Tag Archive | "MUSG"

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How arbitrary is MUSG’s allocation process? The Warrior goes beyond the paperwork

Posted on 18 November 2009 by Marissa Evans

How arbitrary is MUSG’s allocation process?
The Warrior goes beyond the paperwork
Marissa Evans
Throughout the year Marquette’s student government (MUSG) sits down to discuss Student Organization Allocation (SOA) for recognized and registered student organizations on campus. With over 250 organizations,, each one is unique in terms of how much funding it needs in order to have a successful event or year.
“The allocations are not arbitrary at all.  The SOA committee evaluates each application objectively looking for the benefits that the program or trip will provide to our campus,” said MUSG Communications Vice President and senior in the College of Communication Lauren Lakomek.
The MUSG SOA Committee makes the final decision on allocations. The committee is comprised of the Financial Vice President, Executive Vice President, Program Board Assistant, two Residential Senators, and two Academic Senators.  This year’s advisor for the committee is Kate Trevey, Coordinator for Student Organizations & Leadership for the Office of Student Development.  A week before every deadline, MUSG holds informational workshops for student organizations to educate them on the process.
“Its hard because you want to do a good job so your team may receive the most funding possible and yet unless the executive board before you leaves a sample of what they did its hard to know exactly how to write these out. MUSG holds a workshop on it and it is very helpful when you stop in their office but I think it would be very helpful if they posted some past requests they thought were well done,” said Marquette Crew President and senior in the College of Arts and Sciences Julie Knyszek.
In addition to workshops, this particular year the SOA Committee created a powerpoint presentation to give visual step by step instructions and information about the SOA process. This can be found on the MUSG Web site.
“The SOA budgetary process is divided into two lines; one for club sports and one for non-club sports.  Club sports have two deadlines throughout the year; one for the spring season and one for the fall season.  Non-club sports have eight period deadlines that they can apply for throughout the year,” said MUSG Financial Vice President and senior in the College of Business Administration Jonathan Giel . “During the fiscal year 2010, MUSG has successfully allocated to 58 student organizations totaling $60,383.14.”
Depending on whether or not the organization is in the non club sport or club sport categories, there are several deadlines throughout the year for each to respectively apply for funding. This year there are eight periods for non club sports and two periods for club sports. Each period is based on when the organization plans on having their event or activity. Though organizations are encouraged to apply for funding as early as possible, funding is generally given for specific events that the clubs plan on having. MUSG SOA funds speakers or educational events, documentaries and performances, advertising and publicity for events, and any event or services that are open to all of Marquette and enhance the community. For organizations that have more expenses this means working twice as hard on their SOA applications.
“I’m one of the co-presidents of the rowing team and because we are one of the most expensive club sports on campus, making sure we submit thorough and detailed funding requests is very important,” said Knyszek. “During the SOA funding workshops MUSG stresses that due to the large amount of clubs and requests they get the more detailed your request is, the better. Writing this out takes quite a bit of personal time because, at least for me, I know that the work I put in this could mean a big difference in dues for every member of our team. I would say so far the other co-president and I have spent about 6 hours on this and we are still not completely done yet.”
In terms of how decisions made, detail is considered a key factor in the allocation process. According to the MUSG SOA Committee, the more detail organizations put into their request the more prospective funding that can be received. The MUSG SOA said that although applications that do not provide complete event or season details are generally not given funding. A clear defined plan for each season with a through breakdown from tentative costs, to number of participants, to specific lodging and transportation details has a better chance of receiving more funding.
“Our goal as members of MUSG and the SOA Committee is to be financial stewards of the Student Activity Fee (SAF),” MUSG Executive Vice President and College of Business Administration senior Stephanie Stopka said. “We fully understand that it is our job to look at all of the applications with an impartial eye.  When discussing the applications we do not bring in any outside knowledge.  We only take into consideration the information that is provided on the application,” Stopka said. “The committee is looking to sponsor and support events that enhance the overall Marquette experience, aligned with the Jesuit ideals.”
However, not every organization will receive the funding they want or need. As the SOA Committee members are inclined to make decisions based on applications, they sometimes cannot give organizations all the funding they request. For these situations, there is an allocation appeals form that organizations can submit. Reasons for appeal include: the SOA Committee incorrectly deeming the application insufficient, the SOA Committee decision seeming arbitrary and inconsistent with similar funding decisions and practices, or MUSG not following its stated application procedures and policies.
Though the SOA typically covers organizations’ expenses towards their events, there are specific things the MUSG SOA cannot fund. These things include recruiting or fundraising events, capital goods (t-shirts or prizes), operating expenses (office supplies), non-current expenses (expenses that came outside of the current funding period), and any event that charges admission fees.
“In the past MUSG has been pretty helpful in allocating us money, I believe we are usually one of the clubs that receives the larger amounts of funding and every bit helps but it’s still hard because MUSG must split the fund between 250+ clubs on campus,” Knyszek said. “Because of the amount of clubs and the high expenses our club incurs any mention of reduction in club sports allocations is especially nerve-wrecking. Ultimately for the rowing team the amount of time we put in to the process is usually more than given back to us in allocation money it just comes at the end of the semester.”

