Those walking through Blum Union this semester may notice a few changes to the student union. Over the summer the upper floor received a makeover that SGA and the Student Affairs Office hope will make it easier for students to access resources in that area. “We see students from this office all the time come upstairs and not know where to go,” said Shana Meyer, Vice President of Student Affairs. “It was barricades to involvement. People didn’t know about the services that we had, and we know that when students get involved and engaged on campus, they’re more likely to persist and be retained.” Renovations were made to the Center for Multicultural Education, Center for Student Involvement and International Student Services Offices in an effort to make each office more accessible and visible to students. The renovations include large storefront windows, new carpeting and new paint for the offices. To Ann Rahmat, Director of International Student Services, these changes provide a more private space for international students to seek advice and feel at home. “For us, we basically want to make it into a safe place for international students- make it where they really feel like it’s a home, where they can be comfortable,” Rahmat said. “[Students] have always been welcome, it’s just that we’d be giving them more space to be able to be more comfortable in that space.” This new space is being completely funded by Student Success Act dollars. The Student Success Act (SSA) is an act that charges students $25 to $75 per semester to maintain and improve the quality of university programs and services like the International Student Services. The renovations were approved by the committee presiding over SSA in April. A new memorandum of understanding for SSA was also approved in April, allowing the money to individually fund student services. “The committee is comprised of both faculty members and student members,” Meyer said. “They worked through a ton of different options for where the funding might go. Funding was originally allocated to the union a couple of year ago, but it was just a process that we really had to work through as far as ‘what are we going to use this funding as a whole for?’” The renovations for Blum ended up costing $196,164 out of a $440,000 budget. With full-time students paying $150 per year, it would take around 1,300 students to raise these funds within a year’s time. Whether or not that many students will benefit from the renovations they are funding is to be seen. Student body president Alec Guy thinks the money could have been used on a number of projects around campus and that this project was worth the cost. “I do think that it’s a good use of money,” Guy said. “In terms of other projects and things like that, we just recently changed SSA to go to different student services on campus and actually provide them with more funding. So I think there are plenty of uses for this money that would benefit students, and I think this is just one of the many that will have a great impact on students and improve Missouri Western.” Gillian Evans, SGA’s director of public relations, believes students deserve to have access to the services in Blum and believes these renovations will make that access easier. “We’re paying fees to have those services there, and nobody even knows about them,” Evans said. “I was one of these kids, where’s it’s kind of intimidating getting involved. You don’t really know how to or where to, and then you hear about all these services that are there and these offices that are there for students, but whenever you’re a student and you can’t really navigate where to go, it’s very frustrating.” Students and faculty members alike are hopeful that the renovations will be able to give more opportunities for students to get involved. “You can’t make people get involved, but you can certainly make it easier,” Evans said. While the choice to get involved on campus is ultimately up to the students, Guy believes SGA still has work to do to promote the new space before involvement increases. “I think it will be a lot on SGA’s shoulders, so to speak, to kind of get students to come upstairs and see the services that are up here,” Guy said. “So I think that the renovations themselves will help, but we also have to publicize it and kind of let students know that it’s been renovated.” According to Guy, SGA has not made any plans to publicize the renovations yet, but will be discussing options further into the semester.
When Dale Krueger was hired as an assistant professor in the business department in 1984, President Ronald Reagan was about to be elected to a second term and Prince's Purple Rain was the number one album in the country. Now, 32 years later, he is the longest-serving faculty member in the Craig School of Business, and the lowest paid associate professor. In spite of that longevity, four teachers in CSB make about $35,000 more than Krueger-over $100,000-including a new assistant professor hired just last year. According to Krueger, when Western became AACSB accredited, the administration stopped hiring people without business doctorates, and began to hire at higher wages in order to remain competitive with other accredited universities. The cost of doing business The CSB currently has 19 faculty members ranked instructor, assistant professor, associate professor or professor. Out of these, only five remain from before the push for the AACSB accreditation in 2007. The 14 hired during or after the decision to seek accreditation were hired at considerably higher salaries than their counterparts. For example, three assistant professors hired last August are already making $80,000 or more, according to data provided by the CSB following a Griffon News open record request:
- Jeremy Logan Jones, Management Assistant Professor- $80,000
- Hillary Mellema, Marketing Assistant Professor- $82,000
- Kirill Yurov,Management Assistant Professor- $92,000
The Missouri General Assembly has voted to approve a state budget for the 2017 fiscal year, which will provide a 4 percent increase to higher education funding. There is concern, however, that the $873,000 in additional funding will not be enough to offset inflation for personnel salaries. Historically, when state allocations are increased, universities patch any holes in their own budgets, and then look to add to salaries for their employees. If the governor approves the General Assembly’s budget, this trend of adding to salaries will likely continue for Missouri Western. “Provided our revenue estimates leave us with additional funding after we cover our mandatory costs, it is likely we would attempt to provide our employees with salary and wage increases, and follow that with other budgetary adjustments if additional funding remains,” Cale Fessler, vice president for financial planning and administration said. Western’s Faculty Senate salary committee recommended a 3.5 percent addition to salaries to counterbalance Missouri inflation rates. The raise would provide the average salary with $2,102.10, which some believe to be a suitable amount. “As to whether a… increase is ‘worth it,’ the answer is absolutely yes,” Jon Rhoad, past faculty senate president said. “One must not discount the long-term, compounding effect of percent increases.” Though the Faculty Senate recommended a 3.5 percent bump for personnel, Rhoad is doubtful that the proposal will pass the Board of Governors. “The president is always careful not to promise too much when talking about salary increases,” Rhoad said. “I do not think that the salary increase will be that large. A 3.5 percent increase would cost more than $1 million for all faculty and staff.” Even if the full amount of increased state allocations went to raises, the $873,000 would not be enough to institute the Senate’s proposal. In times of austerity and large-scale state cuts, it’s rare for salaries to be a first priority for universities statewide. “I think most schools are using state funding increases to address inflation across their budgets so as to allow them to hold tuition down and keep higher education as affordable as possible,” Paul Wagner, director of the Council on Public Higher Education in Missouri said. “I don’t think many universities have been able to consistently give faculty and staff raises over the past several years.” In attempt to counterbalance inflation rates, many universities, including Western, provide “cost-of-living increases” to salaries and wages. The Faculty Senate salary committee has reported that since 2007, these cost-of-living increases have lagged behind inflation by 1.7 percent. That percentage lag has compounded each year since then, to the point that in 2016, faculty salaries are 3.5 percent behind inflation. In order to mitigate these inflation levels, the Faculty Senate has proposed a 3.5 percent salary increase. Without the 3.5 percent boost, inflation will continue to erode university salaries.
