Alumnus Arrested Amongst Increasing Alcohol Incidents

The sheriff’s office has visited campus multiple times this semester. The police were called on at least three separate occasions.

The first call resulted in the arrest of college alum Ian Isaac. Isaac was arrested at 3:10 a.m. on September 4 and charged with trespassing and two counts of second-degree assault.

The arrest came after Isaac was issued a notice not to trespass on College property by public safety at 12:20 a.m. the same day. Isaac went to the Green Door and then returned to campus, where he began a fight. Public safety notified the sheriff’s office, and Isaac was arrested upon their arrival.

The police were also called for a hit and run and once for a disagreement between students.

“We’re in a close working relationship with the deputies,” said public safety officer Sergeant Tony Brooks. Police officers also visited campus to present public safety with brochures aimed at preventing the use of fake IDs and because, “they got some intelligence in regards to Kegs for Kids… [and] the slip and slide,” said Santiago.

The police were concerned that the hosts of Kegs for Kids, students who live in an off campus house, would be providing alcohol to students under 21.

The police presence on campus has been heavier than normal, said Brooks, and public safety has had to deal with more than the usual number of problems as well. “I think a lot of [students] feel that Public Safety can’t do much or that they aren’t going to do much. [Public safety] Officers called and told me they think it’s going to be a rough year.”

The number of hospital visits has also been out of the ordinary. According to the new chief of public safety, Christopher Santiago, public safety had to call five ambulances for students because of alcohol related incidents. Six additional students went to the hospital for various other medical reasons.

However, Santiago said that the number of alcohol referrals dropped from 2007 to 2008. In 2007 there were 179 referrals, while in 2008 there were 122. “If you look at the previous two calendar years…we had no alcohol arrests, both on campus and on public property.”

Santiago is under no illusions about the alcohol consumption on college campuses. “The reality is that you’re here in college to learn, and is drinking part of the learning process? Absolutely. You’re going to pay the price if necessary – and you will go forward in your life with a better understanding of what it is, what it’s about, and what can happen.”

Towing Rates Up, to Relax Somewhat

As of Friday, September 18, 62 cars had been towed from the College campus because of parking violations. Though the number is higher than previous years, public safety says that the rules haven’t changed.

“I sent out an email last week and I do it every year, and I try to give [students] a week or two,” said public safety officer Sergeant Tony Brooks. However, “The last few years we weren’t on it so hard,” he said.

Thursday, August 26 was “relaxed parking,” and cars were only towed if parked illegally in fire lanes or handicapped parking spaces. Brooks emailed the campus about parking enforcement on Monday, August 30, and on Tuesday, September 7 ticketing and towing began.

“It’s being enforced fully by the administration,” said Christopher Santiago, the new chief of public safety.

When the towing began, public safety removed any cars without the appropriate decals for the lot. “There are still students that do not have decals but have applied for them,” said Santiago. “I dealt a lot last week with both students and parents over the parking issue…Our office [does] not have access to the records kept by the business office to tell us who has and has not applied for a permit.”

The business office handles the application for and distribution of permits. Public safety and the business office are now communicating to make sure that students who have applied and been approved for decals will not be towed.

Public safety uses the T & R towing company located in Lexington Park. “It’s a yearly thing,” said Shaunte Edwards, the owner. “Everything goes smoothly.”

However, according to Santiago, “We did have a student who …had his vehicle towed …he took his vehicle back from the towing company without making arrangements.”

Both public safety and T & R are working to accommodate students who need to pick up their cars. Students can apply for parking decals online through the Portal and pick up their decals at the front desk of Glendenning Hall. Information on campus parking can be found on public safety’s website at http://www.smcm.edu/publicsafety/parking.html.

Restructuring of Admin. Reflects New Openness

This summer, and in his first few weeks of the school year in office, President Joseph Urgo has already implemented many subtle changes to the way administration deal their business, and restructured the administrative duties of multiple offices.