Throughout the year Marquette’s student government (MUSG) sits down to discuss Student Organization Allocation (SOA) for recognized and registered student organizations on campus. With over 250 organizations,, each one is unique in terms of how much funding it needs in order to have a successful event or year.

“The allocations are not arbitrary at all.  The SOA committee evaluates each application objectively looking for the benefits that the program or trip will provide to our campus,” said MUSG Communications Vice President and senior in the College of Communication Lauren Lakomek.

The MUSG SOA Committee makes the final decision on allocations. The committee is comprised of the Financial Vice President, Executive Vice President, Program Board Assistant, two Residential Senators, and two Academic Senators.  This year’s advisor for the committee is Kate Trevey, Coordinator for Student Organizations & Leadership for the Office of Student Development.  A week before every deadline, MUSG holds informational workshops for student organizations to educate them on the process.

“Its hard because you want to do a good job so your team may receive the most funding possible and yet unless the executive board before you leaves a sample of what they did its hard to know exactly how to write these out. MUSG holds a workshop on it and it is very helpful when you stop in their office but I think it would be very helpful if they posted some past requests they thought were well done,” said Marquette Crew President and senior in the College of Arts and Sciences Julie Knyszek.

In addition to workshops, this particular year the SOA Committee created a powerpoint presentation to give visual step by step instructions and information about the SOA process. This can be found on the MUSG Web site.

“The SOA budgetary process is divided into two lines; one for club sports and one for non-club sports.  Club sports have two deadlines throughout the year; one for the spring season and one for the fall season.  Non-club sports have eight period deadlines that they can apply for throughout the year,” said MUSG Financial Vice President and senior in the College of Business Administration Jonathan Giel . “During the fiscal year 2010, MUSG has successfully allocated to 58 student organizations totaling $60,383.14.”

Depending on whether or not the organization is in the non club sport or club sport categories, there are several deadlines throughout the year for each to respectively apply for funding. This year there are eight periods for non club sports and two periods for club sports. Each period is based on when the organization plans on having their event or activity. Though organizations are encouraged to apply for funding as early as possible, funding is generally given for specific events that the clubs plan on having. MUSG SOA funds speakers or educational events, documentaries and performances, advertising and publicity for events, and any event or services that are open to all of Marquette and enhance the community. For organizations that have more expenses this means working twice as hard on their SOA applications.

“I’m one of the co-presidents of the rowing team and because we are one of the most expensive club sports on campus, making sure we submit thorough and detailed funding requests is very important,” said Knyszek. “During the SOA funding workshops MUSG stresses that due to the large amount of clubs and requests they get the more detailed your request is, the better. Writing this out takes quite a bit of personal time because, at least for me, I know that the work I put in this could mean a big difference in dues for every member of our team. I would say so far the other co-president and I have spent about 6 hours on this and we are still not completely done yet.”

In terms of how decisions made, detail is considered a key factor in the allocation process. According to the MUSG SOA Committee, the more detail organizations put into their request the more prospective funding that can be received. The MUSG SOA said that although applications that do not provide complete event or season details are generally not given funding. A clear defined plan for each season with a through breakdown from tentative costs, to number of participants, to specific lodging and transportation details has a better chance of receiving more funding.

