Student gov flip-flops on controversial grad speaker

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By Alyssa Foley

The University of St. Thomas is graduating 950 students on Saturday, but the person sending them off into the world is mired in controversy.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is UST’s 2017 commencement speaker. He has been the archbishop of New York since 2009, but previously he was archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconson. It is Dolan’s actions as the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Milwaukee during major pedophile priest scandals that make him a controversial figure.

Briefly, some of the controversy highlights include:

  • Milwaukee was home to notorious priest pedophiles, including Rev. Lawrence Murphy, who a church therapist assessed as having molested up to 200 boys during his 25 years as head of St. John’s School for the Deaf.
  • Rather than investigate priests accused of sexual molestation, the Milwaukee archdiocese reassigned priests to other churches.
  • The Milwaukee archdiocese confirmed that Dolan approved $20,000 payoffs to abusive priests in 2003 to persuade them to leave the church.
  • In a 2007 letter to the Vatican, Dolan requested to move about $57 million into a cemetery trust fund to protect the church’s assets from victims who demanded compensation. His request was promptly approved. The archdiocese filed bankruptcy in 2011.

UST 2017 graduate Christina Cochran started a petition in April to remove Dolan as the graduation speaker, it has gained 139 signatures before commencement.

“A commencement speaker should lend hope and inspire a generation moving forward,” writes Cochran, “Cardinal Dolan’s actions depicted in the news filled me and my peers with dismay and deep sadness, not hope.”

Outgoing university President Robert Ivany has stated that he does not believe the critical view of the protesting seniors reflects the general campus opinion.

A similar petition to remove Cardinal Dolan as a graduation speaker at De Moyne College’s 2015 commencement gained over 600 signatures but was also unsuccessful. De Moyne College is a Catholic university in upstate New York.

Student gov supports protestors…

At the UST Student Government Association meeting on Tuesday, April 25, student senators approved a resolution 13-4 for Cardinal Dolan to “be reviewed and considered for removal” as the graduation speaker, citing concerns expressed by the 2017 graduating class.

“I believe we need a lot more backing than just a petition to try to get him moved out of there,” said UST 2017 graduate Victoria Villareal, who asked the student government officers for their support.

“This isn’t a jury, we’re not trying to decide whether or not he’s guilty or not. This is, do we want someone who has been shrouded with this type of accusations to be our 2017 commencement speaker? Personally, I don’t want anyone who has any ties to covering up anything in any way as our commencement speaker,” said Vice President Hunter Byrne at the meeting, “I would rather just have Dr. Ivany himself be our commencement speaker.”

In the initial roll call, five student representatives abstained from voting. President Diego Lagos called them out for it, “Look, y’all were voted for a reason…Congratulations, you just like, ate a taco and then left.”

One abstaining senator didn’t believe the articles about Dolan they found online, calling it “fake news” while another senator dismissed the controversy as mere allegations. Another senator pointed out that every cardinal in the world is a sinner and the church is about forgiveness. After more discussion and amendments, a second vote was taken and the resolution was approved 13-4.

A student government advisor praised Cardinal Dolan as being “heralded” as a “distinguished” church leader for his “great works” adding that “I would just probably be careful impugning a cardinal that has a very distinguished record.”

…And then backtracks

Before Cochran met with the university president, student government President Lagos vetoed the resolution he pushed his officers to pass.

“I didn’t feel comfortable with it,” Lagos explained at the following May 2 student government meeting, noting that he received “advice” from the student government advisors that influenced his veto decision.

A diluted version of the resolution was reintroduced at the May 2 student government meeting. This time, three student representatives firmly voiced their continued support of the protesting students, the other 13 students despondently voted “nay” in voices that sounded like defeat. It was a complete vote-flip from just a week before.

Some of the nay-sayers were not happy with the new version, preferring the stronger resolution passed the week before. Others noted that they don’t want any more media attention, an article about the protest had been published in the Houston Chronicle that week. Others stated that any resolution they pass is useless because the university administration will not listen and they did not wish to “fly in the face of authority.”

