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Resident discipline in residential colleges lagging

March 12, 2015 News

Murray State residential college residents say disciplinary action needs to be further enforced to increase respect on the residential side of campus.

Each of the eight residential colleges are composed of hundreds of students. Within the residential colleges, issues resulting from intoxication, roommate incompatibility and irresponsibility create a community of upset residents when dealing with the inappropriate behaviors of others.

For instance, on Feb. 23 the second floor of Hester Residential College was found to have a hole in the wall that was created by an unidentified resident. After Facilities Management filled the hole, the same spot was damaged twice more. No individuals have come forward.

Hester resident Brendon Shepard, freshman from Duquoin, Ill., said there is no way to regulate residents’ behaviors, especially while intoxicated, and that residents need to “grow up.” He said those who break policies don’t care about the consequences regularly enforced by the Housing staff.

“Unless you kick them out, there’s no way to deal with them,” Shepard said. “People who break state laws don’t care about a warning or talking to the (resident director).”

“I’m really going to be mad if I have to pay for that,” Shepard said.

Other Hester residents feel similarly.

“It’s terrible,” said Charley Lattus, junior from Fulton, Ky. “There is a clear lack of control and since there was no punishment now anything goes.”

The punishment for residential college transgressors should fit the crime, said Jessica Newton, sophomore from Paducah, Ky., who also lives in Hester.

“Serious action means serious consequences,” she said.

Residents living within the University’s residential colleges said they believe a lack of respect for others coupled with immaturity are the roots of the disciplinary problems.

The Murray State Student Life Policies, Rules, and Procedures handbook states that the University Judicial Board has the authority to impose consequences such as expulsion, suspension, restitution and probation amongst others on residents who do not follow University rules.

If a student is removed from Murray State housing for disciplinary reasons, the student is responsible for their housing charges without reimbursement.

Despite this, consequences for misconduct often end with a warning rather than further action.

“(I have my staff) call Public Safety a lot, or need to talk to a resident to address an issue, but the actual consequence is minimal, so people don’t take it seriously,” said Vanessa Barrientos, sophomore from Boston and resident adviser in Springer Residential College.

Barrientos suggested a “three-strikes-you’reout” policy: after three offenses involving Public Safety, a resident would be forced to move off campus.

“This gets the message through that there are other people living here and that you have to respect that,” Barrientos said.

Katie Haefner, senior from St. Louis, said she wishes the University took more action when residents break policies.

“When there is a problem it is treated as a slap on the wrist, and so people are willing to break the rules,” Haefner said.

Haefner suggested a financial penalty as a deterrent. It would generate respect for the rules, similar to that of fining for parking violations, she said.

Haefner lives in Hart Residential College, where vandalism on elevators has been common.

“It’s always a game of what you will find in the elevator,” Haefner said.

However, previously this semester, residents played cards at a pop-up card table in fancy attire in the elevator, leaving residents amused in this instance rather the annoyed.

“This is what makes Hart a home, not when boards and decoration are being pulled down,” Haefner said.

Residents of Lee Clark Residential College report few problems within the college, said Jon Little, senior from Cape Girardeau, Mo., a former resident of Lee Clark Residential College who now lives off campus. He said most of the issues have been instances of theft and visitation policy violations.

Patrick Hooks, junior from Owensboro, Ky., said one reason for minimal violations is the community that has been built through the combined effort of Residential College Council members and resident advisers.

Hooks said that the strength of the community has influenced residents to address noise complaints themselves rather than filing a complaint with their resident adviser.

“Building community just happens because the RAs and RDs are friends and can be found in the lobby often just hanging out,” said Little. “That’s how residents see them, so they respond to the rules better.”

Little said he believes the close community also helps with the sense of security within the residential colleges.

“The fact that you know everyone helps with safety,” Little said. “That’s kind of lacking off campus.”

Murray State students seem to be in agreement that they feel safe living on campus.

Catherine Hunt, junior from Cincinnati, said she believes others “breaking rules doesn’t change safety” within Elizabeth Residential College.

