Eden Creamer

Eden Creamer was the Editor-in-Chief for the Niner Times from May 2013 through April 2015. She graduated from UNC Charlotte in May 2015, receiving her degree in Communication Studies with minors in English, Journalism and Women's Studies. She now does freelance proofing, copywriting and design in the Charlotte area, and can be reached at edencreamer@gmail.com

Beauty review: Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation

Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation can be purchased for less than $10 at drugstores. Photo by Eden Creamer

Every brand of cosmetics makes at least one type of foundation, and many make more than one. With so many options for foundation, some working better than others, it’s hard to know what type to use for certain skin types.

I tend to have dry skin, so I usually go with a liquid or a cream foundation over a powder. Creams are frequently very luscious, and cover every imperfection, but can frequently feel very heavy. Liquids can provide the same coverage as cream, depending on the brand, and frequently feel more lightweight on the face.

Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation is my newest addiction.

Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation does a great job covering unwanted imperfections. Photos by Eden Creamer.

I have a few acne scars and am rather active all day, so for me finding a product that can stand up to a full day of wear, and deal with occasional contact, is a must.

Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation claims it is good for 24 hour wear. While this is definitely a bit of an exaggeration, I love feeling confident that when I blow my nose, I won’t need to reapply. I feel confident in the all-over coverage this foundation gives me, and I love the fact that I can get it for $9.99 at Target.

One piece of advice if you choose to buy this foundation: get a shade that is a little lighter than you think you need. Revlon definitely mislabels these bottles.

Student Government Association names winners of general student body election

Steven Serio and Ruthie Schorr. Photo by Chris Crews

Steven Serio is officially the Student Body President-Elect for the 2014-15 academic year, after a 49.6 percent of the voters in the general student body election voted for his ticket.

Serio, and his running mate Ruthie Schorr, received the announcement at noon on Thursday, March 27, in the Student Union Rotunda, in front of an audience of about 50.

“I’m relieved. I’m still in a little bit of shock. Ruthie and my hard work, I knew it should pay off in the end,” said Serio. “I’m just relieved and taking it all in.”

7.38 percent of the undergraduate student body participated in the election this year, allowing Serio to clinch victory over Venson Nunnaley (26.84 percent of the vote) and Omar Ramirez (23.45 percent of the vote).

Results for the Student Senate positions were also announced.

Belk College of Business senators will be Brandon Maddux, Cole Binkley, James Nail, Michael Mendoza and Mitul Mehta.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences senators will be Adriana Hernandez, Amber Lowe, Bridget Ogburu, Erika Morton, John Daley, Joseph Turkson, Landis Barber, Nathan Seedorf and Nicholle Rentas.

Only one of three College of Health and Human Services senator positions was filled. This position was filled by David McHenry.

Lee College of Engineering senators will be Charles Hazzard, Garret Ratcliff and Tim Wallis.

All other senator positions remain unfilled.

Police investigate incident near Moore Hall

UPDATE: March 23, 4:55 p.m.

Director of Public Relations John Bland released a statement regarding the investigation. It appears as though no foul play was involved in the accident, as a male UNC Charlotte student fell from the seventh floor of Moore Hall.

The student has been identified, and his name will not be released until family has been notified.

UPDATE: March 23, 2:47 p.m.

Jacklyn Simpson, associate vice chancellor and director for UNC Charlotte’s Housing and Residence Life, sent an email to UNC Charlotte students confirming the individual was a Moore Hall resident.

“At this time the incident is under investigation by UNC Charlotte Police and our information is limited. We ask that you join us in keeping this student’s family in your prayers,” said Simpson in the email. “It is important that we not speculate during this time of questioning and confusion. Your patience and assistance in this regard is appreciated.”

UPDATE: March 23, 2:07 p.m.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Buffie Stephens, media relations manager for UNC Charlotte, confirmed a male student fell from Moore Hall last night, resulting in his death.

University public relations has not responded to the Niner Times.

ORIGINAL STORY: March 23, 1:23 p.m.

A body was found late morning on Sunday, March 23, near Moore Hall. UNC Charlotte campus police and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) both responded to the scene, and were there into the afternoon.

Campus police and CMPD declined to comment at this time.

Check back with the Niner Times as the situation progresses.

Officers responding to the scene near Moore Hall on Sunday, March 23. Photo by Andrew James.

Student Niner Media prepares for annual student body president debate


The annual debate between candidates for student body president will be held Thursday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m., in the Student Union Rotunda. The event, scheduled to run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., is open to all UNC Charlotte students and is hosted by Student Niner Media.

During the debate, Venson Nunnaley, Omar Ramirez and Steven Serio, the three candidates for student body president, will each respond to questions regarding the responsibilities of the Student Government Association and issues important to students.

Last year’s debate had around two dozen students in attendance, and those responsible for the debate expect a larger turn out due to the new location.

Niner Media will be accepted audience submitted questions leading up to and during the debate. Students are encouraged to tweet questions they’d like answered to @Niner_Times or @unccmedia using #SGADebate.