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Cardinal Dolan will present the keynote address at the 2017 University of St. Thomas Commencement at 10 am on Saturday, May 20 at NRG Arena, 1 NRG Park.

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Crooker Cafeteria piles on health violations

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The Subway on campus violated health code on a recent inspection. Image Credit: Alyssa Foley

By Alyssa Foley

On a recent city health inspection, Crooker cafeteria was found to have seven health code violations while the campus Subway received two violations. The City of Houston Health Department sanitarians conducted routine, unannounced inspections on Feb. 7.

City health inspectors walked into Cooker Cafe and found dirty kitchen floors. Food service items that were not stored high enough off the floor and in a closed container to prevent contamination, which is a repeat violation from November. Single service food items were being used more than once. Besides the kitchen floors, non-food contact surface areas of equipment were also dirty. Crooker employees also failed to properly label stored food. The cafeteria was operating without the person in charge having the Food Service Manager’s Certification required by the city, another repeat violation from November’s inspection.

Next door at the campus Subway, potentially hazardous foods were not reheated within two hours. The Subway was also operating without the person in charge having a Food Service Manager’s Certification.

Read Crooker’s Feb. 7 health inspections here and here, and the Subway inspection here. The University of St. Thomas contracts campus dining services to Aramark.

Frequent re-inspections signal issues.

All food establishments in the city are inspected by the Houston Health Department at least once per year. UST’s campus dining service was inspected on Nov. 8, May 20 and May 11. UST Underground covered these previous inspections here.

Christopher Sparks, the chief sanitarian over retail food inspections at the Houston Health Department explained that there are two ways a food establishment would be re-inspected more than once per year. If a food establishment is given a high score on an inspection, it’s automatically scheduled for re-inspection sooner than one year.

The second way an eatery would be re-inspected sooner is if the Health Department received a complaint. Sparks explained that once a report is received, it is assigned to an area supervisor and given a priority ranking. Sanitation and sickness complaints are investigated within 24 to 48 hours.

Anyone can file a complaint with the City of Houston Health Department on a food vendor within city limits by calling 832-393-5100 or filling out the anonymous online form here.

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P.S.
No, I’m not currently enrolled at St. Thomas, I didn’t re-enroll for the spring. I’m back at Houston Community College for this semester and I’m busy completing college applications for this fall for universities with excellent journalism programs.

I realize UST Underground seems pretty lifeless, no one stepped to take it over this semester and I don’t blame any student for being hesitant to step up in the climate of censorship and fear at UST. I would be more than happy to turn over this site to a student who will continue updating it. I would like to extend a particular invitation to publish on UST Underground to any student working for the new Celt Press who can’t publish their story because it would embarrass the university. Real news will always be welcome here.
– Alyssa Foley

Censorship strikes again at UST

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This unedited image shows the sign outside the Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness building at 1211 Colquitt Street, which once announced the location of the student newsroom with the words, “The Summa”, has been painted over. Image Credit: Alyssa Foley

By Elley Myers

The once vibrant sign outside the Institutional Assessment and Effectiveness building that read: “The Summa”, has now been covered with black paint. The UST student newspaper is officially dead.

The University of St. Thomas has been home to several student publications since the 1950s, including the Cauldron, The Summa and Laurels.

Student staff members from all these publications have felt the icy influence of the University’s administration as those administrators attempt to prevent students from publishing anything that criticized the University or reflected negatively on its image.

Although English graduate student Tristian Soulsby-Monroy never experienced a direct incident of censorship while writing for the Laurels, he said he knew certain topics were off-limit.

In Soulsby-Monroy’s observations, staff members understood that a student could not write anything that would displease university administration.

Self-Preservation

“We censored ourselves not because of our advisers, but more of a need for self-preservation from University officials,” Soulsby-Monroy said.

In 2015 UST senior Hannah Vergult was The Summa co-editor-in-chief. Before The Summa was dissolved in October 2016, Vergult said she was excited to go work daily on the student-run newspaper.

Because of the paper’s history, Vergult said she understood certain things could not be published if the students wanted the paper to survive.

