students are aware of the Haiti/Spring Fling situation? They're going to receive an e-mail about it, but how many are going to read it? If it's sent through the traditional means - by Lynis Hill, through the student list serve - I doubt many students will read it. Most see her name in the "From" line & hit delete.

There was a lot of potential for the SGA to be more transparent. First, there's the SGA Twitter account, which I have linked several times above. The problem with that is that nobody has sent out a tweet since August 15, 2009.

We were also promised a series of YouTube videos from the Attorney General, Bill Lewis. The first one, from August 13, 2009, promised more transparency from the SGA. We haven't seen another since then. Video is embedded below.



I'm not sure why the SGA isn't trying harder to utilize Facebook in an effort to reach out to Concord students. It's clearly the most popular of the social-network mediums among Concord students. I don't know why a group hasn't been created called "SGA Information" or something like that, which would keep students updated on things like the Haiti/Spring Fling deal or budgetary whatnots & other SGA-related rumblings.

I'm not sure which SGA committee would look into something like this. SGA Affairs? Technology? Publicity? Tuition & Fees? Okay, probably not Tuition & Fees.

I may re-visit this thought in a few weeks or so. I'll see how the "higher ups" in the SGA respond. Maybe they'll pop out a new YouTube video and start tweeting a little bit more. We'll see what happens with that.

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Some people were appointed to new positions at the 02-03-10 meeting.

In committee news -

Ashley Green is now chairing the Dining committee. Some girl whose name I didn't catch is now chairing the Publications committee. If the Publications committee merges with the Publicity committee, she would chair the new committee. [If anybody has her name, let me know...]

In Senator news -

Richard Babich, Josh Hannah, Hannah Matics, and Erica Meadows were all confirmed as Senators.

In Justice news -

SGA President Jeff Yeager selected Robert May as a Justice. It will become official pending a Judicial Branch confirmation.

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I only wanted to have one complaint in this blog, but I went off on that "transparency deal" before I got to my main complaint from the 02-03-10 SGA meeting. It's not just a complaint from this meeting, it's been a complaint for the last couple years.

I tweeted about it during the meeting -

I don't like how people in @CU_SGA giggle when asking for "qualifications" during appointments. It shows that it's nothing more than a joke.


When the President brings forth a Senator candidate, the floor is opened for discussion. There hasn't been real discussion on the Senate floor in years. The Senate are sheep who do what the Executive Board tell them to. They say, "Confirm this," and they confirm it. "Don't confirm this," and they don't.

Since they know that this person is going to be appointed with no question, the Senate members like to joke around and ask for a candidates' qualifications.

There's a reason a lot of people don't take the SGA seriously. It's because they don't take themselves seriously. Doing things like that makes you come across like a room full of kids "playing SGA" instead of being an SGA.

That's just a little food-for-thought, from a guy who has seen way too many incarnations of the Student Government Association.

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That looks like everything I have to share.

As usual, here's the disclaimer:

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

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