For those unable to attend the event, follow @Niner_Times on Twitter for live tweets during the debate.

2014-15 Student Body President Candidates

The 2014-15 election season for Student Government Assocation (SGA) positions began just before spring break. Immediately after attending the candidates meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 25, candidates took to social media to launch their campaigns and began using paper to campaign as well.

There are three Student Body President and Vice President tickets for the election this year. Each ticket is a male/female team, and all three tickets bring different educational backgrounds to the table, hoping to use their various skills to garner the support of the student body.

Ballots will open Tuesday, March 25, at 8 a.m. and will close Wednesday, March 26, at 5 p.m. Each student may vote once.

In last year’s general election, less than 5 percent of the student body voted to elect current Student Body President Brady Nails and Vice President James Shaw.

This number dropped from the previous year, where a 6.65 percent voter turn out helped 2012-13 Student Body President Conor Dugan clinch victory.

To vote, go to vote.uncc.edu, log in using NinerNet credentials and cast your ballot for Student Body President Vice President and those running for senator positions in the college you are enrolled in.

For more from the presidential candidates, be sure to attend the annual Student Body President Debate, hosted by Student Niner Media. The debate will be Thursday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Union Rotunda. The event is open to all students.

Students are encouraged to submit questions for the candidates to debate, by emailing editor@nineronline.com, or tweeting @niner_times using #SGADebate.

Click on each ticket’s photo to access the page for their full profile.

Photo courtesy of Venson Nunnaley.
Photo courtesy of Briana Cragwell.
Photo courtesy of Steven Serio.

Venson Nunnaley and Ann Elise Pennington

Photo courtesy of Venson Nunnaley.

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Venson Nunnaley, student body president candidate

Major(s)/Minor(s)  Public Health/Biology

What do you plan to do after graduation?  I plan to attend graduate school and pursue my Master of Science in Health Administration, hopefully still as a Niner.

What does it mean to be a 49er?  A 49er is a person who is willing to sacrifice their personal resources to benefit the community even if it means forfeiting personal gain.  A Niner is looked up to and has great leadership qualities.  They show school spirit, aid fellow Niner’s to achieve academic excellence and let no one but themselves choose their fate.

Why are you running for Student Body President?  I am running for Student Body President because the SGA needs reform.  As publicized, the current student government is lacking in reliability and has not played an active role in their positions.  Sitting on the Campus Accessibility Advisory Committee as the Chancellor appointed student representative for the past year expedited my realization that I was the person that needed to take the initiative. I want to hold the SGA cabinet and seat members accountable for their role and commitment to the student body so that Charlotte will strive to become better.

If elected, what do you hope to do for the student body?  If elected I will be a better voice for the student body.  If a concern arises, it will not be ignored, available options will be explored and then the best option will be identified in order to pursue a solution.  I would like to see more student involvement in SGA as well.  Having open senate seats in multiple colleges, and some colleges having no student senators, is a clear indication of the lacking association students have with the SGA.  By prioritizing student concerns and advocating for more student involvement the future of UNC Charlotte’s SGA would greatly benefit.

How did you select your running mate?  When considering running mates I knew my decision would be based on two factors.  Primarily I wanted someone who was disciplined in all his or her work and someone who possesses great leadership qualities.  Secondly, I was looking for a person with little or no SGA experience, because with my involvement I could see that SGA reform was necessary and an upmost priority.  After contemplating these needs, the decision was easy. Ann Elise Pennington had been in multiple classes of mine and was always a hard working student.  As I became closer to her over the past year, I found she was involved in multiple leadership roles within her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi and currently serves on the Greek week executive board.  Not only is she someone who is involved and dedicated, but someone who I know I can trust and UNC Charlotte can trust too.

Who is your role model and why?  To limit a role model to person is too much to ask, my role model is any person willing to sacrifice their well-being to benefit others.  In my opinion, the hardest characteristic for a person to withhold is selflessness.  Anyone who is able to distinguish the human nature of conceitedness should be a role model to anyone.

Describe yourself in the length of a tweet (140 characters).  I am a dedicated, outgoing leader. I have a passion for helping others, even if it doesn’t seem possible. I always work hard and execute tasks.


Ann Elise Pennington, student body vice president candidate

Major(s)/Minor(s)  Major: Public Health. Minor: Psychology

What do you plan to do after graduation?  After graduation, I plan on attending physician’s assistant school. Ever since I was a young I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field, and being a physician’s assistant seemed to be the right path for me. I have a passion for caring for people and I feel like this career path will allow me to do this on a regular basis.

What does it mean to be a 49er?  Being a Niner means to have pride and passion in UNC Charlotte. Niners are always willing to jump at an opportunity especially when it is to the benefit of the school. Niners show school spirit no matter what, and are die hard fans no matter the outcome.

