Setting the record straight

This letter is in response to the assertions about the Student Unions and Activities Board of Governors (SUA BOG) that appeared in Sean NiemicâÄôs Oct. 5 guest column. As student leaders of the BOG, we want to set the record straight. Office space in Coffman Union is allocated annually to student groups by the BOG. Each year, the number of applications for space far exceeds the number of spaces available. For example, we have 14 large offices available for groups, but last year almost twice that number of groups applied for large office space. To select among groups that apply, the BOG uses four distinct criteria: 1) office hours and accessibility to students, 2) programs and events and/or services provided, 3) utilization of space, 4) compliance with the space-allocation procedure. The space-allocation process presents a difficult challenge each year because we have many more qualified applicants than space available. When a group cannot be offered space, it reflects the reality of the limited space available in Coffman Union, not a bias against that group. Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) did apply for space this past spring, and the group was given the same consideration for space as all other applicants. Based on the BoardâÄôs four criteria, however, other groups had stronger applications. Additionally, CFACT indicated that it would only accept a large office in Coffman. The groupâÄôs refusal to accept cubicle space limited the BOGâÄôs ability to offer the group space. The letter also repeats the claim that CFACT was initially granted office space. This claim is false. Neither the BOG nor any of its committees ever adopted a recommendation that CFACT be awarded space. The leaders of CFACT received a letter on April 17 clearly indicating the BOGâÄôs initial decision not to award space. Additionally, the letter claims that the group WomenâÄôs Student Activist Collective (WSAC) was given preferential treatment for space. The BOG did consider WSAC for reassignment to a different space in Coffman because in its initial application, the group appeared to hold few events for students. WSAC exercised its right to appeal (a right available to all groups, including CFACT), and presented additional information about the extent of its programming. The BOG accepted the appeal, and the group was offered its same space for the coming year. Finally, we are disappointed that NiemicâÄôs column implied that the BOG is not a student-run organization. Voting membership on the BOG is limited to students who pay the Student Services Fee. Professional staff in the Student Unions assist BOG members by providing technical assistance and administrative support. They do not attempt to influence which groups should be offered space. We are deeply concerned that the column made allegations of staff misconduct when no misconduct occurred. Inventing a story about administrative interference and presenting it as fact displays a serious lack of professionalism. SUA staff members acted ethically and appropriately throughout the space allocation process. We understand that CFACT is disappointed that it was not awarded space in Coffman. However, we do not believe this disappointment is justification for the decision by some of its leaders to disrupt a BOG meeting and then misrepresent the actions of the BOG in a newspaper column. We know personally that the BOG upholds high standards for fairness throughout the space-allocation process. While we welcome all student feedback, we ask that it remain factual and respectful. Kenny Kapphahn and Tim Weiske Presidents past and present Board of Governors