Students Leave Hotels, Move to Ship

On Oct. 25, President Urgo announced in an all-student email the college rented a cruise ship called the Sea Voyager to house 244 students displaced by mold in the Prince George and Caroline residence halls.

The ship arrived at the Dove dock in Historic St. Mary’s City on Oct. 30 and students were originally going to move into the ship on Monday, Oct. 31. However, at a press conference on Monday President Urgo said students could not move into the ship until the next day due to a problem securing the boat to the dock, which prevented the final safety tests.

The displaced students moving into the ship are currently living in three hotels in California and Solomons, MD. Urgo made the decision to rent the ship after students moved to the hotels saying, “[hotel] challenges threatened to dilute the residential experience of St. Mary’s. And even more, would soon violate the every mission of our college.” He added, “The Sea Voyager restores our campus community.”

The idea to rent the ship came from Dan Plesch, a 2004 graduate and sailor. Plesch saw the ship was for sale and moving from Maine to Virgina. He suggested the college could rent the ship during the sale process.

Urgo saw the idea as an innovate solution and unique fitting to the college community given the importance of St. Mary’s river. He said, “[acknowledging] the source of so much of this College’s spirit. This wonderful body of water: the historic byway for seekers of truth and knowledge, through refuge and through study.”

Students were displaced after the college determined the mold in the two affected dorms was systematic and not sporadic. The college consulted with Compliance Environmental, Inc., an environmental and industrial hygiene consulting firm, and Dr. Hung Cheung, an occupational physician, and decided to do extensive mold remediation, according to Charles “Chip” Jackson, Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities.

“The mold is primarily located above ceilings and within enclosed conditioning equipment,” said Jackson. The College does not yet know the exact cause of the mold beyond condensation from the heating and cooling pipes. “The insulation failed to prevent condensation from forming and causing mold, […] we are committed to finding the root cause,” he said.

Jackson also said the cost for mold remediation in both residence halls will cost approximately $1 million from the college’s physical plant fund. The cost for temporary housing, including the ship and hotels, will be an additional $1.5 million from the college’s contingency fund. “This event will not impact next year or subsequent years’ tuition,” said Jackson. “Our students’ safety and well-being is foremost in our minds,” he added.

Most students are excited by the ship but some are still concerned about the underlying problem. “Since they found the mold, they have done a good job but my hall reported [mold] on day two of the semester and no action was taken until day 30. The problem should have been dealt with this summer,” said sophomore Sami Keyani, originally a resident of Caroline first left.

According to Urgo, the college has not given any compensation to the displaced students beyond reimbursement for expenses. Displaced students will be given priority for housing next year.

During their stay on the ship, students will have TV, wifi and a 24-hour study room. The ship’s crew will also clean students’ rooms.

As for security, Public Safety will be be patrolling the shore around the ship from 7 p.m. until 7 p.m. and the ship’s crew will handle security on the ship 24 hours a day. While non-residents will be allowed on the ship, only 290 people will be allowed on at any time and everyone, residents and non-residents, will be required to sign in to gain access to the ship, according to Jackson.

The ship is also required to comply with all state and federal laws governing a ship at sea. For instance, one of every ten bags brought on board must be search to comply with Homeland Security regulations.

Students will reside on the ship until the end of the semester.

Zylak Holds First Open Hour; Discusses Public Safety Commissions

On Friday September 23, Interim Director of Public Safety Dave Zylak held the first of a regular open hour at the Campus Center to address student concerns about Public Safety’s pending police commissions. A dozen students attended and asked questions about the commissions, sexual assault, and officer training.

Zylak opened the hour by discussing his personal background in law enforcement and some of the changes he has had to make moving into a campus setting such as seeking input from students. He said, “I realized very soon that students have a say in what goes on and I think that’s a good thing.”

The conversation quickly turned to the police commissions. Zylak said nearly all college campuses in Maryland have commissioned officers and until recently, most officers at St. Mary’s were commissioned officers.

According to Derek Thornton, the Assistant Vice President for Campus Operations, who ran Public Safety from 2007 to 2010, “there were three [commissioned officers] initially and two provisional commissions granted during my tenure.” Obtaining commissions became a priority again when Public Safety moved from the Business and Finance Department to Student Affairs Department last year, according to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless.