Why did you agree to run for office with your running mate?  The opportunity to represent UNC Charlotte would be nothing less than an honor. With a growing campus, there are increasing opportunities for the student body and the chance that I would have to improve the student body participation with these opportunities has become a passion of mine.  This will be through better organizing our growing athletics, increasing spirit on campus and bettering communication between organizations and the student body so that students can act on opportunities available.

If elected, what do you hope to do for the student body?  I want to act as the liaison between student government and the entirety of the student body. As Charlotte grows, the dynamic of campus will as well. I want the concerns of students to be heard, which will be my priority. For example, with growing athletics, the design of the ticket system needs to be addressed as well as the dynamic of game days. With bettering the system, I hope that attendance to all sporting events as well as school spirit on campus will increase. I also want to help smaller organizations grow. Some organizations have the desires to do big things but cannot. I believe that most of these opportunities are missed because the lack of knowledge to what the SGA can offer to these groups.

Who is your role model and why?  My mom is my role model. She is my best friend and I look up to her every day. My mom always has the right answer to any question, and great direction when I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Her faith is unbeatable and she is always willing to help others. If I am ever able to be half the woman she is today, I will more than content.

Describe yourself in the length of a tweet (140 characters).  I am easy going funny, friendly, confident, understanding and helpful. I love being with my friends and family, just enjoying their company.

Omar Ramirez and Briana Cragwell

Photo courtesy of Briana Cragwell.

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Omar Ramirez, student body president candidate

Major(s)/Minor(s)  Social Work/ Women’s & Gender Studies

What do you plan to do after graduation?  I have three options for after undergrad. 1) attend grad school for a MSW. 2) Attend a dual program of MSW & JD. 3) Commission as an officer in the Active Duty U.S. Army.

What does it mean to be a 49er?  A 49er is someone who bleeds green. A 49er leads by example and is fully committed to UNC Charlotte!

Why are you running for Student Body President?  I’m running for Student Body President because UNC Charlotte is in dire need of an exceptional student leader on and off campus and I believe I am that leader.

How did you select your running mate?  I approached a friend who I’ve known since our freshman year at Charlotte. She too has been heavily involved with student organizations and was elected the sophomore class president. I firmly believe she makes the perfect running mate for me because we compliment one another. I’m more extroverted where as she is introverted.

Who is your role model and why?  Besides my mother, my role model is Bell Hooks. Her literature has opened my eyes and broadened my perspective on life, politics and self-identity.

Describe yourself in the length of a tweet (140 characters).  I am an optimist, thinker and social justice seeker. I am unafraid of what lies in the unknown and a family-oriented type of guy. I am a 49er.


Briana Cragwell, student body vice president candidate

Major(s)/Minor(s)  Communications with a concentration in Public Advocacy, minor in Public Health.

What do you plan to do after graduation?  I plan on participating in Master’s International, a Peace Corps opportunity where you get to integrate a master’s degree with overseas service. I hope to serve as youth development volunteer hopefully in South or Central America.

What does it mean to be a 49er?  Being a 49er means spending countless hours in Club Atkins, accepting that you’ll never get signal in Fretwell, searching for DB, meeting new people, trips to Amelies, creating lifetime relationships. But most importantly being a Niner means being proud of our school, getting involved and leaving traces of our legacies behind.

Why did you agree to run for office with your running mate?  First, I was honored that Omar Ramirez chose me as a running mate. He is an exceptional leader on and off campus, he is someone that I respect and I am proud to be on his ticket. We both are passionate about our school and our peers and we genuinely want to make UNC Charlotte a better establishment so that everyone has the ultimate 49er Experience.

If elected, what do you hope to do for the student body?  I hope to change student’s perspective on SGA by advocating for more student involvement and interaction between students so that we can become unified. Most importantly I hope to start building traditions and creating an identity so that UNC Charlotte is no longer in the shadows of Chapel Hill, State etc.

Who is your role model and why?  My role model is myself 10 years from now. Right now I am planting the seeds for my future. I strive to be a better person daily, so that 10 years from now all of my goals will be achieved, I don’t want to imitate myself after anyone, because I can’t be anyone else but myself. So I chose to chase after the person I aspire to be, so that I can become my own role model

Describe yourself in the length of a tweet (140 characters).  Calm, Cool and Collected. #Ramwell


Steven Serio and Ruthie Schorr

Photo courtesy of Steven Serio.

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Steven Serio, student body president candidate

Major(s)/Minor(s)  Finance Major, Management Information Systems Minor, Entrepreneurial Certificate

What do you plan to do after graduation?  Currently, I have an internship with Bank of America so hopefully the internship can lead to a full time position once I graduate in their financial sector.

What does it mean to be a 49er?  To be a 49er means that you are an innovator, a leader, ambitious and passionate. Everyone that comes to Charlotte “Stakes their Claim” and creates their own experience and definition of what it is to be a 49er.

Why are you running for Student Body President?  I am running for Student Body President because I want to be the voice for all students at Charlotte and serve them by increasing their overall experience at the university. Being Student Body President has been a goal of mine since I attended SOAR in the summer of 2011. Also, I know what it takes to be successful in the position. After serving two terms on the Executive Branch as Secretary for Internal Affairs and currently the Junior Class President, I understand the responsibilities and duties it take to be president.

