Students address MATC Board of Directors

Conflicting reports are given regarding Student Life during May and June meetings

On June 25, the MATC District Board was addressed at their monthly meeting by three students who described their leadership roles in student clubs and their experience with the Office of Student Life. Marissa Nicholson, president of Student Government, told the board she had been the student advocate in disciplinary hearings. She de-scribed how she had been voted in by the Student Government members on the last meeting of the semester and then relinquished her role as vice president of the Black Student Union (which would have made her in-eligible to be SG president). She also informed the board that she had received resolution-writing training at West Allis Campus with a small group of students. Donovan Hemphill, president of the Black Student Union, ad-dressed the board next. He acknowledged that he was new to MATC when appointed to his office, but argued his extensive experience with BSUs at his previous schools more than qualified him. He defended the MATC BSU’s success as the result of hard work and creativity, and rejected the notion that they had received favoritism. By hosting workshops in collaboration with MATC programs held, he said, BSU remained active and engaging, without blowing their bud-get on expensive events. Nancy Rodriguez, president of the Educator’s Club, spoke last. She stated that her organization had benefited from working closely with the Office of Student Life, and that the office had helped her grow as a leader.

Throughout their statements, there was one common thread: They rejected the idea that the Office of Student Life had interfered in student elections, hand-picked them for leadership or treated students unfairly. They did this in response to com-plaints brought before the board at the previous meeting by a number of students.

On May 28, three different students attended the MATC board meeting to voice their complaints against the Office of Student Life. The speakers, Tequila Buriss, Monica Mercado and Shacora Jennings, described their involvements with the Milwaukee Student Government, Latino Student Organization (of which Mercado is president), and Black Student Union. How-ever, they stated their concerns were shared by at least some members of the Chess Club, the Deaf Culture Club and the Asian Student Association as well. As they spoke, several students who remained silent stood near them in support.

Chief among their complaints were these: That the office interferes in student elections, edits negative information out of statements to be presented to the board, did not give students much-requested training to write resolutions, often denied requests or impeded activities without explanation, and retaliated against students who spoke out by writing them up and subjecting them to disciplinary action. Although the board does not respond to public comments when they are made, the board did state that the Office of Student Life was undergoing both an internal audit and an external review, and their policies and practices would be looked into to ensure they were in the best interest of the students. The board also discussed forming an ad hoc committee to complement the investigation by en-gaging in fact-finding. Further information will be printed as it comes to light.