“Our goal as members of MUSG and the SOA Committee is to be financial stewards of the Student Activity Fee (SAF),” MUSG Executive Vice President and College of Business Administration senior Stephanie Stopka said. “We fully understand that it is our job to look at all of the applications with an impartial eye.  When discussing the applications we do not bring in any outside knowledge.  We only take into consideration the information that is provided on the application,” Stopka said. “The committee is looking to sponsor and support events that enhance the overall Marquette experience, aligned with the Jesuit ideals.”

However, not every organization will receive the funding they want or need. As the SOA Committee members are inclined to make decisions based on applications, they sometimes cannot give organizations all the funding they request. For these situations, there is an allocation appeals form that organizations can submit. Reasons for appeal include: the SOA Committee incorrectly deeming the application insufficient, the SOA Committee decision seeming arbitrary and inconsistent with similar funding decisions and practices, or MUSG not following its stated application procedures and policies.

Though the SOA typically covers organizations’ expenses towards their events, there are specific things the MUSG SOA cannot fund. These things include recruiting or fundraising events, capital goods (t-shirts or prizes), operating expenses (office supplies), non-current expenses (expenses that came outside of the current funding period), and any event that charges admission fees.

“In the past MUSG has been pretty helpful in allocating us money, I believe we are usually one of the clubs that receives the larger amounts of funding and every bit helps but it’s still hard because MUSG must split the fund between 250+ clubs on campus,” Knyszek said. “Because of the amount of clubs and the high expenses our club incurs any mention of reduction in club sports allocations is especially nerve-wrecking. Ultimately for the rowing team the amount of time we put in to the process is usually more than given back to us in allocation money it just comes at the end of the semester.”

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MUSG: Double Sided Printing, Big Waste of Time

Posted on 31 March 2009 by Molly Petitjean

During the Senate meeting held on February 19, 2009, a very unimportant issue took up the most meeting time – that of Recommendation 6. Recommendation 6 was introduced to the Senate by Senators John Kristan, Mike Parreno, Liz Judy and Ellie Hastings. It reads, “Let it be recommended that the Office of the Provost begin to encourage professors to accept double-sided printed papers.” Aside from its silliness, which I will get to later, this recommendation that doesn’t really do anything has taken up so much of the Senate’s time compared to issues that matter so much more.

At the same meeting, the Senate passed an important election reform amendment that allows those students running for office to contact constituents with their consent. It reads, “Let … the MUSG Election Rules be amended to state: ‘The following activities are prohibited… Solicitation of votes by direct or indirect mailings (electronic or otherwise) or phone calls of any kind, unless the recipients individually and expressly request to receive such solicitations.”

This legislation, introduced by Senators Bill Doerrer and Tip McGuire, profoundly impacts the way campaigns will be run in the future.

It only took about five minutes for the Senators to make an amendment to the MUSG constitution, but it took them 22 minutes to determine whether or not to make a recommendation to the Provost.

Let me give you a brief history of this recommendation. During the Senate meeting held on Feb. 5, Senators Kristan, Parreno, Judy and Hastings introduced a recommendation that asked for the defaults on Printwise printers to be changed from single-sided to double-sided. The rationale for this switch was that it would save both the university and students money. Currently, printing two pages costs 14 cents whereas printing one sheet double-sided costs 10 cents for students.
During questioning, many Senators were concerned that the committee introducing the recommendation didn’t speak with faculty to see if double-sided documents would be accepted in class. It was also pointed out that it is a fairly easy process to switch from single-sided to double-sided on the print options menu, therefore making this recommendation unnecessary.
Finally, the dissent noted that it would be in bad to taste to tell the faculty what to do should an amendment to the recommendation be made about the acceptance of double-sided documents. After a painfully long discussion, it was suggested that it be tabled for two weeks.

Recommendation 6, which was discussed on Feb. 19, was a version of the original recommendation. At 8:02 p.m. CST , (yes, this time I decided to time how much of my time they found acceptable to waste) questioning opened for the new recommendation and several of the same sentiments were raised on the part of the dissent. The faculty again had not been consulted, nor had the students.

When asked if he spoke to any constituents about the proposed recommendation, Senator Kristan answered, “I haven’t talked to any constituents, but we were elected to make decisions.”
Really?

Come on, Senator, you were elected to represent students. How are you to do that if you don’t know where they stand on issues?
During questioning, it also came out that the Renewal Task Force was working on something similar, making the passing of this recommendation basically pointless. Kristan noted that they would like to hear how the students feel. However, he shouldn’t talk about students’ feelings because he admitted to not actually knowing them.
Another new concern was directed towards the persuasive power of the Provost. Senators wanted to know if all professors would have to adopt the practice or if it would remain a judgment call by the professors after the Provost encourages professors to accept double-sided documents.

