Student body president Brent Folan said he eliminated the second Inclusive & Intercultural Services seat on Intercom because all of the other student organizations represented on Intercom only have one seat.
Inclusive & Intercultural Services previously had two seat positions on Intercom, which oversaw all of the “non-traditional” students. This includes transfer students, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community as well as student veterans and minority groups.
Intercom presents student organizations' opinions to the Board of Trustees. Former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills started Intercom over a decade ago in an effort to give more students the opportunity to have face time with the board of trustees.
Inclusive & Intercultural Services representative Marisol Sigala said Folan isn’t taking into account just how big the intercultural population on campus is.
“It is being assumed that because you’re [a part of] the Intercultural and Inclusiveness board, you’re representing all minority students,” Sigala, a senior nursing major, said.
Intercultural students currently comprise 23 percent of the university’s student body, Sigala said.
Folan, a senior finance major, said that if he can successfully represent all of the university’s student population, then one person could successfully represent a section of it. “I told Marisol that it is her responsibility to represent them. That’s why she was selected for this position, just like I was elected to represent over 8,000 students.”
He added that with 12 members there the group could have faced a situation where a tie vote occurred.
However, both Folan and ex-Intercom member Jordan Mazurek said no votes were ever taken during past meetings.
Mazurek, a senior sociology major, held the second Inclusive & Intercultural Services seat, until he received an email saying that it was being taken away. He said according to the email his term actually expired in December 2011, even though he served last spring.
Mazurek said he disagrees with the fact that the sitting SGA president has executive authority to add or eliminate seats on the board.
“The biggest problem is that it’s not a democracy. In my entire time in Intercom, we never voted on anything,” Mazurek said.
Folan’s actions prompted TCU NAACP president Gabrielle McBay to begin circulating a petition seeking to have the seat restored. By Tuesday afternoon, she had collected four pages in signatures.
“I don’t want Intercom to become SGA. They both serve very different purposes,” Folan said.
Intercom will hold its first meeting of the semester on Thursday night. Folan said the petition to reinstate the Inclusive and Intercultural seat is expected to be the first item on the agenda. He said is “seriously considering” adding two more seats to the group, one for the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) and the other for National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC).
Folan said the point of Intercom was never to vote on things or make policy, but rather to build discussion about needs that all students on campus have.
“I am here to help the student body and I want to make sure that everyone’s voices and concerns are heard,” Folan said.
Intercom is a panel made up of 11 members from various student organizations. The members are as follows:
1) Interfraternity Council
2) Panhellenic Council
3) Inclusive and Intercultural Services
4) Involved Service Network
5) Student Foundation
6) Student Body Vice President
7) Student Body President
8) John V. Roach Honors College
9) Residence Hall Association
10) Religious and Spiritual Life
11) Service Learning