Senate votes down leadership organization

At the final senate meeting of the semester, the Student Government Association recognized three of the four proposals for new student organizations. Epsilon Tau Pi, the Public Relations Student Society of American and the Rotaract Club became registered student organizations, but the National Society of Leadership and Success was denied SGA recognition. Senator Haden McDonald, who voted no on the measure, said during the first reading, concerns were raised by senators who thought the new organization would compete with organizations that already exist. "Personally, I voted no for the reason that the club did not show a clear difference from our business fraternity and it was stated in the previous meeting," McDonald said. "Senator Byerley said that it was a threat to her organization because she would lose some members to this organization because they would use it for a resume builder. It has a lot cheaper one time fee, as compared to her organization that she is the president of, where they have to pay membership dues." McDonald was not the only senator to question the need for the organization on campus. During the meeting Senator Brian Shewell raised his concerns. "How is that different from several different organizations that do the exact same thing, like Alpha Kappa Psi, like SGA? How is that different? I'm still trying to figure out the purpose." Clifford Peterson, president of the National Society of Leadership and Success, spoke on the organization's behalf at the meeting. Peterson said the organization's primary goal is to encourage students to become leaders on campus, but it is providing more leadership opportunities -- not competing with the preexisting ones. "I guess I'm confused because I'm not exactly sure why it has to be different," Peterson said. "I mean, a leadership opportunity for students to join, become a part of, grow have already proven on campus to make better graduation rates and better retention rates. The more opportunities we have on campus for students to do that, whether it's with this organization, or that one, or another, the better off we are. The goal at Missouri Western is to educate and graduate students who will go out into the world and make a difference." During the meeting, Vice President for Student Affairs Shana Meyer interjected that there is legal precedence to recognize student organizations under Healy vs. James. According to the 1972 ruling, there are three stipulations a university can question a new organization about: not upholding SGA's rules and guidelines, inciting violence of disrupting classes and inciting illegal activity on campus. The National Society of Leadership and Success met all SGA's requirements to become an organization. Although the organization met all of the requirements, the senate still decided to vote against it with seven ayes, nine nays and one abstention. "I think it feels weird as a senate because we are passing things left and right without questioning them and so, when something gets voted no and people aren't apparently giving reason, then it feels weird," McDonald said. "That's why it felt weird... Because there were no negative speeches presented because I think everyone had a clear mindset of how they wanted to vote." The National Society of Leadership and Success can reapply to become a registered organization in the Spring semester.  

Shotgun Club

Missouri Western's shotgun club enters its second active semester. The club President Matt Scholz, a manufacturing engineering technology major, got together with a couple of friends last fall after they learned that Western owns a trap range, located on west campus. "We found enough people that were interested that wanted to be on a team or learn about fire arms. We were able to put a club together, and so in October of 2013 we had our first meeting in Blum Union. Over November and December we did our paperwork to become an organization, and then in January we got recognized by SGA to be an official club," Scholz said. But the administrative work that comes with funding a club did not end there. Scholz said that last semester, the group did a large amount of paperwork in order to be recognized by multiple organizations in order to compete. The club is now recognized by Academics, Integrity and Marksmanship (AIM), the Association of College Unions International, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Amateur Trapshoot Association and the collegiate and high school division of AIM. The club currently has 12 paying members, according to Jake Edwards, the club's vice president. "We have members that shot all their life and members that never shot before, so you don't have to have experience to join. We also have spare guns for our members," Edwards said. Although the club was founded fairly recently, some members have already entered competitions. According to Scholz, competitions are also a good opportunity to promote Missouri Western. "In August we went to the World Championships in Sparta, Illinois.  We did pretty well at that and we actually got some interest from high schoolers that wanted to join a shotgun club somewhere and in the Missouri region. We talked to two or three high schoolers that wanted to come to Missouri Western," Scholz said. "With all the recruiting we do, I hope we will be a growing club." Along with entering competitions, the club would also like to host competitions at some point according to Coltin Ridenour, who is in charge of the club's PR and fundraising. "We want to expand the range so we can actually have competitions here at Missouri Western and have other schools coming in," Ridenour said. "Right now, we are working with a few people about possibilities to expand the range." The club is currently financed by the members' dues, which are $50 per semester, fundraisers and community work. "We are having a gun raffle in the next few months in late January or early February. We also do yard clean-ups and rake leaves," Ridenour said. Apart from competitive shooting, the club's goal is to raise awareness and safety of shotgun sports. Scholz, who is a certified coach, also held a safety class at the beginning of the year. According to Scholz this safety training can be beneficial to everybody, not only active shooters. "Without the safety training, the inevitable is that somebody eventually will run into a firearm somewhere. If they don't know how to handle said firearm, something could seriously go wrong that could have been prevented if that person had been educated," Scholz said. "Guns are just tools." The club meets on Thursdays and Sundays at the trap range and interested students are welcome to come to practice anytime.  