Students expressed concerns with the return of the police commissions. Senior Jack Mumby, Townhouse Senator, said, “my fear is some freshman comes and has a stupid night and now they have a criminal record.”

In response, Zylak said the internal policy will be that arrests will only be made after he approves. When asked what kind of situation in which he would approve an arrest he said, “if you punch a Public Safety officer in the face, you will be arrested.”

Zylak also said he does not intend to change the number of arrests on campus. According to him, all cases that would be handled through Judicial Board now will still be handled that way and more serious crimes will still be handled by the sheriff’s office. “We have a memorandum of understanding with the sheriff’s office to handle serious crimes like murders, rapes etc… We are not equipped to investigate those kinds of crimes,” he said.

“The big thing we have on-campus is distrbution charges,” said Zylak. “Both Dean Bayless and I agree that it doesn’t do anyone any good to have drug dealers on campus,” he added.

Mumby also asked what Zylak intends to do to improve Public Safety’s relationship with students. He said, “There is a perception on campus that there is an adversarial relationship between Public Safety and students.”

Zylak said, “I will do my best to make that a better relationship.” He said he has already investigated 3-4 complaints students have made of officers and he encouraged students to come to him with further complaints. “I want to know if you have been mistreated … My officers will be held accountable by me,” he said.

Senior Caroline Selle said, “we appreciate that you’re so accessible and it would go a long way to breaking down barriers if we could get to know the other officers.” Zylak said he is working on getting his officers into the community more often in a less formal role, including more friendly uniforms and a Public Safety dodgeball game.

Seniors Johanna Galat and Emily Saari asked Zylak about Public Safety’s procedure with sexual assault cases and how that procedure would change with police commissions. Zylak said the commissions would not affect how they handle sexual assalt cases. “The process will be driven by the survivor,” he said.

Zylak also clarified a statement he made at a meeting with the First Responders Network. When he said false reports of sexual assault happen he was referring to his own law enforcement experience where he encountered a few false reports. “When someone comes in and says they were sexually assaulted we take that at 100% face value and investigate,” he added.

Both the students in attendance and Zylak expressed how helpful the open hour was and Zylak intends to hold one every other week for as long as they remain helpful. The next hour will be announced via all-student email.

Bon App Obtains Wrong liquor License; No Alcohol at The Pub

Bon Appetit, the food service management company the College contracts with, obtained the wrong liquor license for The Pub on the advice of Bon Appetit’s corporate lawyers, delaying sale of beer and wine at the Pub for several months.

David Sansotta, Bon Appetit’s General Manager at the College, informed students via email that, “due to misinterpretation of local alcohol service regulations on our part, we have been forced to suspend the sale of beer and wine temporarily as we pursue alternate licensing options.” In a follow up interview, Sansottta said Bon Appetit obtained a Statewide Caterers Licence, also known as a SCAT License.

According to Maryland State Law, a SCAT License allows Bon Appetit to “serve alcoholic beverages at a catered event throughout the state to individuals 21 years of age or older on an unlicensed premises or on a premises for which a temporary alcoholic beverages license has been issued by the local board of license commissioners.”

The misinterpretation was with what constitutes an event, according to Patrick Hunt, Procurement Officer and Director of Auxiliary Operations for St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “We told [Bon Appetit] to get a license and they went to their corporate owners, the Compass Group, to ask what is the best way,” said Hunt. He said the Compass Group, a North Carolina-based company of which Bon Appetit is a subsidiary, said there were two options, one being a county liquor license which would take several months.

Since neither Bon Appetit or the Compass Group are local companies, to obtain a county liquor license “they would need to set up another legal entity and that would take a while,” said Hunt. He also said the county liquor license requires three local residents who are also officers of the organization to put their name on the application and be held legally responsible for all sales under the license.

“The Compass Group’s legal authority said [Bon Appetit] should get a SCAT instead,” said Hunt.

A SCAT license still requires Bon Appetit to get approval for each event from the County Liquor Board. It was when they went to get approval for the first few weekends the county put up a red flag, according to both Sansotta and Hunt.