If elected, what do you hope to do for the student body?   With my past experience in SGA, I know what can and can not be done by seeing, first hand, many ideas fail because they are not feasible. I can say that I promise more parking for students or to change the student tailgating lot for football, but I have been in meetings in the past where those objectives have been discussed but are not feasible moving forward.

With that being said, some things that I hope to do if elected president is to overhaul and update the university website, create traditions by forming Student committees and focus groups, bring back the Alma Mater to sporting events, improve academic advising from student input, strive to have a more “college town” feel on campus by bringing a “Main Street” on to campus and reach out to the Charlotte community by building our relationship with the city.

How did you select your running mate?  I selected Ruthie because of her leadership skills as well as having two years of experience in Senate. Not many people know this, but the Student Body Vice President is also the President of the Student Senate, and with her experience I know she is highly capable of being an effective leader. She is also in organizations such as Leadership Fellows and a LEAD counselor. Also, Ruthie and I work very well together and I have known her since freshman year.

Who is your role model and why?  My role model is my Dad. He has always been an inspiration to me because he is a hard worker, ambitious, innovative and he believes in me and backs me through all my endeavors. He is always there to guide me and help me on this crazy path that is life.

Describe yourself in the length of a tweet (140 characters).

I’m the current Junior Class President, Finance Major and have 2+ years of SGA experience. I enjoy golfing, fishing and the beach.


Ruthie Schorr, student body vice president candidate

Major(s)/Minor(s) Major: Communications/Public Relations, Minor: Journalism

What do you plan to do after graduation?  I would like to volunteer, work for a non-profit organization for a while, or join the peace corps.

What does it mean to be a 49er?  I think that to be a 49er one must believe in the potential we have here at UNC Charlotte and make a conscious effort to be an active and positive member of our Charlotte community.

Why did you agree to run for office with your running mate?  Steven is a nice kid with big ideas and bleeds 49er green. He is an honest and fair leader, and I admire what he has done for our campus already. We have been good friends since we were freshman here at UNC Charlotte and I trust his judgment and character and vision for our university very much.

If elected, what do you hope to do for the student body?  I want to make sure we focus on making students time here at UNC Charlotte the most easy flowing and enjoyable four years of their life. I know it’s not something that can happen in a day or may be even a year but I think that there are actions our schools biggest student leaders can take to get us moving in the right direction. Addressing issues such as traffic on campus, the accessibility of the UNC Charlotte website, the process for registering for classes are just a few things that may be able to be addressed as issues for students if we just start asking the right questions and being innovative with our problem solving ideas.

Who is your role model and why?  I would have to say my father is my role model. Through everything he has personally been to he still everyday decides to dedicate his life to the well being and health of others. He has touched the lives of so many people with his hard work and perseverance and I admire him greatly for the wonderful legacy he has created. I hope that when I find myself in the post graduate world I will find a way to do work nearly as meaningful as my dad’s and be as successful as him in my personal and professional relationships.

Describe yourself in the length of a tweet (140 characters).  I am a hardworking, driven and organized leader. I am dependable and when I set a goal I will do everything in my power to accomplish it. 

Dr. Arthur Jackson comments on SGA’s Probation Act, recommends the proposal of a bill by senators

Dr. Arthur Jackson, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, as he addressed the Student Senate on Thursday, Jan. 30.

At the Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014 Student Senate meeting, Dr. Arthur Jackson, vice chancellor for Student Affairs, addressed the senate during the messages to the senate portion of the meeting regarding legislation recently passed by the senate hoping to place Student Body President Brady Nails on probation.

“I came to talk to you about the Probation Act,” said Jackson. “I spent the week reviewing it with Legal Services and Student Affairs and I’m going to give you some feedback on where you think your choices are in this particular matter.”

In short, Jackson explained to the Senate that because there was no formal laws in the Student Government Association (SGA) constitution detailing the suspension of the student body president or the executive board, the senate could not pass a resolution to create precedent in the matter.

“A resolution will not be satisfactory. It has to be passed as a bill,” said Jackson. “It’s hard to make an advisory note to the administration on something that does not appear in the by-laws.”

Jackson went on to say that the impeachment process was still an avenue the senate could take against Nails, but said the chances of getting the required number of signatures from the student body was “very slim.”

He also emphasized the importance of thinking through actions before taking them.

“You also don’t want to make student government dysfunctional,” said Jackson. “Now you have the opportunity to change policies in student government.”

Jackson explains the powers that the Senate currently holds. They are able to pass through the normal legislative process a bill detailing the extent of probation they wish to place members of the executive branch on. As of now, the Senate has power over stipends and privileges such as the SGA-issued iPad.

“Everything else comes from funds either from the university or from his position as president of a student government and also as an official member of the Board of Trustees. He [Nails] has certain privileges as a Board of Trustees member, such as parking privileges, that cannot be taken away unless he is impeached,” said Jackson. “But you do have fiscal responsibilities over stipends.”