Senate passes $10,000 to fund Student Centennial Committee

In a measure to fund student activities for the Centennial, the Student Government Association approved a $10,000 appropriation on Monday, Nov. 10. The proposal was originally heard in the senate meeting the previous week. Student Governor Lionel Attawia sponsored the measure. Attawia, who is on the Student Centennial Committee, said that while the university has planned centennial events for the alumni, he would like the committee to take a student-centric approach to the event planning. “The university has been doing a lot of things, particularly with like alumni," Attawia said. "They have some ideas of what would be cool for students, but they don’t know exactly what would be best for students so that’s why they made this committee.” The $10,000 appropriation will be taken from the SGA rollover fund that totals approximately $78,000. The rollover fund is an accumulation of end-of-year funds that have not been spent. SGA President Daniel Hager said the rollover has not been spent in several years. “Obviously this rollover has been an accumulation of multiple years,” Hager said. “This has been an ongoing thing. Anywhere that we don’t spend our money exactly as we budgeted it out it goes over to rollover… We have all of this left over rollover money and now senators are trying to come up with ideas on what to spend with it so this is one of the projects that we are actually taking out of rollover.” The proposal was originally worded to take money out of the 2014-2015 Special Projects budget, but was amended by Senator Brian Shewell to be funded from rollover funds. Although the rollover totals $78,000, some senators were reluctant to fund the Student Centennial Committee. Senator Jacob Teasley questioned the amount of the proposal. During a meeting he said, “ Ten thousand is a large amount of money. If we don’t fund this, the events would still happen.” Teasley voted no on the proposal. Prior to the approval of $10,000, the Student Centennial Committee had a budget of $1,000 from a donation. After the approval, the total budget is $11,000. Attawia attributes the conflict to the senate’s fiscally responsible nature. “Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money, but when you think of it over the course of a year, it’s really not too bad when you want to do all these events and you think of all the cost for all the events,” he said. “That’s where the conflict came from, but it’s not usual because this is a once in a lifetime event.” Now, due to the initiative passing, students will be able to take advantage of another once in a lifetime event. The Student Centennial Committee plans to purchase a time capsule that students can fill with items that are significant to them. “If you’re a student and you just have something special to you, you can put it in the time capsule,” Attawia said. “It’s definitely something that is open for students and I feel like it will be seen as a crowning jewel, especially where it will be put.” The time capsule cannot be buried, but instead bolted in Blum Student Union. It will be reopened in 50 years – in 2065. Attawia said an email will be sent to students encouraging them to donate items to put into the time capsule. For more information, contact Attawia at lattawia@missouriwestern.edu.

Speech and Debate ranked No. 31 in America, hosts high school tournament

Missouri Western's debate team has racked up several impressive victories in order to be No. 31 in the country. The Speech and Debate program, which is co-directed by Sohail Jouya and Abi Richardson, is only in its second year of existence after being defunct for over a decade, and is proving that it is back in a big way. "We are crushing teams that are a lot more prestigious than we are," said Jouya, who has a history of competing in debate at Oxford University. The program has beaten schools such as Washburn, William Jewell, Texas Tech, Cal-Berkeley, Oregon and Oklahoma City. Recently, they competed at the University of Central Missouri and placed 3rd in Overall Debate Sweepstakes among 28 colleges and universities from across the nation. The top team in the program, which is comprised of sophomores Mike Smith and Chris Miles, is currently ranked No. 16 in the United States. "Being such a young program we have something to prove, and we debate with a chip on our shoulder," Miles said.  "Being the underdogs is kind of a good position to be in." Miles, who has been debating for seven years and is an assistant coach at Fort Osage High School, believes that the experience of his coaches and the amount of research that he and his fellow debaters do has made the program as strong as it is. "By the time someone will finish their debate career they would have done more research per year than it would take to do a Master's dissertation," Miles said. Miles expects the school to do at least this well next year, and expects to be ranked in the top 10 with his partner Mike Smith. This weekend, on Friday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 15, Western will be hosting the Golden Griffon Invitational.  This will be the first time since 1987 that Western has hosted a debate tournament. Jouya estimates that  there will be 300 to 400 high school students competing on campus. These students are coming from 23 different schools from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska. The Speech and Debate program plans on using this tournament as a way to recruit students for the university by showing them the academic side of Western. "We are the academic face of the university," Jouya said. "We plan on recruiting students for Missouri Western as a whole." The program is currently looking for students, faculty and alumni to volunteer to judge the tournament. Sign up sheets and information for judging can be found on Western's Speech and Debate website, as well as the Speech and Debate team's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Homecoming Parade 2014

