OUR VIEW: The Daily News’ point-by-point analysis of Amplify’s year in office

<p>Student Government Association (SGA) slate Amplify pose after being slated for SGA elections Feb. 12. SGA President Isaac Mitchell said the slate has completed 14 of its 16 platform points. <strong>Madeline Grosh, DN File</strong></p>

Student Government Association (SGA) slate Amplify pose after being slated for SGA elections Feb. 12. SGA President Isaac Mitchell said the slate has completed 14 of its 16 platform points. Madeline Grosh, DN File

During its campaign, Amplify promised to complete 16 platform points. 

Throughout the slate’s term, two points have been adjusted or renamed, though SGA President Isaac Mitchell said the slate has completed 14 of its 16 platform points.

The Daily News has reached its conclusions on the completion of points based on interviews and previous reporting.

RELATED: The Daily News grades outgoing SGA slate Amplify

Sexual assault awareness: Somewhat completed

According to a previous Daily News article, Amplify members said they wanted to raise sexual assault and alcohol abuse awareness through educational programs. 

The slate hosted two events this school year to promote sexual assault awareness. The first event was held in partnership with Step In. Speak Up. Oct. 24 at Park Hall to discuss the meaning of consent and to inform students about The Red Zone, a time where sexual assault is more frequent on campuses.

The second was a Title IX panel discussion hosted by SGA in partnership with the Office of Health, Alcohol and Drug Education (OHADE) Jan. 26 in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.

SGA senators were also part of another Title IX panel held Nov. 9 in the Student Center. The program featured both a question and answer session as well as an open discussion.

“We can’t do everything as an executive board, but we can help mentor [and] guide them on the right path,” said Kyleigh Snavely, SGA secretary. 

Mental health awareness: Not completed

Amplify previously told The Daily News it would like to allocate funds to the Counseling Center. While there was never a request to make a correction to the article, Mitchell said in a recent interview the slate never said it would give funding to the Counseling Center.

In partnership with other organizations, SGA brought mental-health specialist Josh Rivedal to perform “a one-man, Broadway-style play.” The event was held Nov. 28 in the Student Center Ballroom.

Snavely said SGA paid $1,700 of the $3,000 cost for the event as well as $44 for brochures given out at the event.

SGA also participated in the Mental Health Fair Nov. 6, where it had booths about unique experiences with mental health as well as representatives from the Counseling Center, according to a campus-wide email sent out by SGA.

SGA also partnered with Alpha Tau Omega in the Tau’s Get Yolked event, a fundraiser where students and faculty could pay to throw eggs at a fraternity brother. All proceeds went to Mental Health America. 

Overall, Mitchell said he felt the slate fell short in promoting on-campus resources for mental health.

Extending Bracken Library hours: Completed

SGA Vice President Matt Hinkleman said in a previous Daily News article the slate wanted to try to permanently extend Bracken Library hours to 11 p.m. or midnight during the fall 2018 semester.

After talking to Dean of Libraries Matthew Shaw, Amplify sent a campus-wide survey to students to evaluate interest in extending the library’s hours.

After feedback from an estimated 1,000 students showed the majority of respondents were interested, a test run was held on the weekend of finals week during the fall 2018.

In a previous Daily News article, Shaw said attendance statistics for the trial run were “relatively low,” showing there wasn’t a need to have constant extended hours. These results led to the decision to extend the library's hours to midnight on the weekend of finals week.

Student Appreciation Day: Completed

While Student Appreciation Day was held once a year in the past, Snavely said in a previous Daily News article she wanted to hold the event once a semester. 

This school year, two Student Appreciation Day events were held — Nov. 28 and March 27. During both events, SGA gave out free snacks to students.

Mitchell said SGA gave out 125 dozen donut holes and 25 dozen cookies. Snavely said SGA spent a total of $1,000 on the event.

“The feedback we got was heartwarming, because you don’t really hear ‘Thanks for being a student’ very often,” Snavely said.

More outlets for student input: Completed

Mitchell said he wanted to get more input from students through either the SGA website or social media polls, according to a previous Daily News article.

