The biweekly SGA meeting last Monday evening started with a conversation with Chancellor Leo E. Morton about the recent Bloch School fiasco. Morton thanked the SGA senators for their “extra service” to UMKC.
“This kind of service can really make a difference,” he said.
He then moved forward to discuss the Bloch School data given to the Princeton Review Board. Simply put, some of the data submitted “wasn’t right,” according to Morton. He emphasized that the Bloch School still had a reservoir of respect in Kansas City, and that people still valued the degree from UMKC. He did, nevertheless, apologize for the blunder.
The next order of business for SGA concerned the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM). ASUM is supposed to “educate students about the political process,” according to its Constitution. It is also meant to promote non-partisan and non-profit student lobbying. Other activities sponsored by ASUM include watch parties, voter registration and issue rallies. Knial Piper, the UMKC President of ASUM, said the role of interns with ASUM is to “provide a voice to the students of UMKC.” Piper also said there are critical issues with financial aid and scholarships.
Speaking next at the SGA meeting was Dr. Angela Cottrell, stepping in for LaShaundra Randolph, who was unable to attend the meeting. Her topic was the annual concert the Office of Student Involvement used to host =, but which has been missing in action for the past few years. Cottrell emphasized that there was “a considerable amount of funding.” She also mentioned that other schools, like Rockhurst, had pulled off similar annual concerts in the past and are still doing so.
For UMKC, the Kevin Hart comedic presentation in March 2012 “sold out in about a day or two.” According to Cottrell, UMKC tends to lack “camaraderie and community.” The simple issue is a monetary one – it costs roughly $100,000 to put on the annual event. SGA is the body that voted to move that money toward the Student Activity Fee Committee (SAFC). Student organizations request funding from SAFC for events and food for their organizations, and the SGA felt the annual concert money would be better spread over multiple student organizations than with a one-time major event. After hearing from several students, Randolph and Cottrell felt it was time to bring the issue back to the SGA. Cottrell said that, as much as she was a liaison, “we take our marching orders from you,” referring to SGA.
The meeting closed with two significant statements. One was from Carlos Comini. He conversed openly about the next SGA elections, saying that “our elections have been topsy-turvy.” The other was from SGA President Juan Garcia-Bettancourt. He said the SGA elections should have higher voter turnouts, but that he was proud of the SGA senators for standing up for their opinions and beliefs in the most recent SGA Constitution revision vote.
Directly following Chancellor Morton’s commentary at the SGA meeting, the senators and their constituents were invited to join Morton at noon on Wednesday for an open forum regarding the Bloch School issues. At this forum, Morton again acknowledged that things had been done incorrectly. He also said that 85 percent of the data involved came from UMKC’s Office of Institutional Research. In reaction to the Chancellor’s comments, student Andrew Miller said that he was glad that the “witch-hunt” was avoided.
“Our students asked great questions today, and I hope that they are as satisfied as I am with Chancellor Morton’s answers,” Miller said.