At the Nov. 6 Student Senate meeting, the senators addressed some of the main issues that campus is facing this semester.

The SMC renovation, the recent MU Alert last weekend, and how to register for classes next semester.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Senate, as part of their agenda, invited different groups around the university to talk about certain issues on campus.

The Registrar’s office was invited to speak and address questions that were put together by the students about registering for classes and the common questions that are associated with that process.

The questions ranged from the system that is used in registering for classes, early preference for classes, and also how a withdraw from a class looks on a transcript.

Candy Dean, representative from the Registrars office, first addressed the system that is used and how the wait list for classes could be greatly diminished.

“This is one of the biggest changes to the systems that we’re making,” said Dean. “We developed our own system and we’re trying to make the updates more appealing to students.”

Dean also went on to say that many times students decide at the last minute they do not want to take a certain class, the new system will make it easier to drop that class and possibly find a new class, with a diminished wait list.

Another issue that the Senate dealt with was the early preference that some student groups have in registering for classes.

Traditionally, the class preferences were reserved for students with learning and physical disabilities, which then expanded into the athletes and honor’s college students, because they would have to schedule classes around practices.

There are certain classes that the honor’s college students need over other students.
The question was why can’t all of the student organizations have preference, and the answer is that if all the student groups asked for preference.

The system would be backed up and it would take away from the purpose of early preference.

One of the last things that the Senate addressed was a withdrawal from class.

A lot of students are concerned with how a “W” on the transcript looks. Dean assured students that it really did not matter to future employers.

They also addressed that it is not a good idea to just drop a class; that is why students have an advisor.

They want to make sure that there is not a misunderstanding in the class and they do not want students to simply walk away from a class.

One of the main issues that the meeting focused on was the plans for the SMC renovation, which was lead by Dr. Aminta Hawkins-Breaux, vice president of Student Affairs.

It is up to the Student Senate to determine what is going to happen with the extra space for student organizations.

They have to determine how the organizations are going to be separated and also how they are going to get allocation for this project.

The first thing that Breaux addressed was parking.

The SMC is going to accommodate more parking for the new Sports Education Facility. This is going to be an extension of the SMC that should be completed in the year 2010.

The other issue that Breaux addressed is where they are going to put all the student organizations during the renovation. “Every week things change,” Breaux said. “We’re still trying to figure out where everyone is going to go. Nothing is set in stone.”

The plan, so far, is to keep the number of meeting rooms in the SMC, but to expand them; however, most of the meeting rooms are going to be on the first floor.

“This is turning out to be better then when we started”, said Breaux, “It’s going to give students easier access to the meeting rooms.”

In addition to the meeting rooms, Breaux wants to see the renovated SMC as “more of a destination place” for students.

This whole project is about making the SMC a “hub of activity,” as Breaux put it; a place to eat, relax, and have meetings.

In the new project, it was also said that, for the commuter students, they are going to be putting lockers in the basement.

“This is so the students do not have to be living out of their trunks,” said Breaux.
The decision to renovate the SMC was voted last year by the students for more campus recreation.

There are over 3,000 students that are part of intramurals and the University also hosts over 120 camps during the summer.

Another renovation that Breaux said the University was looking into, was a new performing arts center, where they can hold concerts larger than the ones already held in Lyte Auditorium and Pucillo Gymnasium.

The smaller performances could be held in the renovated SMC, as well.
The new performing arts center is still being discussed and would most like focus on the academics.

The building of these new projects would present MU with new opportunities and bring more excitement to the university.

Lastly, the Senate talked about the MU Alert that was issued last weekend.

The issue was reported by a faculty member who, from the third floor of Stayer, believed that he saw an individual carrying a rifle.

After the report the students who are registered for the MU Alert received the text messages telling them to take caution when going outside, since the incident was still under investigation.

Students can register to receive the text messages by going to their MyVille accounts and filling out the necessary information.

The University was not put on lockdown for several reasons.

One of them, Breaux pointed out, was that they did not want to make any assumptions without getting the right information. She believed it would look like the University was “crying-wolf.”

The process of a lock-down would shut the entire University down and they did not want to take that chance before getting all the information that they could.

It turns out that even though the faculty member did see the rifle, it was a prop for an elementary education class; the professor of that class was notified and confirmed that the rifle was merely used for an in-class assignment.

[Web Ed. Note: For more information about the SMC renovation, and to see artist renderings, see]