Undergraduate Student Senate evaluations

Campaigning for next year’s Undergraduate Student Senators has already begun, but for the time being, we’re evaluating the jobs the current senators are doing. These past few weeks, we’ve interviewed the senators about the goals they’ve accomplished and made our assessments accordingly.

But before we begin, we must mention our frustrations with most of these senators. Many of them were not at their posted office hours and in some cases had not updated the hours since last fall.

The USS Web site is just as outdated. Many of the USS meeting minutes throughout the school year are not posted or are difficult to find. As of yesterday, the Allocations Committee hasn’t posted a single meeting report since Oct. 28.

These two problems with transparency are completely unacceptable for an organization meant to serve the students.

Bill Ross –

Executive Director

In response to whether Bill Ross has met his goals this year, he said “Yes, (I) far exceeded what I had planned.”

While we wouldn’t go that far, Bill Ross has been a solid though unspectacular executive director. We like his Collegiate Readership Program and his work on the Presidential Search Committee.

But on his watch, fixing the USS book exchange has been stagnant. He’ll probably be best remembered for taking on the guaranteed funding of the May 4th Task Force and, unfortunately, quitting.

Kevin Folk –

Business and Finance

The key factor to Kevin Folk’s election to his business and finance seat last year may have been his platform of fairness. He wanted to have more groups utilize the student funding available to them.

And he did. We can say that for most of his term, Folk has been true to his promises of fairness in allocating funds.

So fair was Folk that he, along with Bill Ross, tried to remove block funding for the May 4 Task Force, which received roughly $10,000 of unpetitioned money a year.

Needless to say, the bill to remove the funding caused a stir, and like Ross, Folk folded when the initiative caught flak from students and university administrators.

The Allocations Committee, which Folk chairs, once again sparked controversy when it initially denied funding to The Dive for yesterday’s event, “Satisfying the Starving Soul,” for being of a “religious” nature. We’ve called for this more than once already, but the allocations committee needs consistency when it comes to funding such events.

Unfortunately, despite repeated attempts to contact Folk or find him during his office hours, we were unable to get any response from him. And since it’s one of USS’s primary goals to be accessible to students, we have to give Folk a grade of non-attending/failure.

Preston Mitchum –

Student Advancement

Last semester, the Daily Kent Stater editorial board hammered Preston Mitchum for his idealistic proposal to control noise in the library. But it looks like Mitchum is a changed man.

“Sometimes you have to look before you leap,” Mitchum said regarding the library proposal. “There are just so many things to research, and you can’t be vague on anything.”

Mitchum was able to take responsibility for the mistakes he’s made and seems to be one of the more active members of the Undergraduate Student Senate. He works closely with executive director Bill Ross for aggressive USS outreach.

Mitchum also resurrected the Student Leadership Development Board that works behind the scenes to train student organizations. But considering the fact that the SLDB has only met two to three times the entire school year, we’re wondering how productive the organization is.

But what we like most about Mitchum is his accessibility. USS senators are required to have at least 10 office hours per week, but Preston says he does at least 20. Unlike a majority of the senators, he’s actually there during his posted office hours consistently.

Megan Sedello –

University Affairs

Any senator holding this title is the go-to person on judicial affairs. He or she is in charge of overseeing training of judicial advocates, representatives who are there to guide students through the university’s judicial affairs system. According to Megan Sedello, there are currently 17 judicial advocates to help students, nine of which are USS members.

One of the initiatives Sedello is working on is bringing back the All University Hearing Board. Instead of having a judicial affairs case heard by one judge, the AUHB would allow students to have their case heard by an entire panel.

Sedello stated on the USS Web site: “The All University Hearing Board is back in the game folks!”

The board isn’t necessarily back just yet.

She said the AUHB needs more members and some of those already on are still going through training. From what we understand, the AUHB has been one of the sole projects Sedello has been working on this entire year, and it’s not up and running yet.

Now that she’s running again next year for the same position, who knows if the AUHB will ever be back in the game, folks.

John McConnell –

Governmental Affairs

“This year I have met the goals that I wanted to accomplish,” John McConnell said.