“The county said a SCAT licence cannot be used for day to day operations,” said Hunt. Though the county did give approval to serve beer and wine for the grand opening weekend under Bon Appetit’s SCAT License.

“The interpretation by Bon Appetit of what constitutes an event was much broader than the county’s interpretation of what constitutes an event,” said Hunt. Bon Appetit’s lawyers said as long as there is an event of some kind, they could use the SCAT license, which is why Student Activities was asked to hold events like karaoke every night The Pub was open.

The misinterpretation by the Compass Group’s lawyers comes despite a meeting between local Bon Appetit, college and county representatives last spring. According to Hunt, the county told Bon Appetit to obtain a county liquor license just like any bar or restaurant would obtain.

“The Pub is a place of business,” said St. Mary’s County Alcohol Beverage Board Administrator Tamara Hildebrand, who will handle The Pub’s application for the proper county liquor license when brought before the Board. “While [the College] discussed [with us] how to apply for the license, they haven’t come in with an application. We don’t know why.”

“Depending on gross receipts, The Pub would apply for a tavern or restaurant license,” said Hildebrand. “Either way, the license would cost $650 per year.” This would mean that whether The Pub received a liquor license as an institution primarily selling food (as a restaurant) or alcoholic beverages (as a tavern), the cost would only be $650 for the entire year.

According to Hildebrand, every application requires a petition that bears the signatures of 15 registered St. Mary’s County voters who live within a five-mile radius of the property to be licensed. This list is sent to the Board of Elections, which will approve the licensing if at least 10 of the 15 signatories are verified as St. Mary’s County residents and registered voters.

While the College has yet to submit the application for the Alcohol Beverage Board to review, the Board itself will take into consideration the College’s recent licensing violations during the institution’s licensing hearing. The Board meets the second Thursday of each month. Given that the deadline for the October meetings have passed, The Pub would not be considered for licensing until the first November meeting even if the application was submitted this week.

Hunt and Sansotta said Bon Appetit has begun the process of applying for the proper license and in the meantime they will look for opportunities to use the SCAT license at events such as Hawktoberfest. For now, The Pub will continue to serve late night food Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, which according to Hunt has been very successful even without alcohol sales.

Gender neutral housing on its way to St. Mary's

For several years, the notion of gender neutral housing has been tossed around campus at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

However last spring former Student Government Association (SGA) president Marlena Weiss and the rest of the SGA passed a notion showing their unanimous support of this new housing, according to current SGA President Mark Snyder. Progress was being made to make this a reality until Weiss graduated last May.“[Weiss] and [Assistant Director of Residence Life] Kelly Smolinsky worked together on this for awhile,” Director of Residence Life and Associate Dean of Students Joanne Goldwater said. “But they didn’t progress as quickly as I thought it would.”

The hope, according to Goldwater, is that a policy will be put together for approval by the end of the semester and be implemented by next year.

In SGA resolution 09-10S, which was passed last year, the SGA stated it supported “the adoption of a gender neutral housing policy on North Campus Housing (Lewis Quad, Waring Commons, North and South Crescents, and the Greens)…” However, the current policy is still in the works and it has not yet been determined what ages it will be available to or for what type of housing.

There are several issues to be concerned with gender neutral accommodations.

“When I first heard of gender neutral housing I thought of it rather negatively because my mind jumped to couples living together,” Senior and Resident Assistant on the Greens Lauren Jacoby said. “Things can get very exciting to the point where the situation becomes a little unhealthy because you don’t have any balance between time for your partner and time for your friends and yourself. But couples do this to themselves already without gender neutral housing so it’s only a real draw back if RAs all of a sudden have to mediate break ups.”

Goldwater also added that “we have to figure out how to handle the bathroom situation,” as decided whether or not males and females will share a bathroom. Other issues include parental concern and religious beliefs.

Once the policy is assembled, it will go through Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless then President Joseph Urgo’s board to receive approval.

SGA elections begin

Student Government Association (SGA) elections began this Friday September 23 and will run through Thursday September 29. Although there have been a plethora of students who have started campaigning, a large amount of positions remain open.