Perhaps the biggest change has been the creation of the President’s council, which consists of the Dean of Faculty, the Vice President for Development, the Vice President for Business and Finance, the Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, the Dean of Students, the Faculty Senate President, and the Assistant Vice President for Trustee Relations. This council reports directly to Urgo, and has been tasked with such duties as staffing the faculty senate and providing recommendations as to the college’s future direction.

This new administrative structure is a far departure from that under former President Jane Margaret O’Brien, who has a reporting structure in which all deans and vice presidents (save for the Vice President of Business and Finance) would report to the Provost, who in turn would report to O’Brien.

Perhaps the most striking change that has occurred as a result of these administrative changes is the discontinuation of the term Provost itself, to be replaced by the title Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. Urgo stated in an all-faculty email sent during the summer that, “The [discontinuation of the title] is more in keeping with the reporting structure we have in place now, and indicates my desire to work closely with student affairs, admissions, and all other campus constituencies.” He further stated that it was more in keeping with what he saw as the purpose of a college like St. Mary’s, and said, “At a small school, I’m more used to [the deans] all reporting to the President.”

Larry Vote, who has taken on the new title, said, “it is a symbolic change in that…the President has decided to accept more direct responsibility.” He further stated that he would retain many of his current duties outside of this reporting hierarchy, such as oversight of academic programs, as well as new duties such as working with the Athletic department (formerly under Vice President of Planning and Facilities Chip Jackson) and continuing education/life-long learning. He stated special interest in taking over the athletic side of things, saying that he felt it would better align academic aspirations with athletic aspirations and would exemplify the NCAA model of the “Scholar-athlete”.

Vote is not the only member of the administration to have experienced a shuffling of responsibilities, which have in turn taken the burden off administrators such as Vote and Vice President of Business and Finance Tom Botzman who had to do multiple jobs during the transitional period between O’Brien’s and Urgo’s presidencies. There are now, for example, separate personnel for trustee relations and development, duties that were both taken over by Botzman in the transition.

The office of trustee relations specifically is a “function we haven’t had [at St. Mary’s] for a while…it had always been an additional responsibility”, according to former assistant Vice President for Life-Long Learning and new Vice President of Trustee Relations Kathy Grimes. She further said that, “having someone that is focused on [trustee relations] lets us brainstorm how students can get involved with trustees [and] how we can expand the relationship with trustees.” Beyond just this focus, Grimes also is in charge of managing Urgo’s commitments to students and making sure that the lines of communication between him and students remain open. She emphasized the desire her and Urgo have to hear from the campus community, and mentioned the ability to contact Urgo directly and anonymously through the web site (http://www.smcm.edu/president/sendanote.html).

Other notable changes include the movement of Public Safety management to Dean of Students Laura Bayless, management of the Waterfront to Jackson, and management of the Department of New Media to the new Vice President of Development Maureen Silva. Silva, who arrived at the college this summer, said, “to be embraced by the community has been quite gratifying…I am incredibly happy to be here.”

Although many of these changes seem mostly inconsequential to the average student, the sum total of these changes will mean a more streamlined and effective administration. Jackson said, “[It] all has to do with aligning different departments in ways that provide the most efficiency and effectiveness.” Botzman pointed out that, ultimately, a more streamlined and effective administration means less tuition increase from year to year, and an all-around more affordable collegiate experience.

He also said that, “[it] was not so much about budget, but about building a team and hopefully being more efficient.”

Many administrators were very optimistic about the changes taking place under Urgo. Botzman said, “I was doing three jobs, and now I’m only doing one; I’m ecstatic!” He added, “We can do a better job about what we need to do.” Vote said, “I think with this President, who is very proactively student-concerned, [these changes] should be a good thing.

Silva echoed these sentiments, and said, “There’s tremendous opportunity for success here…there is fabulous work being done.”

Campus Life: Urgo Begins Talk of Pub on Campus

Plans are currently underway to bring to life what has perhaps been the dream of many a St. Mary’s student: an on-campus pub, where students over 21 could swipe their OneCards and grab a pint with professors, staff, and President Joseph Urgo himself.