Senator Davonte Belle, the senator responsible for writing and sponsoring the Probation Act, says he is unsure where he will go from here or if he will pursue the legislation further as a bill.

“I took everything he [Jackson] said under consideration. I just don’t know what my next step will be, if I take any more action. I have time to think about it,” said Belle.

Belle intends to make a decision before the Student Senate meeting next Thursday, Feb. 13.

Suspect identified in Pine Hall assault

UNC Charlotte student living in Pine Hall was woken from her sleep around 5:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 31 when a male suspect allegedly entered her bedroom and sexual assaulted her.

Campus police have identified a suspect and have a warrant for his arrest. The suspect is an individual residents of the room believe to know.

Names have not yet been released regarding this case.

UPDATE, Jan. 31, at 5:30 p.m.

Campus police have arrested a suspect for the assault. Damion Pruitt, 21, was taken in custody by campus police for the assault. Pruitt is not a UNC Charlotte student.

UP for Upton hosts fundraising event at Concord Texas Roadhouse

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, from 4 to 11 p.m., members of the university community are invited to visit the Concord Texas Roadhouse location to support UP for Upton.

The event is a fundraising event meant to benefit the family of Emily Upton, a UNC Charlotte student who passed away on June 1, 2013. Upton would have graduated from the university in May 2014 with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing.

Funds raised at the event will go toward the fees associated with her funeral and the criminal investigation that followed Upton’s death. Ten percent of participants total purchase at Texas Roadhouse on Wednesday will go toward the cause.

Cassady Tetsworth, a UNC Charlotte student majoring in nursing, says that UP for Upton is, “a way to keep her spirit alive and we are hoping to do the same with the dinner.”

During the fall 2013 semester, nursing students in the College of Health and Human Services came together and wrote positive messages on slips of paper, attached them to candy and passed them out around campus to “lift others up just like Emily always did,” said Tetsworth.

For those unable to attend the event who still wish to participate in UP for Upton, Tetsowrth says a Facebook group is in the works, which will provide a link to a PayPal account that individuals can donate to.

“We hope that many people can come together in one place to remember Emily and to realize how important it is to encourage one another as Emily did, since we now value how short life can be,” said Tetsworth. “It’s a really great cause for a student we miss dearly.”

Emily Upton (front, center) with friends from the UNC Charlotte community. Photo courtesy of Cassady Tetsworth

Passed Student Government Association legislation stirs questions regarding effectiveness of executive board

Introduced as a late addition to the Thursday, Jan. 23 meeting of the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Student Senate was a new piece of legislation titled the Probation Act. Introduced by Senator Davonte Belle, the resolution, should it go into effect, recommends the placement of Student Body President Brady Nails and the entirety of his administration on probation until March 27, or until “deemed fit by the Student Senate,” according to the resolution.

The piece of legislation, which was not originally on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, was introduced and fast tracked at the meeting, resulting in the Senate voting 25 in favor, with one abstention, of the resolution after 10 minutes of discussion. Normally, the Senate will hear discussion on a piece of legislation and vote the following week. The motion to fast track the resolution skipped this discussion period and allowed voting to occur last week.

With the senators unanimously approving the act, Nails is left with five days from the day of the Senate’s vote to either veto the legislation or let it stand.

In the wake of last week’s meeting, many questions and concerns are left up in the air.


Production of the legislation

Before he was able to bring the resolution in front of the Senate, Belle took various steps to not only be sure that he was confirmed as a senator, but also to ensure the resolution encompassed everything he envisioned.

During the 2012-13 academic year, Belle served as a senator for SGA, but took a break from the Senate during the Fall 2013 semester in order to serve on Nails’ Executive Board.

Left: Student Body President Brady Nails. FILE PHOTO.
Right: Senator Davonte Belle. Photo courtsey of Davonte Belle’s Facebook Page.

Belle, who served as the Secretary for Internal Affairs last fall, resigned from the position via email to Nails on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Two days later at the Senate meeting on Jan. 16, Belle was confirmed in front of the Senate. His confirmation, according to Nails, raised concerns among the Executive Board.

“They asked questions to confirm that he was a valid candidate, and one of the questions, they said, ‘What would you like to do? What’s your plan?’ And he goes, ‘Well that’s confidential. You’ll find out soon.’ And then a week later this legislation was passed,” said Nails.

If it seems Belle stepped down from his position as Secretary for Internal Affairs specifically to propose this legislation, it is because, Belle says, that is exactly what he did.

“I wanted to get back in the Senate because I knew I was going to have that piece of legislation to go through,” said Belle. “If I hadn’t resigned I would have had to get somebody else to [propose the Probation Act].”

Belle met with countless professional members of the university community, he says, even meeting with the university’s lawyers to ensure that what he was hoping to do was possible.

“I talked to faculty members to make sure we were doing the right thing and I found out from the lawyer on campus of our university that we could actually do that,” said Belle.