The Summa was created by UST in 2008 after the University did away with the Cauldron, the UST-student run paper that had operated for 20 years without University censorship.

Vergult described the stories published by The Summa as bland. She said she wrote more controversial stories in high school than she did at UST.

Vergult said the student staff had everything prepared to launch a new print version of the paper in October 2016. However, once Siobhan Fleming, UST’s associate vice president of institutional development, was appointed advisor over the paper, everything changed.

Editorial Purge

Vergult said she was working on a story about UST’s negative bond rating. Fleming told Vergult that her story topic was inappropriate for a student newspaper because it reflected poorly on UST, despite being true.

“The purpose of a university is to help the students. Not allowing expression hurts the students,” Vergult said.

Within a few weeks, Fleming had fired all The Summa editors, Vergult said. The only students who retained their positions were the copy editors, one of whom was Fleming’s daughter.

Alyssa Foley, a junior and transfer student from Houston Community College, came to UST in 2016 in the hopes of developing and nurturing her journalism skills.

Foley had served as the editor-in-chief for the HCC newsletter for 20 months.

When Foley arrived on campus she was told that there was no student newspaper. When Foley finally got in touch with The Summa editors, she was given the position of news editor.

Aftermath

In September 2016, stories started to circulate among The Summa staff regarding issues with past student newspaper censorship and the consequences for printing content considered critical of the University.

Foley, as well as other Summa editors received an email from Fleming that they had been fired and would have to reapply for their positions.

Foley reapplied and never received a response.

“As a journalism student, I shouldn’t have to attend a school where I have to worry about keeping my head low or facing retaliation from my own school’s administration,” Foley said.

Although numerous attempts were made to contact Fleming for comment, she never responded.

As a result, Foley started her own online newspaper called UST Underground. She said her objective is to get uncensored news about UST to the students.

Don’t Embarrass Your Mother

UST Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dominic Aquila said that a student newspaper should be a laboratory to practice the craft of journalism and a place for students to go to get news about the University.

However Aquila said the relationship between a student journalist and the University is complicated.

On one hand, the University wants students to be trained in ethical journalism. On the other, the student journalist must take pride in the University and its reputation.

“When you graduate from here it’s called your alma mater, which is, you know, from or about the mother,” Aquila said. “When we sing alma mater songs, we sing our ‘mother’. And you would never want to embarrass your mother.”

Gia Cooper, a UST alumna and former editor of the Cauldron, believes a student-run newspaper should add value not only to the student’s scholastic experience but also in his or her future career.

A Different Era

Cooper recalls her time spent on the Cauldron as a rewarding experience. It was an invaluable training ground to becoming a great journalist after college she said.

“It helped us by offering a leadership opportunity to develop our sense of self,” Cooper said. “To reach our full potential, to make ethical choices and to take responsibility seriously.”

Under Cauldron adviser Nicole Casarez, Cooper stated that she never felt censored although there were stories that the students knew the UST administration would prefer them not to write. Nevertheless, the Cauldron continued to publish controversial stories even though the paper occasionally faced criticism. It was a different era, she said.

After Cooper had graduated, she learned that UST administration in 2008 had created a publications board to review the newspapers content.

In Cooper’s opinion, this type of committee is a prior review board that is not acceptable in journalism.

A Bad Light

Cooper and numerous other Cauldron alumni helped to support the student Cauldron editors who were fighting to get the administration to add more journalists to the committee.  Cooper said she hoped journalists could help mentor UST students and be a resource to them after graduation.  Despite these efforts, UST administration refused to make any concessions.

According to Aquila, the publications committee was created primarily to make sure University funds were being allocated to the right people, not to censor content.

After submitting numerous requests and written questions to UST President Robert Ivany concerning censorship of student publications, Ivany declined an interview. According to Director of Communications Sandra Soliz, Ivany was too busy to be interviewed. However, she suggested he would make time to discuss his legacy as UST president.

Certain stories published by the Cauldron that shed an unfavorable light on the University, according to Aquila, helped facilitate needed change. However, Aquila nevertheless insisted that a student publication must respect the institution the paper serves.