According to SGA President and senior Mark Snyder, 14 Senate seats and a number of open Class Officer positions have yet to have candidates, an issue that “has been worrisome for me since day one,” he said.

Despite initial concerns, however, the elections show a promising turnout.  According to Snyder, the SGA has received a high amount of applications as well as inclination of many students to run through write-in campaigns.

For the Class of 2012, those running for class offices include senior Emily Gershon for Vice President, senior Molly Daugherty for Secretary, and senior Laura Bruffey, running for Treasurer.

“My biggest goal on Executive Board will be to ensure the senior class has the most memorable year possible,” Bruffey said. “As Treasurer, I will focus mostly on fundraising so that the entire Class of 2012 can enjoy all of the activities, events, and privileges that all St. Mary’s seniors should have the opportunity to experience.”

The Class of 2013 has only one candidate at the moment, junior Nithin George, running for the position of class Treasurer. The Class of 2014 filled their whole Class Executive Board in last Spring’s elections and are “in really good shape going forward,” said Snyder.

“I’m confident that after elections are held, every position will be filled,” Snyder added.

As for the Class of 2015, first-year Kate Brennan is running for Vice President and there are two candidates vying for the position of Class President, first-years Michelle DiMenna and Terrence Thrweatt.

Thrweatt emphasized the importance of every voice being heard. As president he states he would organize class activities and “partner with the SGA Programs Board to promote/organize events” as well as promote campus diversity and organize study groups with upperclassmen to assist those who need academic help.

“I’d like to bring down the cost of books by holding parties (open to all SMCM students)- that would ask for a voluntary admission fee (a donation).” Thrweatt said. “The donation would go to a “Book Fund”, overseen by the necessary school officials, and would be put towards subsidizing the costs of books for the students with the most financial need.”

DiMenna, also running for president, stated that she plans to “organize get-togethers and activities for the class to promote unity” and create a network for all first -years to be able to express issues or concerns they have about the campus or campus life.

“As 400+ freshman from various places and backgrounds, I think that it is important for us as a whole to have a strong base of friendship to build upon over the next four years,” DiMenna said. “Expanding upon unity, I would like to organize class-wide service activities. This would show the Class of 2015 to be a service oriented class, and in the process people would be able to connect and build friendships”.

Senatorial seats are also competitive, as several students are campaigning for the positions of Dorchester, Caroline, Waring Commons, and Commuter Senator.

“Elections are always tricky,” Snyder said. “There’s a lot that’s just not in our hands since we’re still using BlackBoard. We tried to get it organized a little earlier than in past years, and we’re making sure elections after winter break and spring elections happen a little sooner than usual. SGA is an organization that transcends the entire school; we work closely with students, faculty, administrators, even President Urgo. What’s been forgotten the past few years in the SGA was created to magnify the students’ voice on campus and this year we’re really trying to find ways to remind students of that. And the more people we have who are interested and engaged in the Senate the better, that’s why these elections are so important.”

Students Begin Sustainability Internship

The Sustainability Fellow position, formerly held by Lisa Neu ’10, has been split into three student internships to be held by two upperclassmen and one first-year student for the academic year.
The decision was announced last semester, when less funding was available for the position due to the recent increase in required staffing positions for the College.

Replacing a full-time Sustainability Fellow with a three-student personnel setup would not only reduce costs to St. Mary’s, but would also offer opportunities for environment-focused students to become more involved in the campus community.

“This offers students a chance for really good career development,” said Facilities Planner and Sustainability Coordinator Luke Mowbray, who will be working directly with the interns in the White House Sustainability Office. “They’ll be working upwards of 36 hours, comparable [to the Sustainability Fellow], and I’m looking forward to it.”

The interns include junior Emily Smith, who has worked with the College since this past summer, senior Nicole Johnson, and first-year Scott Lee. “I’m excited that I was chosen,” said Lee. “The position is usually for upperclassmen.”

The interns will each work 10-15 hours each week, doing work similar to Neu.

The Sustainability Fellow position began in 2008 with two recent graduates working 20 hours each week, followed by Shane Hall ’09 for the 2009-2010 academic year. Neu gained the position last year, also as a recent graduate. “The idea of the program was to hire someone who had just graduated,” said Mowbray.

