Senate questions administrative members

University President Julio León visited with the Student Senate Nov. 17 along with Dr. Terri Agee, vice president of business affairs, and Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president of academic affairs.

University President Julio León visited with the Student Senate Nov. 17 along with Dr. Terri Agee, vice president of business affairs, and Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president of academic affairs.

Nate Billings

The Nov. 17 Student Senate meeting was officially 10 minutes long.

Senate president Eric Ducommun sped up the meeting to allow more time to meet with University President Julio León.

León, as well as Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president of academic affairs; Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs and Dr. Jack Spurlin, vice president of Life Long Learning, came to meet with and answer questions the senators had.

The senators had presented the questions a week before the meeting to allow the administrative members to look over and discuss them.

During the meeting, 14 questions were presented. They included topics ranging from building plans to sexual orientation discrimination.

The first question involved tuition fees and the possibility of an increase.

León said he will bring his suggestions to the Board of Governors on Nov. 29 and needs to wait for its approval before he could comment in full, but he did tell the Senate one thing about what he expects.

“I think you will like what you hear,” he said.

Other questions were directed toward the master’s degrees. McCallum said partnerships with Northwest Missouri State University, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Southwest Missouri State University are likely to come into effect during the 2005 fall semester.

The Senate also asked the administrators about the possible recreation center, health sciences building and an electric sign.

“We really appreciate the interest and initiative you (Senate) take,” León said.

He noted the administration takes the recommendations of the students seriously.

León said the architects suggested a $15 million rec center, but at that price, the students would have to pay an extra $150 recreation fee per student per semester.

“That put a negative light on the project,” León said.

He said the rec center would only be likely if the fees could be dropped to $100 or less.

León said the next priority of the Board will be a new health sciences building which the state will fund.

The building has been in the works for several years, but has recently been added to the top priorities of state educational resources funding.

The administrators also said the finishing of the football stands will be dependent on several design issues and what the Board determines is needed based on recommendations from a committee set up to discuss the situation.

The Mansion will also be remodeled, but the administrators said there was no definite date to the work.

“It is in our best interest to restore it and use it,” León said.

The electronic sign was also discussed.

León said the administration will help in the project if the Campus Activities Board and Senate hold to their positions from last semester of helping to fund the project.

A new baseball stadium on campus was also considered, but León said the plans were not likely.

“I think the baseball program has gotten used to playing in the middle of a city,” he said.

León said Joe Becker Stadium has become a prominent feature in Southern baseball.

“The coach and players are pretty attached to it,” he said.

The possible Carthage campus was looked at as well. The plans to move classes into the old McCune-Brooks Hospital building would have to wait until the hospital moves to the new building and renovations can be made. León said the project would be at least three years away.

Agee brought to the senators’ attention the computers in Student Life Center.

She said the computers will be updated with newer models. The computers are slated for replacement in the spring semester.

The second-floor lounge in the Billingsly Student Center will also be remodeled with new carpet and new furniture in the University’s colors.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Agee said.

The possibility of reaching out to international students was also brought up by the Senate.

León said the international mission of the University has reached the point that it is important to develop programs designed for the international students on campus.

Alex Vassilov, sophomore senator, brought up the appearance of the University’s Web site.

“It has many flaws,” he said. “Our’s proves to be old and inaccessible.”

León said he will consider the suggestions and appreciates the input of the senators because he did not know what students thought about the Web site.

Senators then moved on to ask about the possibility of a four-day week, which León said was not academically sound. Other issues were parking, exercise machines, tickets at the stands and core requirements.

The question of a 10,000-student goal by 2010 was also put on the floor.

The final question concerned the possibility of adding a policy against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The question addressed other institutions which added sexual orientation to their discrimination policies.

“We don’t do things just because other universities do it,” León said.

He said the discrimination policy follows the federal regulations and does not need to be updated.

The session ended at about 6:30 p.m.

“We had questions, they had answers,” Ducommun said. “I’d like to thank them for taking their time out to speak with us.”