Along with hosting a moderated conversation in partnership the Black Student Association (BSA) regarding the controversy around founder of Papa John’s and Ball State alumnus John Schnatter, SGA has sent out multiple surveys via campus-wide emails. 

Mitchell said a total of nine surveys have been sent to students, including topics such as creating a community garden, increasing student access to printers and ways SGA can better help the student body.

Snavely said the slate has since spoken with Loren Malm, interim vice president of information technology and chief information officer, to discuss printer accessibility for students.

ROTC Priority Scheduling: Completed

In a previous Daily News article, Mitchell said the slate wanted to give ROTC students at Ball State priority scheduling to help them graduate in the required four years. 

While this point is still waiting for university approval, ROTC priority scheduling is among the topics next year’s president, Aiden Medellin, said Elevate would continue to work on.

The legislation currently sits in the Admissions and Credits Committee, Mitchell said. He said SGA has done everything it possibly can.

“[Faculty Council] told us that before they add or take away priority scheduling from anyone, they want to completely redo their entire process and policy regarding how that happens,” Mitchell said.

Gloria Pavlik, the chairperson of the Admissions and Credits Committee, said the committee needed to make a policy to determine guidelines to give students priority registration. She said this “is the furthest anyone has ever gotten” to completing the point.

Recycling: Completed

Hinkleman said he wanted to have informational posters and stickers on recycling bins informing students what can and can’t be recycled, according to a previous Daily News article.

While dining already had signs for sustainability, he suggested further clarification on recycling would be useful.

“This work in really well with what dining was already doing because they needed the next poster to put up, and we just gave it to them,” Hinkleman said.

DJ Cleveland, marketing and communications specialist for dining, said the signs dining and Mitchell worked on were printed April 5 and many of the posters went up this week. 

“Throughout the process, Hinkleman has been exemplary in his communication and worked with Dining regarding our schedules and changes of plans.” Cleveland said over email.

Cleveland also said online advertisements for the campaign were confirmed to run on The Daily News’ desktop and mobile sites.

Snavely added that senator Miriah Bowman wrote legislation to put up posters in university bathrooms promoting less water usage. 

Preferred names: Completed

Mitchell said he wanted students, more specifically transgender students, to be able to have their preferred names changed in Ball State services like Blackboard, Health Center forms and class rolls, according to a previous Daily News article.

This point would allow students to switch their names on Canvas, Microsoft Outlook and the registrar from their given names to a name of their preference. 

Mitchell said he talked to Spectrum SGA representative Khanya Msibi and Avery Unate, president of Gamma Rho Lambda — an “all-inclusive multicultural LGBTQI+ social sorority,” according to its national website — to get input on how the system could help the LGBTQ community.  

Ro Anne Royer Engle, associate vice president for student affairs and enrollment services, confirmed in an email that the university will be implementing the name change option in the fall 2019 semester.

“Current students may add a preferred name in self-service banner via my.bsu.edu,” Royer Engle said. “What we are exploring for fall 2019 is providing information for students on preferred first name-change options, where preferred first names will appear in university systems, and expanding the use of preferred first names on student ID cards.” 

Mitchell added that SGA will host informational sessions for students during either the summer or next semester.

Multicultural resources: Not completed 

According to a previous Daily News article, Amplify’s original plan was to increase LGBTQ resources. Mitchell said the point changed when it was announced Ball State would build a new Multicultural Center.

“In talks with different people and organizations, we came to realize that our initial focus was not broad enough, and we needed to focus on helping more students,” Mitchell said.

Amplify has tried to guide Ball State in the creation of its new Multicultural Center by talking to Kay Bales, vice president for enrollment planning and management, and Royer Engel. 

Engel said in an email, “there will be increased opportunities for programming and resources as part of the new center that are not currently available at the center.”

Additionally, Mitchell, Bontrager and Msibi went to University Council to get a full endorsement for an LGBTQ liaison, which they received. 

The next step for approving the liaison will take place during the April 15  University Senate Agenda Committee meeting, where the committee will decide where the bill is sent next, Mitchell said. 

