The new Director of Dining Services Helmut Mayer spoke before Student Senate for the first time last Thursday, and gave a brief outline of his background and experience, as well the changes he would be bringing to the institution. Chief among them was a controversial move to eliminate trans-fats from all food served on campus by April, and from the C-store by March.
After he spoke, Mayer took questions from the assembled body, which covered a wide range of topics, from buying locally produced products and produce, starting a composting system, and improved labeling of food
Freshman Senator Avi Segaloff asked exactly what items would be removed from the C-store as a result of the
trans-fat issue, to which Mayer said around three items were going to have to be removed or replaced overall.
Mayer said the large cookies would be replaced, the brownies in the Gizmo would be made differently to eliminate trans-fats, and that there would still be pizza rolls in the C-store.
Sophomore Senator Joyce Omondi asked if there was going to be any possibility of taking food out of the Hard Knox Café. Mayer said starting at lunch the next day, students could get a to-go carton out of the Caf if they wanted one, and there was no reason that they could not take food out now.
Mayer proved himself to be very open to input and criticism during the questioning period, reputedly telling the assembled body to e-mail him suggestions or to just walk into his office with ideas to discuss.
After Mayer stepped off the floor to applause, Campus Safety Director John Schlaf came before the chamber to discuss a recent downtown Galesburg survey, and the recent thefts from SMC, GDH, and other area colleges.
The extent of the thefts overall has been several thousand dollars worth of laptops and projectors. Monmouth and Carl Sandburg Colleges were reporting similar thefts, indicating the criminal is most likely not a student, but rather a local who is making a business out of his crimes.
“They don’t seem to think twice about coming to a place like this, because you’re so open and trusting. They’ve taken advantage of that openness and that trust, and they’ve taken some of your property,” he said.
According to Schlaf, the city of Galesburg was looking into some downtown revitalization efforts, with the inclusion of Knox College as a major factor of consideration.
Schlaf then took questions from the chamber. The first question, asked by senior Senator Alex Enyart, inquired about the rumors of cameras being put into place across campus was true. Schlaf responded that a recommendation to that effect had indeed been made, but a number of students had already privately raised issue with that. Dean Romano added such efforts would only be continued based on the interactions and discussions between the administration and the students.
Schlaf also answered questions in regards to anti-theft devices and emergency plans in regards to a shooting before stepping down.
Sophomore Senator Ben Robbins took the floor to present a resolution concerning the acquisition of a climbing wall. During the previous week, an online survey had been conducted to gauge student interest and support of a possible climbing wall. The survey results showed about 500 students were in favor of the wall. It was later revealed the survey had not been secure, when sophomore Senator Tim Lovett said one of his constituents had voted 17 separate times in the survey.
A variety of questions were asked, ranging from feasibility to design to insurance to placement, but Robbins made it clear this resolution was just a preliminary step in a much longer process of actually getting a rock wall.
After further discussion for half an hour, the resolution was amended to drop its funding level priority and passed in a vote of 39 to 1.
Senior Senate President Brad Middleton next spoke on the floor in regards to the petition for greater student representation that had been brought before the Knox Board of Trustees.
In a letter response to Senate (which can be seen on deptorg.knox.edu/studentsenate), the Board of Trustees explained the fact that they believed there was currently sufficient student representation on the board.
The final item on the agenda was the sending of a letter of condolence to Northern Illinois University in light of their recent tragedy. The letter read as follows:
To the community of Northern Illinois University,
As a college community we were shocked and grief stricken to learn of the senseless acts of tragic violence that took place on your campus Thursday, February 14, 2008.
Only two short hours separate our campuses, but even that short distance does not separate us now. Today we stand with the students, faculty, staff, and administration of Northern Illinois in your hour of need. In the days since the tragedy, your community has shown great strength during this difficult time. Yours is a strength that inspires us all.
Abraham Lincoln, who spoke at Knox College in 1858, and whose leadership and strength we as a College value, once wrote, “The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds.” We are bound together, the Knox College community and yours, by our determination to improve the world for ourselves and our fellow man.
We join you in mourning for and reflecting on the fallen, the families, and the friends. The students of Knox College extend to your community our thoughts, prayers, sympathy, hope and much more, to each and every one affected by this horrible tragedy.
With hope for a better future for all,
The Student Body of Knox College
The letter was approved by unanimous consent.