Mowbray has been Facilities Planner and Sustainability Coordinator since predecessor Christophe Bornand, who left the office two years ago.

A Postponed Airbands Makes Its Return

The date for the annual Airbands show has been moved to October 2 at 6 p.m. between the Michael P. O’Brien ARC (Athletic and Recreation Center) and the tennis courts, a change from its usual location on the Campus Center patio.

Airbands is a St. Mary’s First-year Orientation tradition in which the Orientation Leaders perform a show, which includes music, dancing, and dress-up, on the last night of Orientation Weekend. Unfortunately, “Hurricane Irene trumped the original Airbands date,” said Sola Ogundele, the Orientation coordinator.

The entire campus was in lock-down mode due to the hurricane’s inclement weather on August 27, the day Airbands was originally supposed to occur.

This weekend, Airbands will be performed rain or shine. The stage will be set up beneath an outdoor events tent, which will deter any rain. “We’re still going to have lights, music, and hot pink shirts, which the OL’s will be wearing around campus to promote the event,” says Ogundele.

Another concern for the Orientation team is the addition of upperclassmen to the audience. “A lot of returning students will come and see their friends perform, so yes, I expect a bigger crowd,” says Orientation co-chair and senior Caitlin Fowler. Airbands is usually held before most of the returning students arrive on campus, so Airbands’ intended audience of first-year students make up the majority of attendees.

“We are still sticking to our Substance-Free theme, so none of the skits will have alcohol or drug related things in them,” says Fowler. The Airbands event itself will also be substance-free, and the Orientation team asks that all attendees be respectful of this theme. Ogundele says that “if anyone shows up with any drugs or alcohol, they will be dealt with accordingly” by campus activities volunteers or Public Safety.

Although Orientation Weekend has already ended, the Orientation committee agrees that Airbands is such an important event for the first-years and Orientation Leaders that it could not have been canceled for good. “It’s something special that the OL’s do for their orientees, and there will be plenty of free t-shirts,” says Ogundele. Adds Fowler, “The OL’s worked hard on their routines, so for them to not be able to perform would be an absolute shame.”

Airbands is set to be just as silly and creative as it has been in previous years, and it will be a nice break for the first-year students buckling down for their first year of college academics. “I think it is important for the first-years to see just how goofy, light-hearted, and fun the OL’s can be. Airbands is usually a favorite for everyone so I think not to have it would be very sad,” said Fowler.

First-year student Megan Dower echoes the sentiments of many other first-years, who are excited to finally see the show that their OL’s have been talking about since their first day on campus. “My OLs told me it’d be hilarious and fun to go to, so I’m glad it’s still on next weekend,” she said.

Summary of Report on Tuition to the State Legislature

On Sept. 1st, St. Mary’s College of Maryland submitted a 30-page report to the Chairs of the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate Budget Committees, at their request, outlining a proposed $5 million annual increase in the College’s block grant. The report includes the exigence and plan for the additional money.

Currently, the College receives $17.2 million a year from the state. The block grant is tied to inflation but, as the report points out, the cost of higher education has risen much faster than the rate of inflation. According to the report, in the first year of the block grant the College received $10.6 million, representing 50 percent of the operating budget, whereas this year’s grant represents just 27 percent of the operating budget.

Increasing the block grant is required to meet what the report calls the two pillars of the St. Mary’s mission as charged by its founding legislation: “(1) the promise of public education affordable to all and thriving on diversity, and; (2) high standards of academic excellence.” The report calls St. Mary’s “an elite model of higher eduction that is pointedly non-elitist, but accessible to all students who possess the drive to attend college.”

The central premise of the report is that the two pillars of St. Mary’s, high standards and affordable, need a renewed investment from both private donors and the State of Maryland to succeed.

The report lays out a five-year fundraising plan for the College to raise $10-15 million from private sources in addition to requesting $5 million from the Maryland General Assembly. With the additional funding, the College offers three actions to attain the two pillars of the College’s mission.