Thomas Wang, sophomore international student from Taipei, Taiwan, and resident of Hester is glad to feel safe within his residential college while being so far from home.

Although rowdy residents annoy Wang, he would choose safety over a quiet residential college.

“Of course I choose safety,” Wang said.


Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer

Residential college heads step down, positions open

February 27, 2015 News

The college heads of James H. Richmond, Lee Clark and Springer-Franklin Residential Colleges have relinquished their positions for the 2015–16 academic school year, making way for new faculty to apply.

Lissa Graham-Schneider, college head of Richmond and associate professor of theater, is relinquishing her position due to personal reasons.

Schneider said she enjoyed the position and hopes for the opportunity to reapply in the future.

John Dressler, college head of Clark and professor of music, is relinquishing his position due to a loss of faculty members within his department.

Despite this, Dressler believes Clark is full of excellent students and finds the college head position rewarding.

“Most people will not understand the role of the college head until they do the job,”  said Kenny Fister, senior lecturer in the department of mathematics and statistics. “In a nutshell, the college head is in charge of the college. They must establish consistency within the college.”

Fister is serving his sixth year as college head of Hester residential college and his first year as chair of the Council of College Heads.

A few responsibilities of the college head involve planning and developing residential college programming, involvement in the Residential College Council and selecting and training First Year Leaders.

The college head also serves as an ombudsperson for students, works with the Retention Office, serves as a resource for the resident director and resident advisers of the college and manages the college budgets.

The college head must have taught for at least 8 years at Murray State. The college head is released partially from academic duties but retains full academic salary and receives a yearly stipend and other benefits.

They are expected to spend time within the residential college that would otherwise be spent within the classroom.

“The College Head is what makes what we are doing different than just having residence halls,” Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs said. “They are the chief advocate for their students.”

“I have spent many long days and nights with students in my office just listening and talking with students about their academics, family and other personal issue,” Fister said. “Many of the student leaders I have worked with would not have gotten involved if it were not for the residential colleges.  It has been a joy to watch the students grow and mature.”

In addition to the advising, administration, promotion and development aspects of the role of a college head, the position is also vital to the relationships and community Robertson said is unique within the residential college.

Crystal Coleman, college head of Elizabeth Residential College and senior lecturer of business, took the position because she wanted to help students and help build relationships and community in the college.

Coleman was asked to apply for the position at Elizabeth by former provost Bonnie Higginson and former Elizabeth college head, Bob Valentine.

One part of Coleman’s favorite aspects of the position is the abundant laughter in Elizabeth, she said.

Coleman said there are numerous things about her position she finds rewarding.

“Giving love and getting it in return,” Coleman said. “Giving advice that I know will help students grow and having the students appreciate it enough to actually embrace it.”

Applications for the position can be picked up in the Student Affairs Office, 425 Wells Hall, or may be received electronically by contacting Jo Ann Mathis.

Applications are due to the Student Affairs Office by March 13.

The selection process a combined effort from students, faculty and staff members living or working within the residential college in question.

Chosen applicants will begin their position on August 1, 2015.

Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer

Construction scheduled to start mid-March

February 13, 2015 News
Courtesy of Jason Youngblood This rendering of the new Franklin Residential College, facing Chestnut Street, will be updated in the next few weeks after the next Board of Regents meeting.

Courtesy of Jason Youngblood
This rendering of the new Franklin Residential College, facing Chestnut Street, will be updated in the next few weeks after the next Board of Regents meeting.

With about a month to go before construction on the New Franklin Residential College starts, students passing across the bridge to the residential side of campus can already see preparation for the project underway.

The city of Murray began preliminary site work this week, relocating a gas main in the empty lot behind the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, the future home of New Franklin.

The construction of New Franklin is the next step in the ongoing project to renovate all Residential Colleges on campus.

David Wilson, director of Housing and Residence Life, said since the construction of Lee Clark and James H. Richmond residential colleges in 2007 and 2009 respectively, there have been plans for the replacement of all the old low-rise residential colleges including Franklin, Old Richmond and Springer Residential Colleges.

Wilson said the low rises were built in the 60s and there have been improvements in construction practices that allow for a better product.

