Bob Caswell, executive director of media and community relations, and Julie Cameron, senior executive director publications and marketing, presented the Senate with findings in a branding campaign. Last December the University began a public image campaign to develop branding in the University.
“The university’s public image has been fragmented and fractured, which is a real misinterpretation of where USM is going,” Caswell said.
Presently, USM has over 50 different logos. The committee is devising a marketing plan to create a universal logo used in all avenues across the University.
“USM is deeply involved in its region,” Cameron said. “We have created degree programs based on the community, for example, electrical engineering.”
The committee surveyed 300 members of the general public and 100 opinion leaders in surrounding counties. The results showed many community members are familiar with USM’s offerings. The goal of the branding campaign is for USM to be a top-ranked regional public university by 2010.
Senators began to discuss the issues directly affecting their peers.
Sen. Joshua Dolby suggested the committee utilize departments such as the sociology department, where students could issue the surveys. Sen. Jessica Roy questioned the accuracy of the survey. She was worried that opinion leaders would not be concerned with the tuition issues. Caswell said the opinion leaders are randomly drawn from a database.
Sen. Daryl Morazzini questioned if the point of this campaign is to sell the University to potential students.
“I believe if you build it, they come, ” he said.
Morazzini was concerned with the current flaws at the University.
“The library is tragic, the University doesn’t put money behind it and so many departments are under-funded,” he said.
The University needs to really focus on the Arts and Sciences, while drawing attention to the real gems of professors, said Morazzini. He also suggested it’s time for a new USM mascot.
“How many universities have Huskies? We need to drop it off in the woods,” he said.
Sen. Shaun Quinn wants the University to tackle present problems in research and development. Research and development needs to develop into more departments if this university wants to be seen in the same way as Boston University.
“The University is nothing without their students,” Quinn said.
All that Jazz
The jazz group played for the Senators to show their musical talent. They are asking for $2,000 to help fund their trip to the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference held in Toronto, Canada in January. Although the Senate was thoroughly entertained, the issue of money did put a damper on the soothing jazz.
Roy questioned the amount of money being requested but said, “I got warmed up by listening to it and the music program is a highly accredited program.”
The Senate has limited funds for the remainder of the semester. They suggested the jazz group go to the Board of Student Organizations [BSO]. Sen. Tyler Stanley clarified that the group is not a member of the BSO.
“We look at how much it benefits the students,” said Quinn, BSO secretary.
The Senate voted to give the jazz group $1,000 and present the proposal to the BSO.
“I’m concerned that this group will go to the BSO and will have to come back to the Senate,” said Stanley.
Student Conduct Code investigated
Over the past weeks, Senators have had heated discussions over the Student Conduct Code. Stephen Nelson, assistant to the vice president, office of community standards, openly discussed the issues. Nelson reviewed the student conduct code with the Senate. The conduct code is reviewed every three years and this year it is up for review.
Dolby asked if there is a conduct code for faculty and staff. Nelson said their situation is different and faculty and staff are bound by union contracts.
Sen. Mike Norton describes the conduct code as a railroad, with Nelson as the conductor. He said the code is vague and ultimately a group of people jeopardizes one’s college career.
“The code doesn’t stand unbiased,” said Norton. “It’s like the British justice system, guilty until proven innocent.”
Some Senators said the conduct code should include character witnesses. Nelson said they have looked into character witnesses, but oftentimes it leads to second-hand information and can be difficult to verify. Although each case is different, Nelson tries to offer fairness.
“There are no second chances for the accused,” Sen. Andrew Goodman said “The scales should be balanced, but they are tipped in this case.
Sen. Dorn McMahon said this dialog proves the need for a representative on the Board of Trustees, which approves the language in the student conduct code. Dolby proposed the Senate request a meeting of the conduct code review board.
According to Sen. Mike Norton, unallocated funds are $2433.
Sen. Brittany Esposito
Sen. Ben Strout