Session of April 21, 2016
April 21, 2016
Minutes Recorded by: Alisa Wilson, Senate Secretary
Guests: LeTourneau University President - Dr. Lunsford, Student Body President - Morgan Weaver, Student Body Treasurer - Matthew Staley, YAC President - Danielle Lamphear, and Elected 2016-17 Student Body Treasurer - Jeremy Goossen
Call to Order at 11:00 am
Approval of Minutes
PPT Goode: Due to excessive amounts of absences, Senator Bartels and Senator Supanich have been removed from the roll.
Sen. Naas, FAC: When submitting receipts to Senator Ladd, put the name of the bill that the reimbursement is going toward.
Sen. Hartsfield, Student Life: Next Thursday we are during an event for hell week from 3-5 in ASC. We're doing coffee, tea, maybe some kind of food, coloring books, and board games. We need people to come help with that. We'll send out an email later asking for help.
Sen. Naas: Bill brought to the floor: "Senate Celebration Act of 2016," allocating $400 for a Senate celebration for current and newly elected senators at a local restaurant.
VP Hollis: This is something we do every year. We typically go to Butcher Shop. Wanda said it usually costs a little less than this. It will likely be Monday. You'll get a free dinner, get to hang out, sometimes we give out goofy awards to have fun. It is a time for us all to get together and celebrate the work we've done and celebrate our seniors.
Sen. Iverson: What time on Monday?
VP Hollis: We'll figure it out.
Sen. Rose: Is there a maximum target for how much we're willing to spend on each senator?
VP Hollis: You get a burger. We have $400 to spend. We don't have a budget for each person.
The bill passes.
Senator McConnell added to the roll.
Pres. Lunsford: First I want to talk about some things that I'm celebrating about this past year. Back in the fall, we celebrated the end of our big fundraising campaign. We raised about $31 million; a majority went into student scholarships. The student center is the biggest capital project that came out of that. It was a good year for our yellowjacket athletic teams. SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, is an organization that gives us authorization to give degrees. We only missed 2 out of 96 of their standards. We are creating a writing center that will be on campus. Our first two nursing graduates will cross the stage this year. I am celebrating the Dance that happened this semester. Next are some things that I am not celebrating. A $2 million budget cut we had to make. We spend about $50 million per year. We have 500 employees. 15 positions had to be cut. Yik Yak is a bummer. It's vile, disgusting, and the bullying is very troubling. Now I have some questions I want to ask you all. We have great academic programs. How do we continue to build student life so the overall student experience is just as great? One quality that I've seen in all leaders is that when everybody else was not willing to step forward, they stepped forward. Thank you for being willing to step forward and do your part.
Sen. Whipple: You mentioned some of the others schools doing things to stop Yik Yak. What are they doing or what are your plans?
Pres. Lunsford: Schools are addressing it head on, such as in chapel programs. I haven't really heard of people stopping it, I don't know if you can other than by having intentional conversation about how destructive it is.
VP Hollis: On their website, they discourage bullying. Is there a way for the school to contact them?
Steve Conn: There needs to be multiple posts from the same person targeting someone. Because it's anonymous, one mean comment is not legal harassment unless it's a threat. You need to establish a pattern. Yik Yak does not like to reveal the identity of their users because it is anonymous. We've been in contact with them and it's difficult.
Pres. Lunsford: I think it's fair to say Yik Yak is not going to be part of the answer.
Steve Conn: They have agreed that the app will not work for minors, but they have refused to do the same for colleges.
Sen. Hoos: What if every senator down-voted every comment? Some colleges have blocked Yik Yak from their servers, but cellular signals can still access it.
Steve Conn: We've talked about it with Matthew Henry, and we could block it on our servers but you could just switch to 3G.
Sen. Hoos: For improving gender and racial ratios, I think it would be good for the school to send representatives to FIRST competitions. FIRST is an umbrella organization over FRC, FTC, FLL, and junior FLL local robotics competitions with hundreds and thousands of high school students looking for colleges. The world championship is in St. Louis.
Sen. Rose: Where does the school currently stand financially and what is the school's vision for the future?
Pres. Lunsford: Financially, we have a budget for next year. Based on estimates, we think we have a balanced budget. We have a $42 million spending plan and we think we'll get that much tuition revenue.
Sen. Rose: Is there a plan for what the school is going to be within the next five years?
Pres. Lunsford: We have 3 five year goals: grow enrollment, work on workplace integrating Christian faith into everything we teach and do, and identify where we can be more innovative in the way we teach classes and bring innovations to campus.
Sen. Butz: With Yik Yak, recently they started having tags, anytime that they post the tag is trackable.
VP Hollis: You don't have to use the handle, you can turn that function off.
Sen. Butz: On improving gender equality, with that are you considering reassessing visitation hours? I have friends that are engineers and pilots and they like to study together, but often times they would like to be able to study in residence halls.
Pres. Lunsford: I have not personally thought about it. If you're going to have the broader conversation about the student life experience, that's a piece of that. I appreciate that observation.
Sen. Butler: In high school i was an ambassador for Texas state universities and worked in the cyber bullying division. I might be a resource that can help if needed in dealing with Yik Yak. What's your vision on the School of Business?
Pres. Lunsford: My background is in business. I was a business school professor. My ultimate vision for LeTourneau is a business school that I can be proud of. We have just struggled. We've had turnover of leadership and need to get some stability. We are the only Christian university in the U.S., if not the world, that was founded by a Christian businessman. We need consistent leadership to dig out from where we're at now. I am hopeful we're getting where we need to be. One thing that seems obvious to me is if engineering and business worked more closely together, that would benefit both schools.
Sen. Reddy: I think working together would be great, but do you think the business school could grow to become its own entity?
Pres. Lunsford: It's about size. Right now it needs to grow and then I think that will be what happens.
Meeting Adjourned at 11:48 am