For all of the hemming and hawing certain members of the Senate did during the period questioning, the recommendation passed with only two votes against it. The whole ordeal was finally over with at 8:24 p.m. The Senate spent 22 minutes arguing about something they had no intention of rejecting and something that won’t actually do anything. Anything! In my humble opinion, it was a giant waste of time.

I was upset as a constituent and as an observer of the meeting. When only one person was against this recommendation despite the intense amount of scrutiny it got, I was flabbergasted. Their time would have been much better spent looking into items that held much more weight.

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MUSG’s midyear check-in: Some progress, but much to be done

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Molly Petitjean

As the school year enters its second semester, MUSG is looking toward the future and has started holding meetings to discuss the upcoming elections. While this transition will affect the entire student body, the two individuals it affects the most are Ray Redlingshafer and Kathleen Blaney, the President and Vice President of MUSG, respectively.

As such, I thought it would be wise to look at their election platform and see what they have gotten done thus far and what is still left to be completed before the end of the year. I was fortunate enough to be able to ask Blaney some questions about where the Redlingshafer/Blaney camp has been and check out what the future holds.
Here is a quick refresher of what Redlingshafer and Blaney’s campaign promised back in March of 2008. They wanted to create a smoother Student Organization Allocation process, improve communication with the Department of Public Safety about what is going on around campus, and add more computers to the Alumni Memorial Union. In addition, they wanted to add a position on Programs Board directed at service, improve Marquette by making it a more environmentally sustainable campus, improve financial aid, and work on getting an electric LIMO.

According to Blaney, they are doing well at reaching their goals for the school year. In fact, when asked about the possibility that anything on their long list of campaign promises might not get completed, Blaney answered with a simple and confident, “no.”

How is the SOA process going? Well, there were several club sports teams that were deeply troubled by the lack of funding they were able to receive from the budget surplus due to submission deadlines, but the large number of students concerned with this prompted action from MUSG to find a way to get at least some money allocated to them. Other than that snafu, Blaney was happy to announce the holding of three “SOA information workshops… to clarify the funding process.”

She notes that MUSG has a “strong relationship with Chief Rickard” of DPS and the Neighborhood Initiatives Committee discusses safety issues on campus and the surrounding area.

As for the computers in the AMU, that is something that was brought to the Senate a long time ago. However, none have been installed and many people have complained that it has taken way too long to actually get the computers for student use.

No word from Blaney about the service position being enacted or proposed for Programs Board, but she said that MUSG started a Thanksgiving food drive competition back in November.

While Redlingshafer sits on the Environmental Task Force, nothing concrete has materialized out of this goal, but Blaney said that ETF is “in the process of organizing a new website to explain the sustainability and environmental movements of the university.” This future website will also include a place for students to post their environmental concerns.

The other environmentally friendly goal of Redlingshafer and Blaney was to have a working electric LIMO on campus but that has not yet happened.
It was unclear at the time of publication how MUSG has improved financial aid, but as soon as the Warrior knows, you’ll know.

As you can see, it is a mixed bag of accomplishments and hypotheticals for the Redlingshafer administration, however, Blaney, as noted before, is confident all the things they have promised the student body will eventually get done. We may have to wait until after their administration is complete to see their vision come to be.
If there is something you as a student feel is missing from campus, or if you don’t feel that MUSG is doing enough, there is always something you can do about it. Tell your representative how you feel, come to a Senate meeting and voice your opinion during the forum for concerned students, or even run for MUSG President. Elections are coming up, you know!

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Ousted MUSG Legislative Vice President speaks out

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Molly Petitjean

“Bad things happen when you mess with MUSG.” Those are the words that Abe Matthew said to a Tribune reporter on November 15, 2008. The next two weeks preceding his removal from office, he was under constant fire from fellow Senate members as well as the general MU student body. What was missing from all of this criticism was Matthew’s voice.

One of the biggest omissions in Matthew’s story was that the Tribune reporter that he indirectly threatened was an acquaintance that he had known for five years, beginning in high school. After the incident, Matthew even apologized before he knew that the incident was reported. “I felt comfortable making a joke to him… it got blown way out of proportion. I guess you can’t bring the organizations into it.”