Shuttle from campus to downtown Muncie: Somewhat completed 

Amplify’s original plan was to have a shuttle run from campus to downtown Muncie for three hours on Saturdays, according to a previous Daily News article

However, Mitchell said he was told “from the get-go” by Bales that the platform would not work because there was concern about dropping students off in an area with bars.

When there was a specific event to send the students to, however, Mitchell said SGA was able to send a shuttle downtown.

On April 4, a shuttle ran from campus to downtown Muncie, transporting students to the First Thursday event, which is held the first Thursday of every month.

Shuttle to football games: Somewhat completed

Hinkleman said in a previous Daily News article that shuttles to home football games have run in the past, and reinstating the shuttle would get more students to attend games.

Mitchell said shuttles ran during four of the six home football games, transporting a total of 1,922 students. Snavely added the total cost was $1,463.

An additional shuttle, paid for in part by the Office of Student Life, was sent to the Notre Dame football game, carrying a total of 50 students, Mitchell said. The cost for the shuttle was $615, according to the SGA budget.

Shawn Sullivan, associate athletic director of marketing and fan engagement, confirmed in an email the shuttles ran. 

Shuttle to farmer’s market: Somewhat completed

As a senator, Snavely said she helped create a shuttle to the farmer’s market in a previous Daily News article

This year, a shuttle ran Aug. 18, Sept. 15 and Oct. 27. A total of 180 students used the shuttle, Mitchell said.

Sue Weller, director of facilities business services and transportation, confirmed via email that bus services provided transportation three times to send a shuttle to the farmers market.

Opportunities for community service: Somewhat completed

SGA treasurer Jalen Jones said in a previous Daily News article Amplify wanted SGA to provide more community service opportunities for senators.

This is going to sound dramatic, but if we offered one thing, that would be 100 percent increase from prior [slates],” Mitchell said.

While Mitchell said there has always been a requirement for SGA senators to perform two hours of community service, previous slates have never provided specific opportunities to meet those needs.

Mitchell said senators have also participated in events beyond those provided by SGA.

Expecting parent parking permits: Completed

It was reported in a previous Daily News article that SGA had started work on providing expectant mothers with parking passes during Amplify’s campaign.

Working with Nick Capozzoli, parking manager at Ball State, Amplify was able to get parking passes for expectant mothers, Snavely said.

The purple pass gives expectant mothers the right to park at designated spots on campus.

Hygiene bins and products in restrooms: Not completed

Amplify’s goal was to provide transgender students with hygienic bins and products in university restrooms, according to a previous Daily News report.

Mitchell said $2,000 has been allocated for purchasing the new bins, however the point will might not be achieved before the school year is over as he has tried to contact Ball State Housing several times and could only schedule a meeting for April 10 to discuss the point.

The meeting has since been pushed back to Thursday, Mitchell said.

Chris Wilkey, assistant director of housing and residence life for marketing and communications and technology, said he remembers talking about the point a year ago.

“What we found when we discussed it in our leadership meeting was that there was not a student demand for this,” Wilkey said.

Mitchell said he took the proposal to the Residence Hall Association (RHA), and from that point Kathy Berryhill, president of RHA, “took the reigns” for the platform point. 

Relocating trash and recycling bins: Not completed

Amplify’s goal was to relocate trash and recycling bins around campus, making them more accessible to students. 

Hinkleman created a digital map to show where bins are currently located, but said James Lowe, associate vice president for facilities and planning and management, hasn’t responded to Amplify’s emails.

Lowe said Hinkleman has contact him, but he has not responded because he is waiting for Michael Planton, associate director for landscape and environmental management, to answer. Lowe added that Planton has been on sick leave for two months.

“I think what Mike would tell you is when you put [trash and recycling bins] together, people will ignore the fact that one’s the recycle and one’s the trash, and they use it as trash,” Lowe said.

Hinkleman said he regretted not reaching out to contact earlier in the school year.

“At the beginning I thought it would be easier, so then developing the right methods to get it done led us into the end of last semester,” Hinkleman said. “It was cold so it was hard to get people to go out to walk and do these maps.”

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