“From what I understand, the old low rises were built with a life expectancy and were to be replaced at some point,” he said. 

Wilson said the diligent work of the Facilities Management staff has enabled the buildings to surpass that life expectancy but the University still needs to move forward with the plan to replace them.



This plan includes the construction of a New Springer Residential College as well as the renovation of the remaining high-rise residential colleges over the course of the next 10 years.

Ultimately, this plan will culminate in the demolition of all of the low-rise residential colleges on campus whose space will be used for undetermined purposes.

Jason Youngblood, assistant director of Facilities Management, said the construction of New Franklin is out to bid with a deadline of March 5 for competing contractors to submit their budget proposals.

The beginning of the site work for New Franklin is scheduled to begin in mid to late March and be completed in 16 months, in time for the fall 2016 semester.

Youngblood said the fast turnaround from accepting the bid proposal to breaking ground on the project is not the biggest problem contractors will face. 

“Not being able to tear down another building to build this one – that’s probably the biggest challenge,” he said. “It would be nice to have more space, but we can’t make more room for buildings than we already have.”

Youngblood said the decision was made to keep Franklin standing during the new facility’s construction so as not to displace students.  This was a problem during the renovations of Hester and Elizabeth Residential Colleges.

The construction of New Franklin, as estimated in the University’s 2015 capital plan, will cost approximately $28 million. The building will be LEED Silver certified, meeting energy-efficient and green guidelines as stipulated by the U.S. Green Building Council.

New Franklin will be a little larger than Clark and similar in design, holding approximately 380 beds in the form of single, double and suite-style rooms.

   Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said the main feature of the new building will be the addition of numerous meeting spots and lounge areas for both students, faculty and staff to utilize, including a 100-person capacity conference room.  

“We wanted to create more spaces for interaction and we wanted to have more ways for faculty when they come to the facilities to do programs to do activities,” Robertson said. “We’ll also have an area that is conducive to teaching classes in the new building.”

Also set to break ground this semester is the New Engineering and Physics Building that is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016.

Robertson said he doesn’t think the simultaneous construction will be a hindrance to campus life, but is instead a sign of Murray State’s vitality.

“I think what it does is show that we are growing- that we’re improving the facilities,” he said. “To me, if you see a lot of construction of the projects on campus going on that’s the sign that things are progressing. It shows we’re going to be even better able to serve our students.”

Story by Ben Manhanke, Chief Videographer

Elevator issues arise

February 6, 2015 News
Kory Savage/The News Elevators on campus are routinely serviced to ensure the safety of passengers.

Kory Savage/The News
Elevators on campus are routinely serviced to ensure the safety of passengers.

(WITH VIDEO) – Within a four-day time span, students from Faculty Hall, the Fine Arts Complex and various Residential Colleges reported having problems operating the elevators in their building.

Additionally, seven people reported being stuck in elevators.

Mike Dunnavant, director of Building and Grounds Maintenance, said approximately 25 elevator “out of service” calls are received each month on average.

He said of those calls about two to three involve an actual “person stuck” situation.

Even though all 58 elevators on campus are routinely serviced by licensed elevator technicians through Facilities Management and annually inspected by Kentucky officials, they still have times when there are mechanical issues.

  “The elevators operate safely and are maintained on a day-to-day basis,” Dunnavant said.

Despite reports of students being stuck in elevators, most students continue to take them.

Allie Phillips, senior from Louisville, Ky., said getting stuck in an elevator isn’t something she worries about.

“I’m not claustrophobic,” she said. “I know if I ever did get stuck I would eventually get out.”

Laura Owens, senior from Owensboro, Ky., said she was more worried about how many people were taking the elevators at one time, than getting stuck on an elevator.

“I don’t decide whether or not to take an elevator on the chance that I may get stuck,” she said.

Story by Brittany Risko, Staff writer

On-campus housing needs improvements

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Katie Wilborn/The News

Katie Wilborn/The News

When Murray State recruits new students, the residential college system is advertised as the best option for students. Residential colleges are different from dorms because they’re cohesive, they form a sense of community and they help get students involved through intramural sports and clubs.