Matthew asserts that while in office, he was one of the most transparent and open people in student government. “After meetings I would come up to the reporters and actually talked to them.” He also notes that he was against the Communications policy that MUSG put in place which says that Senators are supposed to refer all questions directed toward them to the Communications Department of MUSG, thus taking away any non-organization sanctioned comments in the student news. “If you take my words literally and [interpret] them as a threat, then you are neglecting my actions,” Matthews said.

According to Matthew “an implicit threat does not merit removal. I think that was an overreaction.” However, he was not pleased with the other alternative given to him, an unpaid three week suspension. Although he accepted the suspension, Matthew believes that a more appropriate response would be a strong verbal reprimand, which he got from many of the Senators. “I was surprised that [the reporter] even reported it. I apologized.” Looking back, he “would have been adamant from day one that this was an overreaction. I tried to play ball but it just got me deep in the hole. I don’t think that I adequately defended myself.”

Now that Matthew has been removed as Legislative Vice President of the Senate, Jason Rae has taken over that position. Expect a big difference in style between the two leaders. Matthew hopes that the Senate continues to increase its visibility in its role acting as a liaison between students and faculty and hopes that Rae will take an aggressive stance on issues concerning the student body.

Since he is no longer a part of MUSG, Matthew won’t be able to propose legislation regarding a huge issue he had hoped to address during the second semester – the program board. “Fifty five percent of the budget is allocated to programs that few students take advantage of… the benefits do not equal the cost.” His suggestion? “Cut the Program Board.” Matthew acknowledges that some students do derive benefits and that they still should be catered to, but the sheer amount of money hemorrhaged into a system for a select few is not the way to go.

Another issue Matthew hopes the Senate will tackle is election reform. The rules of the election need to be brought into the twenty first century. “Candidates should be allowed to text people… Today that’s an acceptable form of communication.” Along with election communication, Matthew hopes that a primary debate will be introduced in hopes of getting third parties noticed across campus and passed through the primary elections.

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Write to a soldier, make a difference this holiday season

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Molly Petitjean

Around this time of year, we begin to see advertisements for the picturesque holiday season. The fireplace ablaze, the snow gently falling, everyone is gathered together, sipping eggnog and hot cocoa. It is a time for frolicking in the snow like a seven-year-old, going to festive parties and exchanging presents.

Of course, that isn’t how it works at all. For most people, the holidays are a hectic time; trying to get all of the last minute errands run, finding the right present for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list, frantic cleaning in order to get ready for family and friends, all while doing everything else in their daily schedule. Let’s not forget finding time to reflect on the person that is central to Christmas. No, it’s not the big red guy who brings presents, it’s the little baby who brought the promise of deliverance.

For us students, exams are wrapping up right as the holiday season gets into full swing. As soon as our exams are done, we get swept up in the hustle and bustle of coming home, meeting with friends, and seeing family.

There are those, however, who won’t be able to enjoy the company of family and friends during Christmas. Our soldiers abroad will be celebrating their holidays on foreign soil while doing what they can to protect our nation and bring peace to others. While they will not be celebrating in an orthodox manner, they are the ones who embody the holiday spirit the best – spreading peace and acting as exemplary role models of self-sacrifice.

I completely agree with those of you who are thinking that I am crazy to be talking Christmas when we have not even reached Thanksgiving yet, but it is never too early to get into the giving spirit of Christmas, especially when an on-campus group is looking for donations to give to American soldiers scattered throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our men and women in the service do not have the luxury of celebrating Christmas at home, so it is time to bring a touch of home to them. I spoke with the President of the Arts and Sciences Student Council, Jacqueline Keidel, about the drive for Any Soldier, Inc. they are sponsoring. They hope to gather hygienic products, nonperishable foods and things like magazines, games and anything else the soldiers can use to pass the time.

Keidel made a passionate argument for the drive and looking out for those who are looking out for us; “it’s important to remember that war involves human beings – men and women with families and hopes and dreams… this is why the Council and I chose this project. It is a completely non-partisan effort that seeks to recognize and maintain human dignity, even in the face of violence and hatred.”

Especially with the holidays ahead drawing nostalgia and thoughts of home from the soldiers, it is important to remind them that they are on our minds. Having written two letters to soldiers already, Keidel notes that the soldiers “seem happiest just to know that we haven’t forgotten them.”