The pub is the idea of Urgo, who wants to create, “another venue [for] faculty and students to have social interaction.” Urgo stated that he believed a pub on campus could foster the kind of atmosphere where students and professors would be more capable and willing to socialize in a relaxed and informal environment. Urgo further said that he’d “much rather have students going to a pub on campus” than off-campus, and that he’d seen great success with pubs and bars on other college campuses. The pub would be open to students of legal drinking age, all faculty and staff, and alums.

Currently, many questions still remain regarding what form the pub will take. According to Kathy Grimes, Associate Vice President for Trustee Relations, the administration has just begun looking into the legal issues of such an arrangement, and she is currently waiting to hear back from the State Attorney General. She did note, however, that, “Other campuses in the University of Maryland system…have pubs, so it’s not out of the question.” Other issues that are still in contention include where the pub will be housed, since according to Grimes, “We are not in the position to build another building.” Urgo suggested that the Upper Deck of the Campus Center was one possibility, but that it is currently to be determined.

According to Grimes, other ambiguities include whether the pub would serve just alcohol or a larger selection of menu items, whether it would be a permanent fixture or a recurring program, and what sort of other events would coincide with the pub.

Both Urgo and Grimes, however, want to hear student and faculty opinion on the issue before anything is set in stone, and plan to raise the issue in forums and discussions throughout the year. Grimes said, “My goal at this point is to get an answer [concerning the pub’s legality] and then get a framework for discussion that we can take to the President’s Forum.”

ALUMNI LOUNGE PLANNED

The Rectory, planned building to house the Alumni lounge. (Photo by Kyle Jerrigan)
The Rectory, planned building to house the Alumni lounge. (Photo by Kyle Jerrigan)
In an attempt to more efficiently organize Alumni Relations while providing more comfortable accommodations for alumni returning to campus, renovations began over the summer on the Rectory, the center for returning alumni on campus.

For around six years, the College has leased The Rectory, a small, gray building next to Calvert Hall, from Trinity Church for office uses. However, the building itself is quite old, standing possibly 60-70 years, and was a crowded place for the work of the Alumni Relations office. The renovations, begun over the summer, serve as an attempt to transform the office spaces into suitable rooms and meeting areas for alumni, visitors, and partners.

“What I began to explore was how we could create that space,” said Maureen Silva, the newly-appointed Vice President for Development who proposed the idea of such a place for alumni. Silva and her staff, who had all originally worked in the Rectory, have been relocated to Calvert to work in the same building and make room for alums in the Rectory.

Charles “Chip” Jackson, the Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities, stated that “it’s an importance of any college to foster strong ties to our alumni group,” and that creating a social gathering spot for alumni would be beneficial. The building would act as both an alumni affairs office, and a sort of living room, serving similar functions to alumni houses that can be found on other college and university campuses nationwide.

While most of the renovations involve replacing furniture, a major change to the Rectory was the addition of handicap-accessible bathrooms with ramps, making the space more appropriate for alums requiring such services.

“It’s nice to have a place you can go where you’re not intruding on classrooms,” said Joseph Urgo, President of the College, in reference to the functionality of the Rectory as an alumni space. “It is a base from which alums can do what they need, and look up other alums as well. They may come back for homecoming, vacations on the waterfront, or simply to show their children where they went to college, so a designated alumni area would be ideal and accommodating.”

Though Silva established that the alumni needed “a large place to call their own,” the Rectory will serve the community as well, functioning as a meeting place for other nearby organizations.

Alumni Relations is also planning future renovations to the Rectory as this project completes its final stages before the College’s Family Weekend in October. “When students become alums, we want to foster relationships with them,” Jackson said.

“The aim is to keep everyone coming back when they leave.”

No Leaps and Bounds in Internet Speed Increase

Images Courtesy of Campus Technology Student Services.
Images Courtesy of Campus Technology Student Services.
Annoyingly laggy Internet speeds on campus might be short-lived, due to a soon-to-be upgraded infrastructure – or, on the other hand, could just continue. Although the College’s Internet speed is set to more than double in October, from 45 megabits to 100, this might not do a lot to speed up the most bandwidth-intense activity of Internet browsing.