Murray State believes in the colleges so much they require students who live more than 50 miles away from campus to live in them for two years. This wouldn’t be a problem for most students, but there have been several issues within the colleges that make this transaction unfair.

Within the last week, students and staff at Springer Residential College have dealt with four reported cases of lice, a sexual assault was reported at Regents Residential College and a theft of more than $500 was reported at Hart Residential College.

If the University is going to prioritize living on campus to the point of making it mandatory, then the residential colleges should be the cleanest and safest places on campus.

The Residential College Review Task Force is meeting throughout the semester to make a list of recommendations on how to improve the system for the next academic year.

It is a positive that the task force is putting thought into improving extracurriculars and retention, but the safety, functionality and sanitary conditions of the colleges should also be taken into account.

This is especially important because off-campus living is more competitive and less costly than living in the residential colleges. The average cost of a double room in Franklin, Springer, Old Richmond, Hart, Regents, White, Elizabeth and Hester residential colleges is $2,288 per semester.

At apartment complexes geared toward students, like Campus Evolution Villages South, rent for a three bedroom apartment can run as low as $1,800 a semester per roommate.

Murray State should consider what students are paying more than $500 a semester for. Are they paying for the community that is advertised? Or are they paying more to live with strict curfews, power outages, Wi-Fi outages, insects and crime?

The residential college system is something that many of us feel lucky to have. Some of us who lived on campus before living off campus were glad to experience the residential colleges. They are a place to make valuable friendships. However, if Murray State is going to make on-campus living the only option, then it should make it worthwhile.

Clean up the lice, get rid of the crime and make the colleges a place that students actually want to live.

Police Beat 2.22.13

February 21, 2013 News, Police Beat

Feb. 14

11:36 a.m. – A caller reported a motor vehicle accident at Regents Residential College. Officers were notified and a report was taken.

6:50 p.m. – Officers issued a verbal warning for reckless driving at the Alumni Affairs Building.


Feb. 15

3:37 p.m. – A caller reported harassment to the Public Safety Building. Officers were notified and an information report was taken.

9:55 p.m. – A caller reported finding marijuana in Franklin Residential College. Officers were notified and a report was taken.


Feb. 16

6:14 p.m. – A caller reported stolen property at the Curris Center. Officers were notified and the property was found.

6:21 p.m. – A caller reported being stuck in the elevator in Blackburn Science Building. Officers, Central Plant and Murray Fire Department were notified.


Feb. 17

5:07 a.m. – A caller reported an intoxicated person at Richmond Residential College. Officers were notified and a report was taken.

11:44 p.m. – A caller reported being harassed at Clark Residential College. Officers were notified and a report was taken.


Feb. 18

5:23 p.m. – An officer reported removing debris from the roadway at Roy Stewart Stadium parking lot.

6:39 p.m. – A caller reported a person was stuck in a Faculty Hall elevator. Officers and Central Plant were notified.


Feb. 19 

10:45 a.m. – A caller reported a suspicious person at Waldrop Drive. Officers and Murray Police Department were notified and a report was taken.

5:27 p.m. – An officer reported an accident without injury in front of Backyard Burger. Murray Police Department was notified.


Feb. 20

12:15 a.m. – An elevator alarm was accidentally activated at Hester Residential College. Officers were notified and the elevator appeared to be normal.

2:46 a.m. – Officers reported an unsecured vehicle at Regents Residential College. The owner was notified and an information report was taken.


Call of Fame

Feb. 19 – 12:01 a.m. Officers issued a citation to Dimitri Taylor, freshman from Franklin, Ky., for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Motorists assists – 0

Racer escorts – 4

Arrests – 0

Lexy Gross, Assistant News Editor, compiles Police Beat with materials provided by Public Safety. Not all dispatched calls are listed.

University completes renovation of Elizabeth, hires consulting firm to review other residential colleges

September 10, 2012 News, Slider Featured stories

The renovated Elizabeth Residential College brings a more modern look to the University. || Ben McGrath/The News

Murray State has set a renovation plan, which started with the revealing of the newly modernized Elizabeth Hall.