1.) A 12 percent reduction for in-state tuition, bringing tuition down to 2009 levels.
2.) $7,200 annual need-based grant to reduce the gap between Pell-grant funding and total cost.
3.) Raise the four-year graduation rate for all students to 80 percent.

The 12 percent tuition reduction is aimed at reducing the $5,694 gap between St. Mary’s and the rest of the University System of Maryland’s (USM) tuition to $3,533. The Report points out that USM received significant money in the last several years to help freeze in-state tuition that St. Mary’s did not receive. Had St. Mary’s received the same amount, the report says the College’s block grant would be $6.8 million larger.

The report also points out St. Mary’s supports an additional 324 in-state students since 1998 and had the block grant risen along with those numbers the College would receive an additional $4.4 million a year. The report said, “St. Mary’s College has expanded to meet the needs of the state, but the cost of this expansion has been borne by our students and their families.”

The tuition reduction is not the only way the report said the school intends to make St. Mary’s more affordable. The College proposes a $7,200 need-based grant for those eligible for Pell grants. “By selecting students receiving a Pell Grant for these new need-based grants, we have a federally defined group that represents the population with the fewest financial resources,” said the report.

In 2001, 70 percent of Pell-eligible students had sufficient income to pay for college compared to 40 percent today. The report states that a 12 percent reduction in tuition combined with a $7,200 need-based grant would cover the average Pell-eligible student’s need gap.

Finally, the report proposes expanding the DeSousa-Brent scholars program to a four-year scope. “A key component of our continuing commitment to the founding legislation on academic rigor relies upon providing the resources needed to assist students drawn from minority groups and those with limited family resources and less college preparation,” said the report about the DeSousa-Brent program.

The DeSousa-Brent expansion is aimed at improving the four-year minority graduation rate, currently at 58 percent, compared to an overall graduation rate of 72 percent, to the 80 percent goal set by the College.

The report ends with a note to legislatures asking them to invest in Maryland’s future. It said, “our proposal asks that we recalibrate the level of state support so that we may continue to recruit high-capacity students and not limit eligibility to standards of wealth, but solely to a willingness to meet the challenge of the honors college curriculum at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.”

The next step for the proposal is the Governor’s consideration and inclusion of the additional block grant in his budget due out in January.

Urgo Asks Governor for Additional Grant to Aid Affordability

President Joseph Urgo and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Molly Mahoney Matthews, are asking Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly for an additional $5 million a year to improve affordability and increase access to St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

The College receives a block grant each year from the State of Maryland, currently in the amount of $17.5 million dollars. According to Vice President of Business and Finance, Tom Botzman, the block grant began as a deal with the state for a steady funding stream. Though the College tried to get the block grant tied to the cost of higher education, the original legislation tied the grant only to the rate of inflation.

“No one could have predicted what would happen to the cost of higher education,” said Urgo. According to the National Center for Education Statistics website, the cost of college nearly doubled in the last 15 years. “If our block grant was tied to the cost of higher education, we would be fine. [The additional $5 million] is really an adjustment to make up for the rising cost of high education,” said Urgo.

Conversations about the College’s proposed increase began during the last spring when Urgo testified in a legislative session before the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate Budget Committees: “The main issue I discussed with legislators was affordability.” Urgo told legislators, “there is a small percentage of people who want to do [liberal arts] work and when we lose one we lose a potential leader. We need those leaders.”

Following Urgo’s testimony, “the Budget Committee Chairs asked, ‘what can we do?’ Which is really a testimony to [Urgo’s] leadership. He made this a keynote issue,” according to Botzman.

The College’s response came in the form of a 20 page report due out on Sept. 1, pending the approval of the Governor’s office. A spokeswoman for the Governor said the report is currently being reviewed and could not comment on the Governor’s reaction or intentions until later in the budget process.

For the proposed increase to move forward, O’Malley must include the additional money in the budget he submits to the General Assembly in January.

Urgo and Matthews scheduled a meeting with O’Malley for Tuesday, Aug. 30 to discuss the report and increased funding. According to the Governor’s Office, O’Malley rescheduled the meeting to tour St. Mary’s County inspecting damage from Hurricane Irene.