This year's homecoming parade took place last Saturday and was blessed with beautiful weather. Mackenzie Lovitt, an art therapy major, watched the parade for the first time. "I really liked the parade, this year was my first time being here and it was really cool," Lovitt said. Sharon Rodriguez Benarroch, vice president of the international students club , helped organizing the ISC's parade entry and agrees with Lovitt. "I really liked the parade, I like that fact that everybody meets and they all go downtown, and the committee gets to see all the different organizations," Rodriguez said. Rodriguez is also happy with the overall organization done by the parade chair of the homecoming committee. "It was well organized, it was clear where everybody was supposed to be, the person that we were supposed to check in with, it was also clear what the judges's criteria for the float was," Rodriguez said. Katie Griffith, who worked as the homecoming committee's public relations chair, said a lot of work went into planning the parade. "Everything turned out really good, we are happy with how it went. I think everything went smoothly, the organizations were in one place and the bands in another, so having them in different spots really helped to make everything less crowded. So it was easier for them to come out, and we had people telling them to go in which spot," Griffith said. The parade chair had been planning the parade several months ahead. "They have been planning the parade since we found out which chair of the homecoming committee we are on, so they started planning that night. It was March or April when they started planning," Griffith said. Planning includes appointing and contacting the judges for the floats and working out a route for the parade. "The people on the committee figure out the route of the parade and then they talk to City Hall and find out if that will work for them and get it approved that way. They had it approved since last spring, so they've had it approved for a while," Griffith said. The student organizations put in a lot of hard work and time as well. "We had a problem with the truck and the trailor, to get the storage organized, so we have been working on it the last week. It has been pretty intense, we worked during the day and also during the night. We worked on shifts, around twenty people in total. I think I slept three or four hours the night before the parade," Rodriguez said. Still, Rodriguez is positive that the effort was worth it. "I was very happy with the float. I was also happy that a lot of international students came that morning, I was actually surprised it were that many because I thought at 6 a.m. nobody would show up. I think we were around 60 in total, we were the biggest group which was very cool," Rodriguez said. Despite that, Rodriguez was not completely happy with the judging process. "At the time they were judging we couldn't have the music on, and we weren't allowed to be loud because we were in a residential area. We felt this was a disadvantage because our main factor was to be loud and show our spirit, so I don't know how they judge the overall spirit when we have to be quiet," Rodriguez said. "We didn't understand why there was such a big gap between when you had to be there and the judging. We had to be there at 6 a.m. and judging was at 8 a.m., and the parade started at 9 a.m. I think it would be helpful to be judged while walking in the parade so they see the sound and dancing and spirit." However, according to Griffith they have a reason for setting up the contest like this. "In years past it rained out and it's hard to get judges in different spots. That's why we started setting them up in line, because when it rains their float might get ruined," Griffith said. According to Shae Fannon, who was in charge of the parade together with fellow student Jessica Roark, the judges - appointed by the chair's advisor Colleen Kowich - use different criteria to appoint a winner. "The judges judged on appearance, props, creativity, adherence to theme and overall presentation on a scale of 1 to 5," Fannon said. There were a total of 60 entries in this year's parade including 15 bands, 12 politicians, 18 student organizations and multiple entries from community members, according to Fannon. Lovitt said her favourite float was Alpha Sigma Alpha's. "I really liked ASA's costumes," Lovitt said. ASA came in second, followed by Sigma Sigma Sigma in third place. Phi Delta Theta won the float contest.