Welcome to Western, Freshmen!

Welcome to the incoming freshmen class of Missouri Western. It’s a new year, and the world is in the palm of your hands. Though you now have the freedom to do what you want, you must remember the cost of staying here at Western. It has been said time and time again that there are those who come to Western and believe it will be a piece of cake. Some have even gone as far as to say that we are just a four-year junior college that passes students right on through. Well if you take some time and sit down to talk with some students who are in departments, like nursing, business, or any major for that matter, they will tell you it takes work. The thing that you have to understand is that college is about meeting new people and living a new life; however, that’s not the half of what college is all about. If you are a serious student and want to get that degree, then you have to work for it -- harder than you worked in high school. The fact is, you’re at a four-year institution just like the University of Missouri or Northwest Missouri State University. It’s not as easy as you may think, and many have fallen thinking it will be. Here’s a little piece of advice that has been passed down from one student to the next for all those students starting their first week of classes in college: 1. The moment you get a homework assignment you get started right away. It doesn’t matter if it’s a reading assignment, homework, or online work, just do it! The problem that almost all students make is putting their homework off, and many have seen their fellow classmates leave right out of Western's doors for not keeping up on the work. 2. When you are given the opportunity to have a study group with three or four of your classmates, take the offer, because it helps. When you have an extra few hours to read a chapter or two to get ahead, take advantage of it so it won’t pile up later on. If you follow these simple steps, you should do well on your exams and succeed in your college experience. There are a lot of people that won’t make it their freshmen year. You are probably thinking that the guy writing this piece is just making it up, but in fact you will witness your friends and classmates disappear like a magic trick. College isn’t for everyone, but those who want it bad enough will work for it. So welcome to Western and the next chapter in your life.

New Editor-In-Chief takes reins

Finally! Finally! Finally! I’m the new Editor-In-Chief, which is a position that I  have been fighting for over a year now. Through hard work, patience, sweat, tears, yells and screams I have received one of the best honors a journalist could achieve, and for this I am extremely grateful. Now that the fight is over, the work was already begun. My number one goal as the new top dog is to be a true voice for the students. I want to reach those students that don’t know or understand the many things going on at Western. From the events, to the politics, to the funding, to the exciting opportunities that students don’t often hear about, I want to cover everything that involves this campus. If I could have every student just browse our front page or even take a quick look at our photos, even if only for a second, then I know I am doing my job. Readership is the biggest issue that any publication faces in today’s society. Why should people take time out of their day and actually read stories in the first place? Once a journalist can answer this question and provide content that is interesting, relevant and readable, he or she has found the true meaning of journalism. I wish to make all of our stories meaningful and appealing to the public while still keeping a since of pride and integrity at Missouri Western. It’s important for the public to know that the Griffon News is a composition of students researching, reporting and investigating all necessary elements worthy of attention. We are not drama starters, gossipers or whiners that report things just to stir up some conflict. Though some journalists are like this, which is quite pathetic, we are not. We are students that work for our campus and write and report stories for our campus. In response to that, we are not a pr campaign either. We do not simply run stories that are more in depth press releases with no angle nor since of objectivity. That is just plain, boring journalism. The Griffon News is created to be the campus’s outlet of information. What students and staff don’t outright say, we find a way to say. The policies and procedures that are too complex for students to make concrete sense of, we break it down for them. Those elephants in the room that everybody knows are there but nobody wants to acknowledge, we uncover them. That is what we do here. Being a senior that is entering my fourth year on newspaper, I have learned a lot about what a newspaper is supposed to be. Behind all the good and bad press, the stories, quotes, sources and photos lays a blank page that must be filled each week with content to ultimately better our campus. What I want to do is make the newspaper even better. I will do this by making our content great in every aspect and angle. From all perspectives, this upcoming newspaper will be so interesting and appealing that you can’t keep your hands off of it. It will be more then something you want to read. It will be something your friends, family, professors, peers and faculty all want to read. Because if nobody wants to read it, what’s the point of having it?

The rivalry that doesn’t exist

As a proud Theatre & Cinema student, I constantly have to hear about this “Theatre and Music student rivalry.” Let me say one thing about this: shut up. This rivalry? It’s bullshit. It doesn’t exist. Any more talking about it is just fuel to a fire that isn’t even flammable. The biggest example of this so-called “rivalry” was the casting of “Little Shop of Horrors.” A lot of Theatre majors were irritated by the fact that there were so many Music majors casted in the show. First of all: there are 5 Theatre students in the show and 4 Music students. We have the majority. Second of all, it’s a musical. There is singing. So the performers who are trained in vocals are going to have some advantage. And lastly: you’re going to be bitter towards a production because you didn’t get a part? How professional of you. This is how the real world works. You do not always get a part. You move on. One of my professors, and somewhat of a role model to me, once told me (in a nutshell) that you just have to forget about your audition. If you get the part: great! If not: who’s next? And when someone asks you how your audition went, you say, “What audition?” Let me tell you a personal story. I’m an actor. I love being an actor. And a year ago, I had no roles to my plate. When I would tell fellow students or my professors that I was here to learn acting, they would be in surprise. They didn’t take me seriously. I was bitter about this. You know what I did? For the next audition, I studied my ass off and put together the most intense and exhausting audition I could possibly do. I had something to prove. I wanted everyone to know who I was and what I was capable of. I auditioned with a purpose. This was my Romeo & Juliet audition. If you didn’t see the production, I got one of the most desired parts in the show. And I had close friends who were jealous of me. Mad at me, even. I still worked my ass off to get it right and I did. This whole experience changed my life. It didn’t just make me a better actor, but a better person. Not getting a role should motivate you. Inspire you to be better, but in a healthy way. Not in a destructive way. These words I use may not please you. These words might blow like a pipe bomb. In fact: I hope they do. This needs to be heard. We need to realize that it doesn’t matter what our major is. We are all here to put on an amazing production. Hating each other will not accomplish that. Hating each other will accomplish nothing.