The resolution itself, said Belle, was something he had been thinking about since the fall semester.


Probation Act’s scope

The legislation’s scope leaves some to be desired from everyone involved, including Belle. As written, the resolution would place the entirety of the Executive Cabinet on probation. This includes Nails, James Shaw, student body vice president, the class presidents, the chief of staff and each of the secretaries of the board, including the position previously held by Belle.

The resolution seeks to revoke Nails’ privileges as student body president, which include his presidential parking pass and use of the SGA iPad. Nails and the other members of the Executive Branch would also, according to the resolution, no longer receive their monthly stipends until the Student Senate feels the Cabinet is performing its duties. Nails would also be required to produce weekly reports to the Student Senate until Feb. 27.

Belle says the large scope of the resolution was necessary, despite some members affected by it not deserving to be placed on probation.

“To be honest I felt bad for James, because he actually does his part, but I didn’t want to just alienate anybody. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to encompass the whole administration,” said Belle. “With Conor Dugan and Loren Fouts [2012-13 student body president and vice president], it was a completely different student government. They were getting things done, interacting with the legislative branch. As far as this year, nothing has happened. Brady is pretty much kind of irrelevant, honestly, and he’s just been causing problems in student government, I think personally.”

Belle declined to comment on the specifics of the problems Nails was creating in SGA.

Nails says he believes both he and Chief of Staff Cameron Dawson are targeted by the resolution. If the Senate wishes to produce legislation with these consequences, Nails says it would benefit all parties involved to direct the piece directly at the two of them instead of the cabinet as a whole.

“The bigger thing is that it affects the class presidents, who would be put on this probationary status. The vice president is also put on this status. The legislation is written in a way so that it tries to affect everyone but in reality, it only mentions my chief of staff and myself. There are a lot of problems,” said Nails. “A big portion of it was, especially with my chief of staff, assumptions on what he’s doing. He has a lot of responsibilities. I think he has four or five committees that he sits on directly, in addition to ones that he puts people on.”

Nails feels that, given the way the resolution seems to be specifically geared at himself and Dawson, this legislation is the Senate’s way around having to impeach him. Belle, who says fellow senators and other members of the university community have asked him why he did not attempt to have Nails impeached instead of placed on probation, says the process of impeachment isn’t worth the reward.

“It requires 3,000 signatures from the student body to do that. I was just like, it’s not worth going through the trouble when he just has two months left in office,” said Belle.


Motivations for legislation

A majority of the reason behind the need for this legislation, says Belle, is the apparent inactivity of the executive branch, specifically inactivity on the part of Nails.

“The fact that the administration hasn’t been doing anything and hasn’t been meeting. Brady hasn’t been in his office at all since school started and nobody has heard from him. He doesn’t do anything,” said Belle.

In reference to portions of the resolution that reference Dawson, Belle says last fall when he served on the Executive Board, he wasn’t sure who the chief of staff was until the first email was sent to announce a cabinet meeting. Section 2-2.13 of the Executive Branch by-laws lays out the duties of the chief of staff, responsibilities which Belle says are not met.

In response to these criticisms, Nails says that he and Dawson, while working under what could be considered a role reversal, do not break any rules with how they chose to conduct business. Dawson, says Nails, does much of the behind-the-scenes administrative work while Nails says he takes on a more hands-on role.

Belle disagrees with Nails’ interpretation of their duties, and says that weekly Executive Board meetings are necessary. These weekly cabinet meetings, says Nails, seems to be the bulk of the issue.

“There have been things we haven’t done by the exact rules. The real issue comes down to weekly meetings. That’s the meat of it. And I was very upfront with my cabinet and I told them my expectations,” said Nails. “We wrote them down, and my first one was, ‘You guys are students and leaders all over campus. I’m not going to waste your time, and you’re not going to waste mine. We’re not going to have a board meeting if you guys send me your reports and there is nothing to talk about, I’m not going to have a 15 minute meeting.’ The rules of SGA are incredibly vague.”

The vague aspects of the rules, says Nails, create countless contradictions, which allow many of the points made in the resolution to be irrelevant in his opinion, including those referencing an Executive cabinet retreat, weekly meetings of the executive branch and publication of the meetings from the cabinet meetings on the SGA website.

Some points made in the resolution Nails admits he has not done, but says precedent from previous student body presidents makes him feel as if he is doing right by the cabinet.

“They wanted us to have a retreat. We were given $1,000 from the student funds to do so. I would have been the first student body president in three years to do a retreat. In the past people have done like an end of the year celebration,” said Nails. “I told my guys that I wasn’t going to waste the money like that, and that’s what I plan to tell the Senate on Thursday.”

The confusion created by the legislation, in Nails’ opinion, could have been cleared up if senators had come forward and spoken with members of the executive branch, or if Belle specifically had said something during the fall 2013 semester when he was on Nails’ cabinet.