It is hard not to get into the giving spirit after talking to Keidel. Her enthusiasm is contagious. In fact, I chose to write a letter to a soldier. The Any Soldier, Inc. website notes that soldiers just want to be connected to the home they left and a letter is a great way to do that. I admit, it was hard to start because I didn’t know where or to whom the letter I was writing would go, but soon, the words just poured out of me. There is so much to say; a mere thank you wouldn’t do. Two and a half pages later, I had a letter ready to go out with the rest of the items collected to go overseas.

If you would like to donate but are unsure of what to give, you can go to the Any Soldier, Inc. Web site to see lists of requested items from soldiers themselves along with recommendations from the website. Another resource is the Facebook group, College of Arts and Sciences Any Soldier, Inc. Service Project. No money? No problem. A letter is always welcome.

Items can be dropped off in the College of Arts and Sciences office on the second floor of Marquette Hall or in a box in the lobby of 2040 Lofts. If those places aren’t convenient, Keidel and the rest of the Council will happily meet you somewhere on campus to pick up your donations.

While it’s too early for commercial Christmas and the buying frenzy, it can never be too early to remember the true spirit of Christmas and join in giving joy to others.

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An MUSG Senate turnaround? Senators finally go out and talk the students

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Molly Petitjean

During the Senate meeting on October 23, 2008, something crazy happened: the Senators were required to talk to some of their constituents for 30 minutes before the meeting proceeded with normal business.

In fact, I was interviewed by Senator Stopka during this period. Many of the questions prepared were the same questions I asked my survey population like, “Do you know what MUSG does?” and questions regarding the student activity fee.

I think that this is a step in the right direction for the Senate and so does the Legislative Vice President, Abraham Matthew. In fact, after two and a half years in the Senate, he pitched this idea.

He also noted that if this proved to be successful, it would be something that would continue in the future. Matthew also said that he was “proud and surprised” that the Senate was getting more done this year than he had ever seen before.

The information that the Senate has gathered will be drawn through the bureaucratic process and discussed within the different committees. It is a good thing that they have procured information from the students themselves to use, but it is important that the students take enough initiative to bring their concerns to the Senate because it looks more pressing to the members when an issue is important enough to seek reform.

On this day after we have all had the opportunity to exercise our civic right to vote, I encourage you all to step forward and ask for change you would like to see around campus directly.

Hopefully I will see you all at the next Senate meeting. I, as well as the Senate, anticipate your participation!

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Be the difference: Go vote on Nov. 4th

Posted on 23 October 2008 by Molly Petitjean

In case you missed it, we have a Presidential election on our hand, folks! Around this time, it’s common to hear political and idealist debates going on about who is the best candidate, what party ideal is the best, and ever funny Ralph Nader joke or two. I want to stop all of this craziness for a second and talk about something that is more important than candidates and ideals: voting. Good for you for being politically informed enough to actually form a competent argument for either candidate, but in order for your rhetoric to mean anything, you have to vote.

It doesn’t matter that your friends or your neighbors know what your political stance is, come November 4th, it matters that you tell the nation your choice.

So often I hear griping about how awful Bush is and how many people hate his politics, but people, he won two elections. Someone out there thought that he was better than the alternative and voted! When I ask if they voted for Kerry (assuming they were of age four years ago), the answer is often no; in fact, they didn’t vote at all.

Stop complaining if you chose not to exercise your civic right to cast a ballot for the President of the United States! If you don’t use the rights this country and its leaders work so hard to protect, why do you feel like you have a right to complain about how things are going? According to the US Census Bureau, in the 2004 Presidential election, only 64% of voting age citizens actually voted, and that was a record turnout. If you want to look at a more relevant number, only 47% of people 18 to 24 who were eligible to vote actually showed up to the polls and only 58% of people 18 to 24 registered.
Less than half of the college age citizens voted in the last presidential election, but college campuses are generally seen as some of the most active political spots within our society. That makes us all talk and no game. I am disappointed in my peers. The one good thing that the statistics from the 2004 Presidential election reveled was that Wisconsin had the second highest voter turnout (behind only Minnesota) and the Midwest overall was the best region.