Undercurrent of Fear

 “If you were about to write an article that was so devastatingly critical that would put your mother in a bad light, would you do that?” Aquila said.

Aquila said that he arrived at UST at the tail-end of the Cauldron controversy and knew nothing about the dissolution of The Summa.

Because she cannot work for an uncensored student publication at UST, this is Foley’s first and last semester at the University.  She stated that both students and faculty members here are afraid to speak truthfully for fear of retaliation.

“How does that create leaders of faith and character?” she asked.

The result of this undercurrent of fear is negative for the University. According to Foley, students are choosing to leave UST to attend other universities as well as publish their negative experiences online.

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Cafeteria gets 7 health code violations

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While the campus Subway received no health code violations, the Crooker Cafeteria received seven health code violations in a recent inspection, leaving students wondering about their food. Image Credit: Alyssa Foley

By Alyssa Foley

The University of St. Thomas’ sole cafeteria was found to have seven health code violations in a recent inspection. The City of Houston Health Department inspectors conducted routine, unannounced inspections on Nov. 8.

The Subway on campus was given a clean report, no health code violations were found.

Potentially hazardous food was found in the Crooker Cafe’s fridge without a marked disposition or prepared date, and food service items were found to not be high enough off the floor to prevent contamination.

The Crooker Cafe was found to be operating without the person in charge having a Food Service Manager’s Certification from the city. Jerry Fashell, a supervisor at the Houston Health Department, noted that “It is a major violation, and if it’s a repeated violation, it may result in a citation.”

The cafeteria also seems to struggle with bad plumbing and was not able to provide pressured water. Fashell explained that “If the water does not have adequate flushing pressure, that means that it cannot adequately dispel debris…” In other words, things cannot be cleaned without water pressure.

Other violations included issues with insufficient lighting and not posting warnings that under-cooked foods like sushi carry a greater risk of food-borne illness.

UST contracts campus dining services to Aramark. Campus Aramark managers said that they have a protocol in place; questions must be emailed to their media corporate and be approved before they can comment. As of this publishing, no response has been received from Aramark.

Improvements

The November inspection report is an improvement from Crooker’s scary health report from earlier this year in May when the city issued a citation to the Crooker Cafe after finding food not safe for human consumption, insects/rodents, contaminated ice, dirty floors, bad plumbing and more.

Upon re-inspection about a week after the initial May inspection, the only major violation health inspectors listed was that the cafeteria still had was a problem with insects/rodents.

In the May health inspection, the campus Subway was also found to have food sitting out for over two hours without being reheated, but was not issued a citation.

While Crooker Cafe had multiple health code violations in November, they did not receive a citation like in May. A city sanitarian may issue a municipal court citation against a food establishment when there is an immediate health risk or if previous interventions failed.

Fashell supervises food establishment inspections in the area. He explained that violations can turn into citations, “Based on the type of violation it is and was it a repeated violation?” Fashell also noted that different health inspector personal may have visited in May and in November.

Resident Students React

Lauren Mitchell lives in Guinen Hall and is required to purchase the $1,675 semester meal plan. After seeing the health inspection reports herself, Mitchell said, “It kind of pisses me off…for most of us, if you live on campus, it’s your only source of food.” Mitchell believes that “because of this issue, we should have options in our meal plans.”

Mitchell said that she can “deal with” everything but the potentially contaminated food service items. However, the inspection reports left her with a lot of questions. She also had complaints about how expensive the meal plan is, food running out all the time and the lack of healthy options.

Mary Rinaldi lives in Claire Hall and purchased the minimum meal plan required for students who live on campus, it is $600 a semester. After reading the city health reports, Rinaldi said that “If I have to have a meal plan, I should be able to use that meal plan and not worry about getting sick.” She hopes that they will continue to correct the situation.

Rinaldi avoids eating at Crooker because she does not believe the food is healthy anyways. “I will probably be using up the rest of my meal plan just with the overpriced convince store items.”

Commuters Avoid Food

Natasha Cedano is one of UST’s many commuter students. She usually eats before she leaves home or she gets food near her home in northwest Houston. She has eaten at the Subway on campus, but not at Crooker Cafe.