According to Jeff Ranta, the Assistant Director of Network Services, the biggest bandwidth hog is streaming video. “That’s what’s really eating up most of it.” And Ranta thinks that the increased Internet speed will only help somewhat. “Once we get this 100 megabit connection, it will be nice, but it will only be a slight increase.”

The College pays its Internet Service Provider (ISP), the University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System, for its current DS3 (or T-3) connection. But Ranta said it would only cost twice as much for the College to get an Internet connection 20 times as fast as what it currently has.

What’s the holdup, then?

“Our problem is Verizon has the only leased line that comes down to campus. … We’re waiting on Verizon to install necessary equipment in place to support 100 Megabits (download speed).”

Verizon would also need to support the gigabit connection, should the College be willing to pay. “It’s all a question of what Verizon can support… and what the College can pay.”
Ranta said he thought if the College could patch through to gigabit speeds, then the needs of students and faculty – and, increasingly, classes – would be satiated for some time.

This could be done through a partnering with others in the county to pay for the laying of a fiber optical cable. Then, St. Marys’ Internet connection would rival – and best – some of the far larger Colleges in Maryland.

“[It] might take 10 years to make back the cost, but once we have it we have it. There’s not really a limit of the amount you can push through fiber,” just a limit to the infrastructure supporting the fiber optical cable.

St. Mary’s Campus to Extreme Weather: Can’t Touch This

On Thursday, Sept. 2, and Friday, Sept. 3, the St. Mary’s campus community experienced rain showers and cloudy skies related to Hurricane Earl. It was the first weather-related incident of the college year and the first incident that could have required emergency actions.

A hurricane is just one of the many emergency situations for which the college prepares.

Laura Bayless, Dean of Students, said, “you gotta make sure…the storm drains are clear so that it can handle extra water.” Dean Bayless continued to say that providing non-perishable foods for students and making decisions on to have or to not have classes are some of the other important aspects of planning for hurricanes.

In the event of an evacuation, the college works with the St. Mary’s County Department of Public Safety to determine a location, and the manner in which to evacuate. In the event of coastal flooding, St. Mary’s County may decide to use the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic & Recreation Center (ARC) as an evacuation site; subsequently, the Red Cross would bring in cots and blankets.

In the case of evacuation of campus, Dean Bayless mentioned students with vehicles may leave themselves and go to unaffected areas, such as their homes. She said, “[Students] are welcome to stay on campus…but if you just want to go, then go.”

The college has insurance to help compensate for damages done to both private and public property. Tom Botzman, Vice President of Business & Finance at St. Mary’s College, said the college assumes liability for college-caused damage to private property. Botzman continued to say, “we do everything we can to make it good [for the students]…you’re the ones who live here.”

The state of Maryland insures the college for any damaged property on campus. Botzman said the college “files a claim” with the State, which then compensates the college relative to the claim.

Botzman described the state insurance program as a “parent organization” and “an agency of the state.” When describing potential costs, Botzman said the college pays no premium like those in private insurance plans. Rather he said, “It’s a part of how we operate, it’s a state-wide program.” Because the college is part of the state insurance umbrella, students and other members of the campus community do not pay for this insurance through tuition or fees.

On the student side of emergency preparedness, the resident life staff is in charge of communicating with students and making them aware of situations. Senior Charles Onwuche and Residence Hall Coordinator for Warring Commons (WC), said resident life staff uses email, direct contact, and signs to disseminate information to the students. He and the resident life staff “have a protocol for each type of emergency.”

Onwuche described how in some emergency situations the resident life staff works to put on games and activities for students. “We will cater to the students…[who] want an opportunity to relax and do something non-educational,” said Mr. Onwuche.

The college provides a comprehensive and detailed emergency guide on its website (http://www.smcm.edu/emergency/emergencyguide.html).

