Student senate votes to reevaluate SCOPE advisors
A restructuring of the advisory board for the Student Committee on Popular Entertainment has been recommended by the Student Senate after it passed a resolution on Sunday night. The board currently has a member who originally worked as a complainant against SCOPE during its disciplinary hearings in August of 2012. The resolution stated that placing a complainant on the board creates a conflict of interest and suggested restructuring the board accordingly.
The advisory board for SCOPE was created to help the organization fulfill its sanctions and to get it back up and running. There are five members of the board, including two students, Student Activity Fee Committee Chairman Bryan Merrill and Student Senate Speaker Lauren Scarlett. There are also three UNH staff members: Health Services Director of Education Promotion Kathleen Grace Bishop, Director of Campus Recreation Stacy Hall, and the complainant, Coordinator of Leadership and Student Organization Services Nate Hastings.
Although many members of both SCOPE and Student Senate agree that Hastings is a good person, they believe that it may not be a good idea that he is on the board.
"I think it's such a conflict of interest," said Bethany Bucciarelli, the acting executive director of SCOPE. "I don't think it's right to have someone who was going against you trying to help you."
Merrill agreed and believes that adding a complainant to the board probably wasn't the best choice.
"Precedent-wise, it's not a good practice," he said.
Student Body Vice President Alexandra Eicher also thought about what this will mean for future student organizations.
"I don't have a problem with him on the board in the sense that it's Nate, but it sets a bad precedent," she said.
Hastings was unavailable for comment as of Monday night.
Now that the resolution has passed, the Office of Conduct and Mediation has to decide whether or not the board will be restructured. OCM Director Esther Tardy-Wolfe declined to comment, as she has not seen the final copy of the resolution and believes that the office as whole must discuss it together first. The members of SCOPE and Student Senate are unsure of what the decision will be.
Until change occurs, Hastings is still on the board and will continue to advise SCOPE as they try to reestablish themselves.
"It's frustrating because they put these five people in charge of the organization and they don't know anything about it," former SCOPE business manager Dominic DiCicco said.
Bucciarelli, DiCicco and former executive director of SCOPE Jackie Mccarrick all said it is frustrating for them to be advised by people who don't know how the organization is run. They have to wait for extended periods of time to get answers to what they believe are simple questions, which they said Hastings cannot answer on his own - he has to talk to higher-ups in the administration instead. The members believe the advisory board is slowing them down as they try to move forward.
"I see no reason for him to be the head of the advisory board and not be able to answer our questions," DiCicco said. Mccarrick agreed, saying she believed there is a gap in communication.
SCOPE members are also having a hard time trusting their advisory board because Hastings was originally a complainant, they said.
"It's detrimental for us because it's hard for us to trust them," Bucciarelli said.
Mccarrick agreed, saying, "Are they actually helping and restructuring the org in an unbiased way?"
SCOPE also questioned why Hastings was added to the advisory board when it originally was supposed to be comprised of four people, two students and two staff members. There is now an unequal balance, and the organization feels that it is now staff-run. In the resolution created by Andrew Guilliams, a student senator and SAFC senator, he states that it does make sense why Hastings was chosen, seeing as he is the coordinator of student organizations.
The resolution reads, "There is a conflict of interest by placing a complainant on the Advisory Board, regardless of whether or not said complainant is an obvious choice to be appointed to the Advisory Board."
Guilliams said he doesn't have a problem with Hastings personally and knows that it makes sense for him to be on the board because of his position at UNH, but, considering the situation, it is a bad idea. He wasn't sure how effective the Student Senate's recommendation would be, however.
"I'd like to see them restructure the board, but it's hard to say," Guilliams said. Merrill was also unsure but said he thinks that they probably won't do anything about the situation.
"Given the rhetoric and the amount of time it's been in place, I'm not exactly confident that OCM will do anything," he said.
Members of SCOPE are hoping they will make a change, they said.
"We would be able to trust them a little more and feel as if we were getting a fair, unbiased influence," Bucciarelli said.
Restructuring the board would also mean that they would have to reevaluate which members were allowed back into SCOPE. Currently only underclassmen have been reinstated, but the organization is hoping that more members can be let off suspension, they said.
"We're trying to fix our mistakes, and I hope that they can fix theirs," Bucciarelli said.
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