Guns on campus may create massacre

Everyone in America likes guns, right? Certainly, when the Constitution was drafted, guns were quite popular. Second only to free speech. Understandably, if you think about it, when much of the population still lived in wilds and had to hunt for food, and keep the wolves away. Guns make things like that much simpler. And with all the revolting that had recently gone on, it was nice to have a flintlock or blunderbuss available to match that soldier’s rifle. These are not those times anymore. Now Missouri is considering allowing concealed weapons to be carried at public universities. It is a fairly big issue. There are many mixed feelings on this. Here are some possible scerarios that could be the future of Missouri Western State University at least according to ideas around the Griffon News room. These are not real tales, so try not to get scared. Johhny Duke was sitting in class on a fine spring day and all was well save for the constant nervous twitch that the upcoming finals had given him. All it took was a single moment when he just snapped a pulled out the .38 special snub nose he was carrying in his sock. “Screw this place!” Johnny exclaims as he waves the revolver over his head to the chorus of shrieks rising out of his classmates. He levels the barral at the professor and...Bang! The student behind him has splattered Johnny’s grey matter all of the desk. This could be the end of the story. Some might say that because there were more people armed in the classroom, that there was a greater chance to resolve the crisis without too much carnage. It is the “Old West” argument, that if the populace is better armed, less people might be inclined to go on a shooting spree. If Johnny had known the student behind was armed as well, he might not have drawn his own heater. But Johnny wouldn’t have known that, because the issue is not simply about carrying guns in school, it is about concealing them as well. It is the popular opinion of the Griffon Newsroom that the story wouldn’t stop there. It is believed that in this situation, all chaos would break loose and head straight for the fan. Johnny’s college sweetheart, distressed from seeing her lover blown away, would whip out her Magnum and let fly three shots in the direction of the student who shot Johnny. That student would dive for a cover behind a desk while calling on his posse for back up. Four Holigans armed with semi-automatic glocks burst through the door, barrles ablazing as the class becomes a bloodbath of terror and violence. By the time campus security shows up, the story is over. The guns are quiet and the moans are loud. The carnage could have been avoided, if Johnny never had the gun on him in the first place.

Passing SGA constitution may not resolve all issues

Clarity and transparency are vital in a governing body. Without those two critical components an organization is endangered.

The Student Government Association is in the midst of rectifying a constitution that has plagued the organization for two years.

The previous Constitution passed by the SGA administration of President Natalie Bailey and Vice President Luke Herrington was passed by a vote of the student body, but eventually was overturned due to a failure to obtain Western administration’s approval.

The current administration of President Harold Callaway III and Vice President Jennifer Kohler has workedsga throughout their term to refine a constitution after reverting back to a pre-Bailey/Herrington version of the document.

Now, at the close of their term, they are prepared to present their work to the student body…

How many saw it?

Despite the fact that SGA posted the document on their Web site for student review, the association failed to alert the student body that more changes had been made after that point.

Changes that in SGA official’s minds that were insignificant, but should have been left to the students to determine. Students must have the opportunity to examine these changes and it is the responsibility of the SGA to ensure this occurs.

A pivotal issue in this debate is the alteration of titles for officials in the Resident’s Council and Western Activities Council.

For a constitution that has been in the works for two years, the SGA was remiss to wait so long to enact such a big change.

Why wasn’t there a chance for student debate and feedback in that time frame? This is an issue of transparancy.

The Callaway/ Kohler administration emphasized that the decision to make the Residents Council and Western Activity Council president’s title "Vice presidents" and the former vice presidents becoming "Vice chairs" was simply a matter of distinction for the sake of clarity.

Incoming RC president Samy Northcut voiced his opposition to the change citing the confusion this will create for constituents outside of the Western community.

Within the SGA there will only be one president, however there will be three vice presidents. The SGA vice president is elected on a separate ballot than the Vice presidents of WAC and RC, only confusing the matter more. As the senate president, the SGA Vice president title may also be diminished in the process.

However for the everyday student, is this really something that will serve the Western student body, or just SGA?

This is an issue of ensuring that there is no doubt that Western has only one student president. While this is true, how many students care about the legalese of the SGA?

Students care more about the leadership of presiding officers and easily identifying them. Students are not invested in making sure WAC and RC know that they are under the umbrella of SGA’s authority.

Student leadership isn’t always plentiful at Western. Of the 20 available senate positions, only 19 applicants fulfilled the criteria to be put on the ballot. On a commuter campus where students often have jobs, responsibilities and families—not everyone has time to volunteer.

A change like this has the potential to turn off future student leaders to a process so engaged in an internal power struggle of titles.

The situation begs the question; will the change do more to diminish the esteem associated with these roles than it will serve to clarify the hierarchy of SGA to students?

Students should be more invested in affairs of Missouri Western’s SGA, but SGA must give those students the tools to do so.