The apathetic nature of students isn’t just found on the national level, in can also be found within our school. How many people do you think voted for the open residential senate positions? Only 580 student; this is the total including commuters, off campus students, and residence halls. Carpenter Tower senator Taj Sharani received only 15 votes to get into his senate seat. Of course, I am not accusing Taj of anything, his election is just an example of how apathetic and lazy our students really are. Marquette, get up and vote! It takes little time and if you actually voted, then maybe more would get done around campus that you would like to have done.
Get up, go out and vote. Don’t let me down, Marquette.

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The consensus is… the Senate is failing

Posted on 09 October 2008 by Molly Petitjean

As wrote about in my last column, MUSG punishes its Senate members by making them actually talk to the people they represent. How many? 25.

So, is talking to 25 students really a punishment? Not really. It actually should be their duty and goal to talk to 25 people a week about what they do and what students want. So I thought that I would try out this “punishment.”

I went out and asked 25 students questions about MUSG and all answers point to one conclusion: MUSG is failing. Almost every single person I asked said that they didn’t even know what MUSG did. MUSG has become a body of select individuals who make decisions affecting all of the student body (if they can ever get around to it) with little to no student say in the matter.
One of the biggest dissatisfactions with MUSG came in the allotment of spending. An example of this is the Late Night functions. Very few of the 25 people I interviewed actually attended these functions and those that did said they were only “okay.” Many suggested having fewer Late Nights with more appeal to the universal student body.

One idea that I had was to sell Late Night passes at the beginning of each semester instead of collecting a student activities fee. This way, those who wish to attend can benefit, and those that aren’t interested will not have to pay for something they see as a waste of time and money.

Also, where are the Late Nights for the 21+ crowd? Marquette used to have socials when they would roll out the kegs and have parties on the Central Mall. Where did they go? Marquette and MUSG should offer safe and fun drinking options for the upperclassmen. They have all students’ birthdates on record so there would be no way for underage drinking to happen, and it would be a great way to raise money for the MUSG budget and other student functions – possibly weaning MUSG off the student activities fee.

The legislation MUSG is working on isn’t a great concern to many students. The ISBN Bill is a great example. MUSG is trying to get the university to publish the ISBN numbers along with book title, author and edition number for all books sold in the book store so students can look elsewhere for their books. Heads up, MUSG, people have been buying books online without any problem. Congratulations for creating a bill that only the people who are too stupid to do a quick Google search of the book they are looking for would use. I hope it passes; I wouldn’t want to disable anyone from buying cheaper books.

Clearly there is a communication barrier between students and their government. When the majority of the students on campus don’t know what MUSG does, how are they supposed to know where to make requests or voice criticisms? Knowledge is power and without student knowledge of MUSG, our Senate has the power to make decisions without being held accountable to the student body they are supposed to represent.

So MUSG, while you were busy bonding on your retreat, you missed talking to the students. Here’s what they want: student employee pay raise, more relevance of MUSG in student life, greater advertising for campus events, information on what you actually do, more big-name concerts on campus, more library study space, a decrease in or elimination of the student activities fee, refurbishment of the Johnston Hall staircase, renovation of existing academic buildings, creation of physical education classes for credit and publicity of when/where students can voice their concerns.

I shouldn’t have to do your job for you.

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New MUSG Beatwriter: Senate say what?

Posted on 24 September 2008 by Molly Petitjean

Today, sadly, we end an era. Joseph Schuster is no longer writing the MUSG Beat column for “The Warrior.” To fill this void and ensure MUSG is held accountable to the Marquette student body, I will gladly pick up where he left off.

After Schuster was offered a position within the Senate as representative for the College of Arts and Sciences, he knew it was his civic duty to represent the student body for which he had previously written. However, accepting this position required him to relinquish his column at “The Warrior” due to conflict of interest. Since reporting on our student government is an important facet of our newspaper, we at “The Warrior” will continue Schuster’s cause.

I understand how some of you might be skeptical about the effectiveness of the membership of Schuster in the Senate, but let me share with you some information about him that you might not know. As his position in the Senate attests, Schuster is a community oriented individual who is willing to work within the system to make this university great. Previously, his attempts to create change came through his role in the media, taking his role to inform and react to the governmental structure seriously. Now he is taking a first-hand role and will not quit his quest for change and information.