He might be right, but it also isn’t necessarily saying much. The voter registration drive in November he helped oversee was rather successful. But he wanted to endorse Justin Jeffery for Kent City Council. According to the Stater last semester, Jeffery had never even attended a Kent City Council meeting before running.

He has done work with the Inter-University Council but has no concrete results to show for it. He’s done extensive work with the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, but this isn’t actually part of his job with USS. Good guy, unexceptional senator.

Karli Chaboudy –

Academic Affairs

Karli Chaboudy describes her run as USS Academic Affairs senator as a “transitional” one.

After the Board of Trustees approved the plus/minus grading system in Spring 2005, Chaboudy had to pick up where Fall 2004 academics senator Bill Ross left off. She decided to host a forum for students to educate them on the new system. Unfortunately, no one showed.

While we blame student apathy for the low turnout, the program can be symbolic of Chaboudy’s term. She has great intentions and ideas, but results have yet to be seen.

Chaboudy has also started a project to review the university’s liberal arts requirements by interviewing faculty about LER courses to determine whether a particular course is “effective” and of value to students.

Chaboudy said no interviews have been conducted yet, as the project is still in planning stages, but she hopes the next academic affairs senator will have some sort of information available to students online or in print by next year.

She has also begun working with faculty and advisers to improve student advising, but we’re not sure what can or will actually change.

Chaboudy is energetic and accessible, and if given more time to complete such projects, we’re sure she would be able to complete them. But that might just be the problem with being in a “transitional” term.

Ross Miltner –

Community Affairs

As community affairs senator, Ross Miltner has a position that has a lot of potential to benefit Kent State students. Last year, Miltner ran on a platform that included taping city council meetings and doing voter registration. Miltner has been somewhat successful in his initiative to tape city council meetings – Miltner attends and tapes the meetings himself before dropping them off at TV2.

However, the meetings air Wednesdays from noon until 1 p.m., which isn’t the best time for students to be able to watch.

Miltner also wanted to expand the FlashCard program and have more area businesses participate, although he now realizes it will take longer than he thought.

“It’s not something that can get done in a year,” Miltner said, adding that he would like to continue to work on it if elected executive director.

Miltner has achieved much of what he set out to do and even if it didn’t work, he has an understanding of what went wrong.

Sunny Brick –

Student Relations

As senator for student relations, Sunny Brick has the responsibility of keeping the lines of communication open between students and USS. Brick has accomplished much in her first semester, including “successful” Coffee with Cartwright programs.

“We had the largest turnout ever,” Brick said, referring to the session held on Halloween, where more than 100 students came to sip and chat with the president.

Brick has been keeping busy with the Commission on Student Advertising, which is sending out surveys and creating focus groups to determine how student organizations are advertising events.

“We are trying to determine the best way to advertise events on campus,” Brick said.

Helping student organizations advertise their events more efficiently is a great idea, but what about some of the campaign platforms Brick had?

Her proposal to better advertise Student Legal Services has been taken over by Preston Mitchum, senator for Student Advancement. Brick’s desire to reshape freshman orientation classes went nowhere fast, although Brick said she wishes she could have done more.

Whoever holds this position next year should be sure to come to the table with concrete (and realistic) goals.

Andrew Meeks –

Research and Development

Like any great leader should do, Andrew Meeks knows his limits and when goals don’t work his way, he adjusts them accordingly. He has enabled Kent State to be one of the most distinguished leaders on the Inter-University Council, an organization whose members represent all public colleges in the state of Ohio.

To ease the burden of all IUC members finding a convenient time to meet physically, Meeks has led the initiative trying to implement telephone and video conferencing instead.

As an advertising major, Meeks is also serving on the USS Commission on Student Advertising, an organization evaluating the effectiveness of campus advertising. By the end of the semester, Meeks wants to distribute a survey to students about this subject.

We don’t know how effective the commission might be as a whole, but Meeks seems to know much more about what the commission is doing than the group’s chair, Sunny Brick.

The final thing we like about Meeks is his commitment to transition. Although he graduates in December, he plans on vigorously training the senator taking his place.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.