Get your John Hancock on SGA’s Constitution

SGA President Harold Callaway III described the organization’s constitution as the framework of a house. Both serve as the structure and strength of the larger entity. That’s why the ratification of the current constitution has been an issue of concern for the Missouri Western student body for the last two years. Despite several missteps, the SGA is now prepared to present a final copy of the constitution to SGA’s senate on March 30. The senators will then vote on whether or not the current copy will go to the ballots for a student vote during the election April 7-8. The failure to get this constitution on the ballots last fall was a critical error by the SGA. However the fact that students will finally have the opportunity to vote on this matter of great importance shows that the system is working. Regardless of how the campus came to this crossroad, we will be able to use our vote and fix it. With this new framework, the SGA will be able to pull up their sleeves and get down to the real work of helping run our campus on behalf of the students they were elected to represent. It is commendable that the current SGA administration persevered through this arduous task and is presenting the students with something that works for them. Every student has the opportunity to look at the new constitution online at the SGA website and can attend the March 30 meeting to listen to the final issues brought to the table. It is the responsibility of the students approving the constitution to know what they are voting for. While it is easy to feel removed from student governments actions in your day to day lives, the decisions they make affect your college experience. It is vital that students exercise this hard earned right on election day because it is, in essence, holding up their end of the democratic process.

Wooing advice dispensed for future ventures

Like blossoming spring romance, some relationships require a little wooing. It is not unheard of for a new lover to shower the object of their affection with flattery and gifts. Unfortunately with time, passion can fade and once devoted wooing can fall to the wayside. This is most often the point when the two lovers will begin to reevaluate their relationship and if it should continue. Missouri Western’s long-term relationship with their food service provider Aramark’s was renewed last week despite new competition. As of last week, Aramark and an alternative company, Sodexo Education were openly courting Western. The decision was made by a committee comprised of students, faculty and staff to keep Aramark’s services on campus for a period of eight or more years. The decision was influenced by the incentives the company offered in their proposal, which included: $3.5 million in projected commission revenue, capital investments, scholarships and other financial considerations over the course of their contract. A more pressing issue that students are likely to feel the effects of is the projected annual board rate increases that will accommodate rising food costs. Despite the fact that students were involved in the process, Missouri Western would have better served the interests of the student body by allowing students to examine what was at stake. Perhaps a presentation, or a date with each company if you will, would have been in the interest of getting to know our potential partner a little bit. After all, choosing a food service provider is a major commitment. Maybe the companies should have had to put out an elaborate feast, accented with soft music and candlelight. It could have been the start of something really special. But a decision has been made, and Western is content to stay with their faithful partner. It’s been good so far, so Western students should be grateful that the relationship is still intact and the decision has been made to “stay together for the kids.” The relationship with Aramark is strong, though not perfect. As with most relationships there is room for improvement and growth, but hopefully that will come in time. And maybe a little bit of healthy competition has been good for them too. They may be more inclined to fight for Western’s affection in the future.

Growth could be cancer

 Missouri Western State University has found itself in a unique position these last few semesters. It could just be that now is a time when people are looking for an education. The trouble with all this growth is we might have grown too big for our britches. With an 8 percent increase to enrollment there are now more students on campus than can be readily or easily managed.

With tough economic times, it is predicted that in the coming years, more and more people will flock to colleges to better their state of living. In his most recent address to Congress, President Barack Obama said, "A good education is no longer a pathway to opportunity. It is a prerequisite." It should be assumed that more and more people will be seeking Missouri Western when it comes to seeking that good education.

We should make sure that as a university we make the right moves to deal with this growth. It can present a number of problems in the quality of learning that the school can offer.

Often all we consider is the quickest possible fix. We create Band-Aids for wounds that won’t heal. When we are already spending so much money on other things, no one really wants

[caption id="attachment_1486" align="alignright" width="231" caption="By Marty Ayers and Charlene Divino"]By Marty Ayers and Charlene Divino[/caption]

to consider building new student housing or hiring new full-time professors. So we seek any other way to cover the problem.

Hiring new tenure-track professors is a no-brainer when you consider the possible coming growth of our university, especially when you consider how much this Chiefs deal could mean to campus recruitment.

If we keep getting bigger, are we just going to increase class size? That will be like shooting off our foot to free ourselves form the line of fire. Many people only go to our school because of the excellent student-to-teacher ratio. Besides, maxing out your professors like that is going to lead to stressed out tenured professors who can’t easily be fired and an ever rotating door of adjuncts who end up taking the money and running the moment they are let free.

Right now we are hunting shark out at sea and someone is realizing that, like Roy Scheider’s character in Jaws, "We’re going to need a bigger boat." More students mean more of everything like more technology, more buildings and more employees, and all that costs more money. We are already spending so much. But at times money can come from unexpected places, like the City of St. Joseph kicking in with their latest gift to the Chiefs project. We are going to have to spend money, and hopefully smart money that helps us grow without collapsing on ourselves.