While she was pleased with Subway’s recent inspection, she found the cafeteria’s inspection shocking. “I would have liked to go to the cafeteria in the near future, but I just can’t now.”

Alexandra Hatch takes the bus to class, she often walks off campus or takes a bus to go someplace with better and cheaper food than what is available on campus.

She has eaten at the Subway on campus and has bought drinks and chips at Crooker Cafe, but Hatch says she has found dirty cups in the cafeteria before.

Hatch thinks that at UST, “They spend so much time on that lawn, but they’re not cleaning our cafeteria. They need to prioritize better.”
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View Crooker Cafeteria’s Nov. 8 Reports here and here. The cafeteria’s initial May reports can be found here and here, and their May re-inspections here and here.

View Subway’s Nov. 8 Reports here and here. Subway’s May report can be found here.

Incoming UST president talks plans

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Richard Ludwick will officially become the University of St. Thomas’ president on July 7, 2017.

By Alyssa Foley

Richard Ludwick will officially replace Robert Ivany as president of the University of St. Thomas on July 7, 2017. The University Board of Directors appointed Ludwick the university’s ninth president earlier this month.

Ivany announced in fall 2015 that he would be ending his 5-year contract early, just months before faculty gave Ivany a vote of no-confidence for a lack of transparency in university finances.

Ludwick spoke with USTunderground.com over the phone last week to discuss his hopes and plans as university president. Luckwick said that his first “official act” as University of St. Thomas president would be to attend mass.

College Affordability

“Affordability is a significantly important question for not just the University of St. Thomas, but for higher education generally,” said Ludwick.

He noted that more than the university’s sticker price must be considered in a discussion of affordability, what students actually pay and how much institutional aid the university can afford must also be considered. UST currently has a 53 percent average undergraduate discount rate. Ludwick pointed out that UST’s average financial aid package does put the university within reach for most students, “especially when you consider the cost of not attending the University of St. Thomas.”

“You also have to look at the value of the experience vis-à-vis what the experience is elsewhere,” noted Ludwick.” He said that outcomes such as graduation rates and personal development can make a UST education a more valuable investment than just in a dollar sense.

To give some numerical perspective on outcomes, according to the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, 51 percent of first-time college students taking a full course load will earn a Bachelor’s degree within six years, compared to 48 percent of University of Houston students. The median annual salaries for a UST graduate is  $47,800, but the median UH graduate earns slightly more at $48,900 a year. Both Houston universities have outcomes slightly better than the national average.

Enrollment

Ludwick has experience in university enrollment from working as Provost of Saint Gregory’s University in Oklahoma and Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs at Albany Law School in New York.

Currently, Ludwick is studying St. Thomas’ key strengths and how they may apply to the marketplace.

There are over 6.5 million people in the greater Houston area, and 1.2 million Catholics within the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. With one Catholic institution in the city, Ludwick said, “it seems logical that there is an opportunity to serve not only the Catholic market, but a wider market who would be looking for the kind of qualities that a St. Thomas education provides…Our opportunity is to match those people who value that kind of an education and make it both affordable and attainable for them.”

University Finances

Ludwick says that he wants to keep UST’s finances in perspective. “A not-for-profit organization is not intended to make a profit,” said Ludwick, but “we always think it’s important to have a positive cash flow if we can.”

The Budget Advisory Committee thinks that the 2016-17 budget will have a deficit of around $1,000,000 due to shortfalls in fundraising and tuition revenue.

“We obviously don’t want to sustain deficits,” Ludwick said that a one-million dollar deficit on a multi-million dollar budget and endowment, “is not an existential issue, [but] it is a problem that you want to fix.” Ludwick says that he will work diligently to have budgets in the black.

Ludwick says that he would start a community dialogue to determine priorities, “and how the budget can be used as a tool to make sure that those priorities are realized.”

Although Ludwick said that he does not the specific of the faculty pay situation yet, “under Catholic social teaching…we would want to make sure that compensation is fair and always appropriate.”

