‘Miscommunication’ in WCU Vice President Candidate Biography

Dear Editor:

After reading the biography written about me by Staff Writer Lee Schwarz in last week’s edition of the Western Carolinian, it is obvious to me that clarification is needed on some statements which were printed. Although I am not implying that Mr. Schwarz misconstrued my statements, I am clearly stating that there has been miscommunication.

One section of the biography stated that I have “been responsible for appropriating $28,000 to various clubs and organizations.” I serve on the SGA Finance Committee, which appropriates these funds to clubs and organizations. This year, the committee has yet to formulate a budget that satisfies all six senators who sit on the committee, so money has yet to be appropriated. In addition, the amount given above is only an approximation of the total amount available for appropriation—the amount could increase or decrease.

Also, the biography stated that I have “helped to introduce legislation to make it possible for students interning and teaching to attend WCU without purchasing a meal plan.”… There is much clarification needed in regards to this statement. First, I was the senator who introduced a bill last semester in the SGA Senate which addressed my constituents’ concern that students at WCU involved in internships and student teaching are required to purchase a meal plan, even though most of their days during those semesters are spent in school systems. Assuming these students would eat breakfast and lunch in the school systems or in restaurants near the school, they should not be required to purchase a meal plan at WCU because of their extenuating circumstance. Those students should be able to use the money normally used to purchase a meal plan at the school systems or restaurants near the school systems.

This bill was unanimously passed in the SGA Senate, however, this does not automatically change University policy. The bill is then given to University administration who review the bill and decide whether to approve it as it was passed in the Senate or amend the bill. I have been informed that the bill has been amended by University administration, and University personnel will be attending an upcoming Senate meeting to address the Senators and explain what in the bill has been amended. This addresses one reason why I chose to run for Vice President of SGA … My bill, which was passed unanimously in a Senate of 33 elected students chosen to represent concerns of every student at Western Carolina University, has nevertheless been amended by University administration as they deemed such action necessary. The students voice is not represented in this manner. My wish is for the President-elect and Vice President-elect of SGA to forever strive to empower the student voice at WCU with the respect it deserves…

Furthermore, the biography stated that I “would like to end bickering in the Senate.” Here, my exact statement has simply been paraphrased at Mr. Schwarz’s discretion, and that choice to paraphrase was poor … Following is the exact statement I made regarding why I sought the Office of the Vice Presidency: “To work very cooperatively with the Office of the President—not eliminating intelligent disagreement, but definitely eliminating unnecessary childish bickering that only interferes with the operations of SGA.”

Again, Mr. Schwarz chose to paraphrase another statement in the Carolinian when he wrote that I said I “would like to contribute to the leadership of JJ [sic] Rowe and Joe Cowan.” This statement is actually humorous when one realizes that these two SGA leaders will no longer be at WCU next year—so I certainly would not be able to contribute to their leadership! In fact, what I actually said was that I “would like to continue leadership given under JJ. Rowe and Joe Cowan and to take ideas and turn them into action.” …

Although I could also clarify a couple of more statements written by Mr. Schwarz in which I was misrepresented, I will end my list of corrections because I feel my point has been clearly expressed and these injustices have been addressed. I would like to thank all students who expressed their support for me during the election, and I am confident that whoever they have chosen to be their next Vice President is the best person for the job. Both Mr. Lewis and Mr. Perry have proven to be extremely competent and amiable contenders who are very open to the student body.

Sincerely,Chris Hall