Elizabeth Residential College opened its refurbished building on Aug. 18, to the incoming freshman class and gave others a sight into the changes other residential colleges might one day experience.

Kim Oatman, director of Facilities Management, said the residence hall received a complete restoration.

“The first floor was completely renovated to include a larger lobby and a student lounge, plus accessible restrooms, “Oatman said. “On the upper floors (2 – 9), the center core areas were completely renovated to include new accessible restrooms/showers and student lounges/laundry rooms.

He said most all of the bedroom sizes stayed the same but they did get new furnishings, vanities, floorings, ceilings and paint.

Oatman said the changes also helped the University’s growing “green” initiative.

He said Elizabeth was now considered a more sustainable facility.  The residence hall was the first construction project completed on campus that will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.

According to the United States Green Building Council, LEED helps set the framework for building and maintaining green building designs, assisting in everything from construction to operations and maintenance solutions. LEED provides an independent verification which proves a building’s environmental quality, which is calculated on a rating system.

Natalie Lay, sophomore from St. Louis, Mo., said living in Elizabeth’s temporary residence, Old Richmond, helped her appreciate the improvements to the residence hall this year.

“I like that there is a lot more closet space and the drawers have a lot more room than last year,” she said. “Although it is one of the community – style residence halls, it does feel a bit homier.”

Lay said the colleges newly – renovated walls could attribute to Elizabeth’s growing popularity over the following years due to the modernized factor the residential college has.

Crystal Coleman, College Head of Elizabeth Hall, said Old Richmond was still planned to be used by Elizabeth but in a different manner then last year.

“This year we are calling Old Richmond Hall the ‘Summer Home of ‘Lizo’”, she said.  “It’s a temporary place for many international students and other students until they move to their permanent on-campus home.”

Many students wondered what the finished result of the renovations would last semester but Coleman said all of those fears were put to rest n the first day of move- in day.

She said that with the lobby being a main gathering place, some students were worried but most of the feedback Coleman has received has been nothing but positive.

Jordan Jones, sophomore from Paducah, Ky., said although he lived in the Clark Residential College last year, he does not regret his choice switching to Elizabeth.

“I like that it has that hotel style lobby and it’s really nice to see how they renovated it,” Jones said. “The lobby is really nice and it shows the amount of time that was put into it.”

Elizabeth was the first of many renovations planned for the residence halls. David Wilson, Director of housing and residence life, said the renovation plan has had many corrections since the original was submitted.

“The original plan was to try and renovate the high rise buildings over the course of the next 8 to 10 years,” he said. “The next building was going to be Hester, but during the most recent state budget cut, we did not receive approval to encumber debt. “

Wilson said the school has hired a consulting firm to review the current college system, which will look at many qualities of the housing and residence life department, such as the residential college system and programming.

“They will include all areas of housing, including a plan for renovation,” said Wilson.   “With the exception of the two new buildings, all of our halls are over 50 years old, and therefore cannot provide the amenities or comfort that today’s student requires.”

Written by Samantha Villanueva, Staff writer.

Singers compete for title in annual ‘Idol’ competition

November 17, 2011 Features

Savannah Sawyer
Staff writer

Photos by Charlotte Kyle/The News

The crowd for Springer-Franklin College went crazy Monday night when Charzetta Shelbie Pittman, sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., won Murray State Idol.

“I am so honored to be representing Springer-Franklin Residential College,” Pittman said. “We have a long tradition of pride in our residential college, and I am so thankful that my peers chose me to represent them in this campus-wide competition.”

The song she chose to sing was “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” by Jennifer Holiday from the musical “Dreamgirls.”

She said she initially chose this song because it showed what great vocal range she has and once she started practicing she realized there was something more to the performance.

“This song is not just about fighting for a loved one; it’s also about fighting for your life in essence,” Pittman said. “A few days before my performance, my big brother had a stroke and was rushed to the hospital. He was diagnosed with lupus a while ago and it is starting to take a toll on his life. He is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. I thought about him and his fight for his life as I sang this song.” … Continue Reading

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