“There were little things where, had they been given both sides, it would have had a different outcome. I think that’s why it passed through; people didn’t go that extra step,” said Nails. “The biggest surprise, and the biggest disappointment, was nobody came forward to discuss this. Nobody on the Senate, nobody in Judicial, not even Davonte, who then was a member of the Executive Board.”

Belle recognizes that Nails would tell a different story, but discredits this version of the goings-on in SGA.

“I mean I’m sure Brady gave you a whole other side of it, but to be honest all of us senators, we know how well last year went,” he said.


The vote

When the agenda for Thursday’s Senate meeting was emailed out to senators, as well as members of the UNC Charlotte community who are on the email list to regularly receive SGA documentation, the Probation Act was not on the docket.

Over the past two weeks, new policies were put in place for SGA to regulate some of the smaller details in the body. One such policy requires legislation to be discussed at the weekly meeting be submitted to Jason Hartsoe, president pro-tempore for SGA, by 5 p.m. the Wednesday before the meeting. Belle did not submit his resolution to Hartsoe until later Wednesday evening, yet was admitted to the agenda regardless.

“After much discussion that afternoon, we decided it needed to be submitted. We felt we needed to do something now,” said Hartsoe.

The resolution was added to the agenda and knowledge of the legislation’s existence was not made known to senators at the meeting until it was brought up. After Belle presented the legislation to the Senate, a brief discussion period was held. The legislation was then fast tracked and immediately voted on at the meeting, instead of leaving a week between the initial presentation of the resolution and the vote to allow senators to look over the piece.

“After it was read the first time, I believe the Senate believed that this legislation needed to be passed as soon as possible,” said Hartsoe.

Nails says the last minute inclusion of the legislation on the agenda, coupled with the motion to fast track the resolution, created a sense of confusion among the senators.

“I’ve talked to quite a few people who all said, ‘oh we didn’t realize what this actually meant.’ Legislation is usually sent out the day before so senators can look it over,” said Nails. “They didn’t follow this new policy and just tried to blindside people and it worked. People went along with it, but they didn’t understand the extent of it.”


Nails’ veto

Preparing for this week, Nails says he is confident that once he vetoes the resolution, which he says he will definitely do, the senate will not overturn his veto.

The last time a student body president exercised veto power was in March 2012 when Dave Craven vetoed a resolution passed in opposition to North Carolina’s Amendment One. FILE PHOTO

“It’s a checks and balance system. SGA is not the real government, but we have to make sure that we’re not wasting student funds. The rationale behind it was great – checking the executive branch,” said Nails. “They need to limit the scope of the bill. They can still talk about taking away stipends and privileges and things, that’s fine. If they want to continue on that route, they need to do so correctly. Beyond that, they shouldn’t fast track this kind of legislation. It warrants a full discussion. We’re talking about the effectiveness of the people in charge of the student body. It warrants a full discussion, not the 10-minute discussion that it had. And that’s why we’re vetoing. I don’t think the senators are aware of its many flaws.”

The main flaw, says Nails, is the fact that the legislation is written as a resolution instead of a bill. This difference is important, says Nails, who argues that a resolution is only used to express the opinion of the Student Senate. Belle contests, saying a bill is generally only used when attempting to change SGA’s by-laws.

According to section one of the by-laws of the Student Senate, laid out in the Student Government Statutes, a Senate bill, “amends the By-laws of the Senate or other bodies of law under the discretionary authority of the Senate.” A resolution, according to the same document, is, “All legislation voicing the opinions of the Senate on any topic not within the constitutional jurisdiction of the Senate or exercising one or more privileges of the Senate.”

In layman’s terms, a Senate resolution is an actual law being put forth. It is not necessarily binding, but the Senate can use them to their privilege regarding topics Constitutionally outside of their jurisdiction. The pay and benefits provided to the Executive Cabinet, including stipends and parking passes, is not promised to the Executive Board in the SGA Constitution, therefore it is the Senate’s jurisdiction.

“Having worked in Dave Craven’s cabinet, I think it’s fantastic the Senate finally did something to combat this ‘do nothing president.’ This binding Senate resolution strips him of his privileges to which he is not constitutionally given. I hope he complies, or does his job at least,” said an anonymous member of 2011-12 Student Body President Dave Craven’s Executive Cabinet.


Senate’s response

Whether the Student Senate chooses to overrule the veto or not will remain unseen until Thursday, Jan. 30 when the Senate meets again. Belle and Hartsoe are both confident a veto from the student body president will be overruled.

“Even if he vetoes it, it’s already been passed, so there won’t be any questions or debate. Just a vote. The thing is this has already passed. He can gut it all he wants. There is nothing he can do about it now,” said Belle.

“The Senate was strongly in favor of passing it last Thursday. I believe they would overturn his veto, but we will find out,” said Hartsoe.

Nails, however, is confident that his veto will not be overridden by the Senate.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing it again [as a bill]. It’s a discussion. Debate is always a good thing. Conversation is always the best place to start. The Senate, if they feel that there is a problem, needs to address it. It would be irresponsible if they didn’t. Do I think we’ll see it again as a bill? Probably,” said Nails.