After busting out the brooms against the Washburn Ichabods, the Griffons claimed the MIAA Championship on Friday and capped the weekend off with a sweep of the Emporia State Hornets. Western was 9-1 in their last 10 games heading into the Washburn double header, but head coach Jen Trotter knew that they could not underestimate the Ichabods. “Washburn is always one of those teams that puts up a respectable offense,” Trotter said. “I was really worried about that match-up for us, but we took care of business.” The Griffons started off game one against the Ichabods with a bang. Left fielder Sydney Washington and right fielder Megan Korgie blasted back-to-back homers in the second inning to give Western a 3-0 lead. They scored again in the fourth inning off of Morgan Rathmann’s single and held Washburn scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning when they knocked a one-run homerun. The Ichabods could not claw back, giving the Griffons a 4-1 victory. Western piled on the runs in game two. Third baseman Katie Klosterman and Washington drove in the first seven runs for the Griffons. Both players hit homeruns, Klosterman recorded a double and Washington added a single, giving the Griffons a 7-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning. Washburn fought back, driving in four runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the lead to 7-4. The Griffons held on as first baseman Kailey Green hit a homerun and Rathmann singled, leading to an 11-4 win. Green and Washington launched homers number 14 and eight respectively while Klosterman and Korgie drove their homerun totals to 10 and two respectively. Pitcher Janie Smith improved her record to 19-8, striking out 11 batters in game one and fellow pitcher Shyanne Saladino struck out two while improving her record to 18-3 in game two. After the Washburn double header Western learned that they had won the conference championship, beating out rival Northwest. Trotter believes that one of their biggest strengths is how the Griffons play as a team. “What continues to be a great thing about this team is that they’re able to fight together,” Trotter said. Emporia was next on the list to cap off their MIAA championship season. In game one the Griffons piled on a lead throughout the game while holding the Hornets scoreless until the bottom of the seventh inning. Five players drove in RBIs the give Western a 7-0 lead before Emporia was able to tack on three of their own runs, adding one more in the win column by a score of 7-3. Game two was a defensive battle between the Griffons and Hornets. Emporia struck first to give them a 1-0 lead in the second, but Western added on one in the third and fourth to take a 2-1 lead. That’s how the game would stay, as both team were held scoreless through the last three innings, completing the sweep for the Griffons. Green took her team leading homerun total to 15 as Saladino recorded another win, giving her a 19-3 record. The Griffons finished the regular season at No. 1 in the conference by four games, which Trotter knows is a great accomplishment. “I knew that we were going to have a good season, but for us to get out of the MIAA, as tough as it is, by four games is something that I wouldn’t have anticipated, so that’s pretty neat,” Trotter said. Western will face No. 8 in the conference Southwest Baptist in game one of the MIAA tournament. The Griffons went 1-1 against the Bearcats during the season but Trotter thinks that might have been a good thing in the long run. “I’m grateful now for that split because I think that it will make sure our young ladies are really focused in because they know what can happen if we don’t play our best against that team,” Trotter said. The MIAA Tournament begins in Oklahoma City, OK on Thursday April 28 at 5 p.m.
Country duo Maddie and Tae are flying to the top of the charts with their debut album "Start Here," which they performed at the Civic Arena on Saturday, April 16. Madison Marlow and Taylor Dye graced Missouri Western students and the St. Joseph community with a live concert, featuring their hit singles "Girl in a Country Song" and "Shut Up and Fish." The duo have performed with several popular country artists including Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Kip Moore and Little Big Town, but say they love doing small-town shows. “There's something really special about a smaller venue,” the duo said. “It's intimate and we can actually see the the different emotions on our fan's faces, we love that!” Right now, Maddie and Tae are on tour with country artist Lee Brice, whom they say they have learned a lot from. “The more we perform, the more we learn, especially being out with Lee and seeing how passionate he is on stage is very inspiring to us,” Maddie and Tae said. “We want to leave everything we have on the stage just like he does, and being on the road is an adventure in itself, so we've gotten some great song concepts from that.” Speaking of great song concepts, Maddie and Tae are working hard to promote their latest album "Start Here," which was released August 28, 2015. The group discussed that the main concept behind this album is something very important to them. “The common thread in "Start Here" is definitely honesty,” they said. “Authenticity is something that we always hope to capture and achieve throughout all aspects of our career.” Another concept throughout the album is the topic of bro-country, or modern country music taking on pop, rock and hip hop influences, and how the duo are working to promote feminism in country music while sticking to the original country roots. “We think everyone should make music they love and are proud of, but degrading women should never be okay,” they said. “We see that negative trend slowing fading away and it feels great.” Maddie and Tae will be on tour with Brad Paisley starting in May, but until then they plan on focusing on writing new music for their second album, releasing their fourth single off "Start Here" and planning a fall tour.