Candidates for 5th Congressional District Discuss Economy in Pre-Primary Forum

Collins Bailey, Republican Primary Candidate for U.S. Congressional District 5. (Photo by Dave Chase)
Collins Bailey, Republican Primary Candidate for U.S. Congressional District 5. (Photo by Dave Chase)
Tuesday, Sept. 7, candidates for the Democratic and Republican 5th Congressional District met in St. Mary’s hall for a forum hosted by the Center for the Study of Democracy and the St. Mary’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The forum came just one week before the primary.

Democrats Andrew Gail, Sylvanus Bent and Republicans Charles Lollar and Collins Bailey attended. Incumbent Democrat Steny Hoyer did not attend the forum but sent a statement saying, “unfortunately, I received this invitation in late August and was unable to reschedule previous obligations so that I could attend.” Republicans Chris Chafee and Chris Robins also did not attend the event.

Hoyer won the Democratic nomination on September 14th and Lollar won the Republican nomination.

Todd Eberly, acting Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy and Professor of Political Science, explained that each candidate would be given three minutes for an opening and closing statement and 90 seconds to respond to each question from the audience. Eberly also introduced Wayne Scriber, President of the St. Mary County’s chapter of the NAACP.

“I hope that this forum will help you make an informed decision,” said Scriber. The NAACP is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates.

The candidates explained their exigence for running during their opening statements. Based on a coin toss, the Democrats begin in alphabetical order. Sylvanus Bent, a veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, said, “I am and American and America comes first.” A conservative Democrat, Bent focused on “jobs, jobs, jobs” and said, “we need to make capitalism work again.”

Andrew Gail, a school teacher, said, “I want to make as much positive change as possible.” In his late 20’s, Gail said, “I am just a little younger than the other candidates.” Gail added, “the fundamental problem [with our government] is the role of money in politics.”

Collins Bailey, the Republican nominee in 2008, said he would bring three things to Washington, “common sense, business sense and sense of duty.” Baily added, “when you don’t read the bill, that violates common sense.” Bailey also promised that if elected, he would take no salary and serve only two terms.

Charles Lollar, winner of the September 14th Republican Primary, said, “as a Marine officer, I understand that we are facing too many problems in this country.” Lollar added, “we need to start talking about the issues as average Americans.”

Questions from the audience were reviewed by a three person panel comprised of NAACP representatives and ranged from national issues like immigration reform to local issues like the importance of Pax River Navel Air Station.

Lollar and Bailey agreed on most issues including opposing health care reform, opposing stimulus spending and maintaining the Bush tax cuts.

Gail and Bent agreed on a few issues but disagreed on just as many issues. Most notably, Gail supported health care reform and the stimulus package while Bent opposed both. Bent also argued for small business incentives to create jobs while Gail argued for infrastructure projects to create jobs.

Each candidate also agreed that Congressman Hoyer had been in office for too long. Baily said, “Hoyer can’t even come out to speak to his constituents, that violates my sense of duty.”

The audience, consisting of students, professors and community members, also agreed, cheering at several jokes about Hoyer’s tenure. The audience also seemed less receptive to Gail’s issue proposals, booing his support of health care reform, the stimulus package and immigration reform.

“It’s awesome to have local politicians out to discuss issues even at such a small school,” said Junior Amir Reda. First-year Adam Hall, who said fixing the economy as central to this election cycle, added, “it was really helpful to get a sense for what folks were saying [about the economy].”

The Center for the Study of Democracy, NAACP and the League of Women Voters will host another Candidates forum on October 25th for Congressman Hoyer and Charles Lollar.

Tech Support Partnering with Bell Logix

Campus Technology Support Services (CTSS) has unveiled a new partnership with Bell Industries/Bell Tech Logix, a company that will provide technology support and assessment for the college starting October 1.