The proposal is still in the early stages, according to Botzman, and it is too soon to tell if the proposal will be warmly received by the Governor and General Assembly. “We will know more after the special legislative session [on redistricting] in October,” said Botzman.

If the College receives the $5 million increase, the total block grant will increase to $23.5 million for next fiscal year. According to Urgo, the College would spend $2 million on reducing tuition, $2 million on increasing financial aid and $1 million on expanding the DeSousa Brent Scholarship to a four year program.

“We have one of the highest graduation rates in the state and one of the highest graduation rates for non-majority students,” said Urgo. He added St. Mary’s also has a nearly equal graduation rate between majority and non-majority students, a struggle for most colleges and universities. “The college is a success story for the state. Twenty years after the original deal, we are asking the state to recommit to the College.”

Urgo added that the University of Maryland system, of which St. Mary’s is not a part despite being a state-funded college, received money from the state in the last few years to help keep tuition low. St. Mary’s did not receive that money. “We are asking for the money we did not get,” said Urgo. With the additional money, Botzman said St. Mary’s could roll back the tuition increases from the last few years, bringing St. Mary’s tuition more inline with the University of Maryland system.

If the College does not receive the $5 million increase, Urgo said rolling back tuition increases would be difficult. Without the increase, the College will rely primarily on private fundraising to keep tuition from increasing.

The College is in the initial stage of a long-term fundraising effort to increase revenue to the College’s scholarship funds. The Office of Advancement is currently assessing the current donor base’s capacity, according to Urgo. Once assessed, Advancement will spend several years “quietly” soliciting donations before going public around 2015 with the fundraising campaign.

“The increased grant is really aimed at making St. Mary’s more affordable for all Maryland residents, strengthening the way we support students and improving the necessary supports all students need to succeed,” said Botzman.

The report from the College of the Governor and Budget Committee Report Chairs was not released in time for publication; visit thepointnews.com for the latest information.

Public Safety to Become Commissioned Police Officers

Correction: Sgt. Brooks does not and will not carry a firearm as originally published.

All ten Public Safety officers and Interim Director of Public Safety, Dave Zylak, are currently in the process of obtaining official police commissions from the state of Maryland.

The move comes after conversations between Zylak and Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laura Bayless. “After talking with [former Director of Public Safety] Santiago and now Zylak, [getting the commissions] made sense. It is really about getting [the officers] the training and certifications they need,” said Bayless.

The new commissions will give Public Safety Officers “the authority to enforce Maryland law on campus property and property they agree to protect,” said Zylak.

According to Zylak, currently only Sgt. Tony Brooks is a commissioned police officer. All other officers have no legal authority from the state. The officers do have “the authority to enforce the rules and regulations of the College as granted by the Board of Trustees and the Campus Regulation Act,” said Zylak.

According to the Public Safety website, “Officers, with exception, have no authority to arrest any person other than that authority deemed appropriate for any citizen. Arrest includes the temporary or permanent detainment of a person against his or her will.” Once commissioned police officers, Public Safety will have the authority to detain and arrest citizens for violations of Maryland law.

The new authority does not include the use of firearms and, according to Zylak, Public Saftey will continue to not carry firearms.

Both Bayless and Zylak said the change does not reflect a broader change in the direction or vision of Public Safety.

“Ninety nine percent of violations are and will continue to be handled through the Judicial Board on campus. We understand [students] are here for a learning experience and we are not trying to ruin anyone’s life,” said Zylak. “[The commissions] are really for the other one percent [of incidences]. For instance, if someone puts their hands on an officer, attacks an officer, they should be arrested,” Zylak added.

Though a police commission in the Maryland comes with new authority, it does not come with new training. According to Zylak, the process includes an application and background check with the local State Police barracks but does not include additional training. The commissions must be renewed every two years.

Regardless of state requirements, Zylak says officers receive “18-24 hours a year of in-service training.” The officers also just returned from a week-long college-specific basic training course in Anne Arundel County earlier this summer. “I wanted to get everyone the same training at the same time,” said Zylak.

Zylak said students should not change the way they interact with Public Safety. “I tell my officers to treat others the way they would like to be treated, with respect,” said Zylak, adding students should treat officers the same way.