Professional Programs

Ludwick believes part of his role as university president will be to “help the community sort of discern where the next best opportunities lie, both within the mission and also in meeting the market needs.”

Ludwick believes that part of what makes UST special is its “emphasis on the kinds of skill sets that complement the nursing skill sets or the business skill sets…found through studying and fluency in the liberal arts, especially in theology and philosophy.”

UST graduates have understanding of Western Culture beneath their professional skill sets, which Ludwick believes that this gives them a leg up on the competition and the “currency to engage in meaningful work.”

Community Engagement

The new university president is walking into a situation where students, faculty and alumni have voiced their frustrations with the transparency and receptiveness of the university’s administration.

To address transparency issues, Ludwick says that, “I favor are structures that allow for free flow of information, so that people don’t feel disenfranchised.”

A New Houston Home

“Both my wife and I were really impressed by the folks that we met on campus,” said Ludwick, “we were particularly impressed with the students that we met, that was a big selling point for us, that we thought the students were just articulate and engaged, and they were enthusiastic, and they were just terrific.” He also mentioned that, “The dedication of the faculty and the staff was very impressive.”

Ludwick admits he’s not that familiar with Houston, but he and his wife have been new comers in many places throughout the country. “We’re looking for a long-term home, and we hope and thing that Houston will be it.”

“There is a whole lot of positive things that exist at the University of St. Thomas and we’re excited to come and join that community,” said Ludwick.

UST #BabesForTrump student hopes for election win

By Elley Myers

Alicia Starko is a 25-year-old graduate student at the University of St. ThomasHouston who has led a “BabesForTrump” crusade to put Donald Trump in the White House.

A legal immigrant from Canada, Starko grew up in a household where her father leaned right and her mother was neutral. Starko said she was raised to reach her own conclusions on political policy.

“I have always stood for small government, strong family values, God and a free market,” Starko said.

Starko passionately advocates Trump’s vision for immigration.  When Starko was 2-years-old, her family hired an immigration lawyer and went through the process of becoming legal citizens.

“We need to stop the tidal wave of illegal aliens pouring into this country who are eviscerating our economy and bringing crime with them,” Starko said.

Starko has received media attention for her support of Donald Trump and calls herself a “BabesforTrump” girl.

#BabesForTrump became a social media hashtag after women posted pictures of themselves in bikinis and “Make America Great Again” hats.  After Starko posted her “BabesForTrump” picture, the photo went viral.

“BabesforTrump wants to make it clear that young women do support Trump, despite the media spin,” Starko said.

Starko began using the media attention to cultivate a platform that would encourage women to be more active and opinionated when it comes to the presidential election.

Starko said she strives to embolden women to speak out about their beliefs when it comes to political policy.

University of Houston’s College Republican organization is one of several Republican student organizations that have chosen not to endorse Trump.  Jordan Smith, University of Houston’s College Republican president, shares a different opinion concerning the #Babes4Trump campaign.

“This is a dumb idea,” Smith said.  “It’s a millennial tactic that makes Trump look like what Donald Trump is.”

Starko said she felt it was necessary to expand her political views beyond “BabesforTrump” into another organization called Students4Trump in order to broaden her scope.

Students4Trump is a nationwide student organization that seeks to inform people about Trump’s policies and principles in the hope that Trump will win the presidential election. Starko continues to be an advocate for Students4Trump despite the opposition it faces from neighboring College Republican campuses that do not endorse Trump.

The Republican student organizations at Texas A&M, Rice University and the University of Houston have made the decision to not endorse Trump as the Republican candidate.

Elana Margosis, a Rice University student reporter, wrote an article this September regarding Rice University’s College Republican’s decision to reject a Trump endorsement. Margosis interviewed several student Republicans at different campuses as well as members of the Rice chapter of Students4Trump.

“Club leadership was split at Rice while Students4Trump had a much more unified position.” Margosis said.

According to Margosis, Rice’s Republican organization’s decision not to endorse Trump was democratic.  Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters had the chance to debate their views before a vote was taken.

UH Republican organization’s decision to not endorse Trump was made by its board members, Smith said. This was in an effort to bring unity to the Republican group.