Thursday’s Student Senate meeting is open to the public. Any member of the university community who wishes to attend is welcome to. Senate meetings are each Thursday at 5 p.m. in Student Union, Room 200.

National Stalking Awareness Month: Q & A with Officer Lecomte

Countless resources exist on-campus for UNC Charlotte students who are concerned they are a victim of stalking, those who are currently being stalked and those overcoming a stalker.

Officer Jerry Lecomte, community policing coordinator for the UNC Charlotte Police and Public Safety Department, sat down with the Niner Times to discuss stalking and how students can best cope with this dangerous situation.

How does campus police handle on-campus stalking issues?

Stalking is a crime in North Carolina, even from the basics of harassment, continued unwanted contact [to] relationship issues, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend. We want students to know that we are a resource to come to. We can get you help as needed, and we can help you file charges with something like that.

It’s important to know you can go to the police and not feel like it’s your fault. It’s important to know how to protect yourself and we just want folks to know that we’re here, we’re a resource and we have services available for [students].

What are some of the warning signs of being stalked?

Excessive text messages, excessive phone calls, things of that sort. Behaviors from the other person, you’ve told them no, to leave you alone, you’ve tried to separate from that person in an amicable manner, and that person is not adhering to that. They’re not responding to your requests, continuing to force contact.

What is the best way to try to stop a stalker early?

Just be very clear of your intentions that you don’t want contact. Make sure that you’re telling them that you don’t want contact and make sure that once you’ve established that, you’re documenting future contact. And contact us [the police] as soon as possible.

What is the next step after contacting the police?

Depending on whether it is a relationship or if it is just somebody random in general, a non-relationship scenario, there are a lot of different protective orders, different no-contact orders that can be issued on and off campus to help protect that person from the person committing that crime.

Do we have a lot of stalking cases on campus?

I would say we don’t have a lot on campus, but then again some folks may not be sure exactly what stalking entails. With technology, it may make it easier to keep track of somebody just as technology has progressed.

What specific precautions should an individual take against cyber stalking?

With the invent of technology, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, online [messaging], it’s 24-hour access to a person. It makes it more difficult for that person to escape that. Just being mindful that people have access to so much more information now with technology than they used to is important. As far as tracking information, try to keep as much information as you can for us [the police]. Text messages, e-mails, notes. It’s recommended to try to keep a log of the activity as it occurs, keeping documentation aside for us to review.

What specifically can a UNC Charlotte student do on campus in a public university setting?

If there is a student who just wants a no-contact order on campus, we can file one that is just good for UNC Charlotte. If you get one through the state of North Carolina, go down to the magistrate’s office, get it through the court, that’s good throughout the entire state so it’s a little bit more of an umbrella for that scenario.

What other services exist on campus for students to cope with stalking?

The Center for Wellness Promotion has information on relationships and things that will help you maybe see patterns earlier on. The Counseling Center as well, they can help work through some of the things that may have been involved in the stalking, things that maybe are deeper than just the stalking.

Where else can students learn about the dangers of stalking?

[The National Center for Victims of Crime] is a real good resource. They have a ton of stuff for stalking awareness. Things we’re using for different tables we’re setting up for this month. They’re definitely a great resource.

Students give back with Thanksgiving food drive

UNC Charlotte students Michelle Benard and Rebecca Soto are spearheading a food drive event with the Univeristy Center for Academic Excellence that aims to collect food and supplies for underprivileged UNC Charlotte students.

Based on a program in England that provides food and hygiene products to individuals who grew up in foster care but aged out of the system, the drive will give these students food and other items that they otherwise might not have access to.

“I would like to motivate you, and your colleagues, to collaborate with us at this point,” said Soto during a panel discussion presented to the Department of Academic Services faculty members Wednesday, Nov. 20. “If you or anyone you may know has these items at home, come by and drop them off.”

Four drop off locations are available until Tuesday, Nov. 26. Three locations are located in the Fretwell building, the University Center for Academic Excellence office in Fretwell 330, the Building Educational Strengths and Talents (BEST) office in Fretwell 314 and the Tutorial Services lobby in Fretwell 318K. A fourth located in the Students Obtaining Success office in Colvard 2046.

While the locations are prepared to take donations until Tuesday, Soto says they are trying to get donations as soon as possible.

“We’re actually going to make a basket and make it presentable to make it like a gift, so as soon as possible would be awesome,” said Soto.

Items being collected are primarily canned foods with pull tops and reusable storage containers. Other items being collected include shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and snack bars. It is asked that donations not be packaged in glass.

The drive is part of an initiative that Benard and Soto are working to start following their participation in the university’s Kingston University Exchange, when the two girls, along with nine university faculty and five other UNC Charlotte students, spent a week at Kingston University in England to learn more about the structure of different universities and to find ways to better the college experience in Charlotte.

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Flyer created for UCAE Thanksgiving food drive. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Soto.