To become informed about this new subject that I will diligently cover for you, I went to the Senate meeting on September 11, 2008. Before the meeting began, the Senate slighted Senator Schuster by printing his name incorrectly on his name card. Reading his column and finding time to criticize his words apparently left them with no time to read his name under the byline to get correct spelling.

While at the meeting, there was a discussion of the upcoming mandatory Senate retreat. If anyone was unable to attend this outing, their punishment was to talk with 25 students about MUSG. What kind of student government organization suggests talking to the people they represent as a punishment? Shouldn’t this be mandatory, instead of the retreat? What the heck? As a bystander, I was shocked that anyone would actually say that. This represents a problem with MUSG that runs deeper than retreat attendance.

Since the participants in the Senate are students, they have lives outside of their extracurricular activities and while they expend a lot of energy at various meetings and planning committees, there is not much time spent within the student body directly communicating with those they represent. Without this face-time, it is hard to say that the Senate answers to the student body. Instead it could be said that they really have to answer to their peers directly within the organization itself. They take their positions for self-gratification, prestige, and to take an active role in their extracurricular activity of choice. What do the students they represent actually want from their student government? Does the Senate know?

With Schuster now part of the Senate, it will be interesting to see if he can get them to figure out the answers to those very questions. So here’s to your new Arts and Sciences Senator, Joseph Schuster. Rest assured there is someone in your corner within the Senate. I hope to do justice to the student body and continue his cause and legacy as contributor to the MUSG Beat.

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MUSG does not want your opinion

Posted on 10 September 2008 by Joseph Schuster

Marquette’s student government is always making the claim that they are interested in hearing student opinions, insights, comments and suggestions. However, from what one can see as a student, it does not look like they are actually all that interested.

College of Arts and Sciences junior Brian Lois does not feel he is represented by MUSG. When asked if MUSG cared about student opinions, Lois responded, “No, they don’t care what students think. They’re going to do whatever it is they do regardless of what anyone on the outside says.”

Another opinion came from Claire Milbrandt, also a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences gave a short chuckle, before responding, “No, they don’t even listen to hall council opinions.”

There is certainly no reason to think that MUSG is not soliciting student opinions. Every Senate meeting they hold a “Forum for Concerned Students.” At which point, since no students go, the Senate moves on to the next item on their agenda. It is rather fun to see all of the senators turn to the empty chairs at the back of the room, filled usually by only two reporters, who also analyze the other 30 chairs to see if there is someone that we are all just missing.

MUSG has also placed a comment box in the AMU—the same building as their office. In essence, if you have a comment, rather than stopping by the MUSG office, they would prefer you to find this box and put it in there.
In response to my last article, I personally received an email from a MUSG senator asking me for my thoughts on what MUSG can do to improve. I responded saying I would publish the letter and what I would like to see in the next issue of The Warrior. The Senator responded with a resounding NO. Clearly, it does not look like they actually want to listen to student’s opinions. It appears rather that simply soliciting comments is a formality that MUSG feels compelled to comply with.

Another thought (something which I enjoy, encourage, and take into account) came from Megan Wagner, a senior in the college of Business Administration. Megan said, “I do think they [MUSG] listen to students because they are students.” Megan continued, “If they are not listening to us now, that really sucks that they are going to be our world leaders.”

Megan has a great point. If these people involved in MUSG cannot concern themselves with the thoughts and opinions of others besides themselves, how can anyone continue to elect them, why would anyone continue to put them into these positions, why would anyone let them become world leaders?

Most would not allow this to happen. However, since most people do not vote in the MUSG elections, the people filling positions continue to pass those positions along to their friends. One fraternity on campus, Kappa Sigma, has an outlandish amount of their members within MUSG.

These positions include the executive board, both the Presidential position, and the Financial Vice President position.

MUSG maintains itself as a Good ‘ol Boys club, one in which you must know the proper people to get in. After all, the previous president, Brock Banks, was a member of Kappa Sigma, before the position was passed down to Ray Redlingshafer. Can I predict the next president to also be from Kappa Sigma, perhaps John Kristan is being groomed for the position, or perhaps it is to early for that prediction.

When MUSG is a group run by a close pact of friends, or a brotherhood, there is really no need for the Senators or other members of MUSG to listen to the opinions of students. They can have their fun without taking the dreadful comments of the students into account. The students of Marquette need to reach out to MUSG and force this policy of complacency to be changed.

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