In an email to Margosis regarding Rice’s Republican organization’s decision, Starko stated that she believes anyone who is against Trump is automatically a Hillary Clinton supporter.

“We fear that your negative influence upon your conscience will cost us this election, allowing the radical left to hang onto the Oval Office.” Starko said in an email to Margosis.

Smith maintains that organizations like Students4Trump have become too aggressive, and that Students4Trump only supports one view-point.  Smith believes that groups like Students4Trump promote authoritarianism rather than democracy.

For Starko, this election cycle has developed her interest in public policy. She said she is excited about having the opportunity to share her views and will continue to use the media to extend her reach.

Starko said she will remain involved in politics after the election.

Alumni petitioners told: leave or be arrested

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Screenshot of a YouTube video posted by Concerned UST Alumni where UST President Robert Ivany and campus Police Chief James Tate ask Alumni Mary Malone to leave for handing out literature to members of the Board of Directors before a meeting.

By Alyssa Foley

A few alumni were told to leave campus by the university president and campus police chief for handing out a petition to the board of directors.

The group, who call themselves Concerned UST Alumni, posted a video and audio of the incident on YouTube on Nov. 2.

In part of the video, the alumni can be seen greeting a board member as he walks through the door before the Oct. 27 board meeting. They hand him a package and say, “This is from the alumni.”

“Oh, thank you,” replies the board member. He continues walking past the alumni into the boardroom in Mallory. Later in the video, university staff can be seen physically blocking the alumni from handing packets to board members as they walk in. The staff escort the board members away from the alumni.

The video shows the group being asked to leave multiple times by university President Robert Ivany and campus Police Chief James Tate. Tate tells one of the alumni, Mary Malone, “You have to leave now, unless you want to be placed under arrest for trespassing.”

“After all these years and two degrees, you’re kicking me off the property?” asks Malone.

“Yes, for what you’re doing,” says Ivany.

“For trying to communicate directly with the board members?” asks Malone.

“Correct, yes.” replies Ivany.

When Malone asks what’s wrong with communicating directly with board members, Ivany said that he is not willing to discuss it. Malone states in the video that she has asked the Board Chair Herbert Edmundson to share their petition with the board and he refused.

“I’m sorry, you’ll have to find another way then,” says Ivany.

“This is our other way,” says Malone.

“But this is private property,” says Tate, “we have the option to say ‘leave’ if that’s what we need to do…I’m asking you leave the area, this building…” Ivany says they are free to hand literature out from the street.

The beginning of the YouTube video is audio only, and Malone can be heard telling someone, “We’re not disrupting this meeting. The meeting has not started yet.”

“Once the board meeting starts, you’re going to leave, right?” someone asks.

“Of course, of course…we will not disrupt the board meeting at all,” replies Malone.

Hours before the video was posted, Chief Tate confirmed with UST Underground that he was present at the incident and that President Ivany asked the alumni to leave for disrupting a meeting. When they did not leave, Tate said he asked them himself. He added that, “They were nice, no one was upset.”

Since it was a verbal warning and they complied, Tate said he did not write a police report on the incident. He explained that only if someone was warned in writing not to come back or arrested for trespassing would a trespassing incident be recorded in the campus daily crime log.

The alumni are upset that there is no Basilian candidate for university president. They started a petition two weeks ago on Change.org asking that the presidential search committee reconsider their finalist decision. The petition has since received 427 signatures, just shy of their goal of 500 signatures.

The only candidate nominated by the Basilian fathers for the presidency, Father Anthony Giampietro, was not selected as a finalist in the presidential search. This means he was did not make it to the stage where he would have been invited for an on-campus interview.

The petition says, “We do not understand why this has happened. We find this particularly troubling in light of the University’s current financial difficulties and the faculty vote of No Confidence in the current president last spring.”

The petition asks that Father Giampietro be considered a finalist and brought to campus for interviews, and it’s addressed to the Catholic Archbishop of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, who sits on the university board of directors.

The three finalists, James Loftus, Richard Ludwick, and Jeff Senese each spent two days on UST’s campus in October meeting with university constituents.