Governmental Relations Committee’s student fee hearing

A much larger crowd than usual attended the Governmental Relations Committee meeting Monday evening March 26 to hear information on the proposed student fee. The questions on most everyone’s mind was, “How would the revenue be used?” and “What services would be cut?” The student fee, with a working title of Save Our School, is simply that, a source of revenue to maintain current spending levels. That is only part of the equation. The new fee could generate as much as $930,000 in the next academic year but only about half of the $1.6 million needed by the university. The remaining $700k would come in the form of cuts determined by the administration. The SOS proposal clarifies the spending through line items that deal with departments under student services. These are determined to be the items most important to the students. Most students I spoke with agree that a fee is necessary and acceptable to fund the university. However, many worry that the funds will not be used for intended purposes. The undetermined cuts trouble students because no one knows where the axe will fall next, not even those wielding the axe. The administration is not in an envious position. Governor Nixon is demanding that all universities do more with less. President Obama echoed those same sentiments in his State of the Union address. Therefore, let us do more with less and think outside the box. Missouri Western prides itself on applied learning. What the administration should do now is take advantage of our years of training. While it may not be easy to open the ledger to students, the time has come to sit down with a student task force to discuss the proposed cuts. A fresh perspective from those of us who have seen the impacts of staff and faculty reductions from the inside of the classrooms might make a difference. Budget reductions should not just mean an increase of fees or reduction of services. For instance, Barnes and Nobles is an excellent bookstore. Missouri Western staff and students from the Craig School of Business could run the bookstore cheaper and more profitably. The leasing of land for hay brings in some money but corn, soybeans or tobacco would bring in more. The SGA is also stuck in a difficult situation. They have the option of passing the fee through the Senate but that comes without the confidence of the student body. The students should vote on the fee once the university comes forth with budget. Yes, the semester is winding down and time is short, but with voracious, competent campaigning, I believe the student body would support a fee. It is only a matter of the SGA and the administration believing they can do it.

Students beware of SGA’s push for fee

SGA may be suppressing student voices! The MWSU Administration recently told SGA that student-approved fees would be helpful in offsetting budget cuts to the university. Many senators support these fees, but are afraid the student body may vote against them. So, in order to assure student fees are passed, they would like to keep students from voting on the issue and decide it exclusively in Senate, where it is all but guaranteed to pass. Here are the reasons they have put forward to explain this: “Because we can.” Aside from the fact that our parents ceased using “because I say so” as a rationale by the time we were old enough to perform simple reasoning, this justification offers no explanation and is a textbook example of circular reasoning. “SGA will vote on the issue because it can.” Well, students could also vote on the issue. Why? Because they can. In such an important election, why not make sure that all students get the opportunity to determine the outcome? What’s the real reason SGA may circumvent a student vote on student-approved fees? “Voter turnout is low.” So an election is not credible if voter turnout is low? First, people have a right not to vote, and if they exercise that right it doesn’t mean we should dismantle our democracy. Second, how would 18 senators voting on an issue concerning 6,000 plus students constitute high turnout? Finally, what was the voter turnout for current SGA executive and senatorial positions? If low turnout constitutes an illegitimate election, what is to be done about members of SGA? I have a funny feeling proponents of this justification may be reasoning themselves right out of their offices... “We represent the student body.” But nearly all senators acknowledge that student support for an additional fee is not high and that the fees, if left for the students to decide, may fail. Some have even admitted this is the reason for avoiding a student vote. So how is avoiding a student vote simply because it jeopardizes the hopes of the Administration representing the student body? “We know what’s best for the students.” One prominent SGA official said that since SGA senators agreed more fees were needed, they only needed to worry about how best to get those fees. Students’ voices don’t matter even in their own representative body! SGA should personally tell their fellow students this. Let your peers know you think 18 senators are better equipped to speak for the students than the students themselves. I would even suggest a quota of 340 students each since that is the approximate number of voices you would be consolidating into your own. It is not in a leader to take the easy way out. It may be a challenge to convince the student body to vote in favor of student-approved fees, but that is the responsibility of the SGA officials who support it. I hope and believe that in the coming weeks some members of SGA will step forward and provide true leadership and representation for the students. Whether you are for student fees or against them, we can all rally behind the idea that students’ votes should be counted. Concerned students, it would be great if you join me at SGA meetings, 6pm Monday nights on 2nd floor of Blum. Just showing up and watching may be enough to guarantee you a vote on this critical issue.