This support service will offer Tier 1 assessments when calls are made to CTSS. Calls will still be made to the same extensions, x4357 or x2357 or to 866-291-2796 from off campus, where they will speak to a member Bell Tech Logix staff. According to Lisa Youngborg, Office/User Support Administrator at CTSS, Bell Tech Logix has St. Mary’s specific staff trained to help deal with problems specific to St. Mary’s technology as well as broader concerns, such as password resets or software issues.

Janet Immink, the Business Development Manager of Bell Tech Logix, has been working closely with Youngborg to develop this partnership. Immink said the focus was “providing service to take care of entry level issues.”

The call center will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If the call center is unable to resolve the issue over the phone, a work ticket will be sent to CTSS so their office can work to resolve the problem.

Youngborg said, “This campus needs front end customer service for immediate support….[This service will] help staff [at St. Mary’s] a lot in filling a vacuum with software support.”

The goal is to allow CTSS staff to have more time to deal with more specific technology issues. Immink said, “We want people on campus to do higher level work.”
No staff positions have been cut in making this partnership and “nothing physically will change in this office,” said Youngborg.

The partnership with Bell Tech Logix was instituted because of CTSS’ desire to provide better and more thorough support, but was limited because of their limited staff. It was negotiated through the Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium, of which St. Mary’s is a member, starting with a one-year contract.

Throughout the process, Youngborg and Immink said they would be evaluating and reviewing the effectiveness of the call center. Immink said she has been in “constant communication” with CTSS and Youngborg there would be weekly reviews of the service in which she would look over what issues Bell Tech Logix is getting calls about and how well and how quickly they are being handled. The reviews would decrease in frequency if CTSS is feeling satisfied with Bell Tech Logix’s service.

Youngborg also said that “privacy will be protected.” Bell Tech Logix does not have access to student records or any sensitive information.

Both parties have also been pleased with the partnership so far. Youngborg said, “We are very happy with our working relationship with them,” and Immink said “Our experience has been nothing but positive.”

Senior Teddy Bisrat, a Student Consultant at CTSS (one of the students who provides support at the desk in Baltimore Hall), said, “It would take a…load off everyone’s backs.” He said that in the evenings, it’s usually just a student sitting at the desk. “It would be a big help. Lots of students come in in the evening…It could resolve a lot of student’s problems quickly…I fully support it.”

Board of Trustee Chair Sounds Off on Plan for Upcoming Year

New Chair of the SMCM Board of Trustees Molly Mahoney Matthew. (Photo Courtesy of the Office Publications & Media Relations)
New Chair of the SMCM Board of Trustees Molly Mahoney Matthew. (Photo Courtesy of the Office Publications & Media Relations)
“We want to serve the students,” said Molly Mahoney Matthews, the new chair of the Board of Trustees who starts Oct. 8, 2010.

She is excited about her new role as the chair and the possibilities for the college under President Dr. Joseph Urgo’s leadership.

Mahoney Matthews is responsible for heading the Board of Trustees as they create policy and manage St. Mary’s alongside the President. She is second woman in the history of St. Mary’s to serve as the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

This year she says the Board has plans to examine the college’s Strategic Plan so that the school can continue to grow and expand.

The Board plans to focus on improving the diversity of St. Mary’s. She hopes for the Board itself to reflect the diversity of the student body.

Although she was not specific as to the types of programs that they hope to institute, another goal was to attract a wider range of faculty and students to the college and implement initiatives based around multiculturalism.

She feels that Urgo is a “wonderful choice” and a “great fit” for the college and she is enthusiastic about his vision for the school. The Board has plans to celebrate his presidency in order to welcome and support him.

One plan that Matthews has is to interact much more with the students. She said, “I’m eager to spend more time with students” and hear student presentations.

The student trustee, Senior Danny Ruthenburg-Marshall, is one conduit connecting the student body to the Board, who Matthews pressed as one way to connect to the Board.

The Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Matthews who joined the board in 2002, will be working to govern the school until the next chair is voted upon next year.

“I really admire the people on the Board of Trustees,” said Matthews. “We do this because we have a passion for the kids and deep respect for the college.”