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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M President Elsa A. Murano told students the truth regarding all facets of the selection of Lt. Gen. Joseph Weber as vice president of student affairs.
“I don’t feel like Dr. Murano purposefully deceived anybody in the entire process,” said Memorial Student Center President Nick Petree, a senior marketing major. “I know a lot of people aren’t happy about how the process came out, but I feel like Dr. Murano went through the process and really whole heartedly tried to get as much student input as possible while still getting someone in that very important position by the start of the fall semester.”
The process began July 1, 2008, when Murano extended an offer to Weber for the position of VPSA. The offer did not hire Weber as the VPSA.
“It’s a first step, and all of it is not binding until the president, me, moves forward and seek approval from the Board of Regents,” Murano said, “So, presidents cannot hire a vice president just like that.”
The following week, two focus groups were held regarding Weber and his candidacy for the position of VPSA. Each focus group was attended by 20 to 30 students who represented several aspects of the student body.
Contrary to reports, Petree said though there were students who did not like Weber after the meetings, they did not represent the majority.
“I don’t think it’s fair at all to say that students consistently did not approve of Gen. Weber,” Petree said. “Some did have questions about his experience in student affairs and little things here and there, but weren’t vehemently against hiring Gen. Weber.”
Regardless, on July 17, 2008, in light of the dissenting opinion among the students, Student Body President Mark Gold sent Murano an e-mail with four main points of concern:
•We do not understand why all of the these decisions that deal directly with the students were made during the summer while most students were not at A&M;
•We do not understand why Dean Bresciani (former VPSA) was required to resign effective immediately;
•We do not understand why there is a need to fill the position of VPSA by Aug. 1
•We want to make sure the students are involved in this process.
Within the e-mail, Gold requested for a group of students to get a chance to interview Weber.
Two days later, Murano replied to Gold’s e-mail. She agreed with Gold on the importance of the importance of the position of VPSA and of student involvement in the process. Her closing statement was a promise to Gold.
“Mark, please know that I will not hire anyone without you guys at least meeting with them and getting your input, which I value greatly,” Murano wrote.
The following Monday, Murano sent a letter to Weber in response to student opinion on the matter.
Contained within the letter was the following: “our student leaders and various former students with very strong ties to the University have expressed to me a strong desire to participate and to provide me with input as I consider the appointment of a new Vice President. I think communication is the key to good relationships, and given the importance of this issue, I need to allow time for such groups to provide me with their thoughts before proceeding. In light of this, I have decided to put a hold on your appointment and will not be asking the Chancellor to submit your credentials to the Board of Regents at this time.”
Originally, Murano planned to present Weber as the candidate for VPSA at the July 31-Aug. 1 Board of Regents meeting, but elected to pull the agenda item to allow for more student input.
At the end of the week, July 25, Murano sent out the first public e-mail that said even though she wanted to have a VPSA on campus before the fall 2008 semester began, she was more concerned with students’ happiness with the issue.
“I will be taking additional time to work with our student leaders, engage former students and interact with the Division of Student Affairs staff before permanently filling the position,” Murano wrote.
Murano fulfilled this promise.
“I did get the opportunity to meet with Dr. Murano several times in regards to the hiring of the new VPSA and I can personally say that she was very genuine in trying to solicit student opinion,” Petree said, “she really wanted to hear what students had to say, to know their viewpoints on what would be important in that position and she also went out of her way to set up an opportunity for students to get to meet Gen. Weber and his wife before he came on board.”
Following these meetings, interviews and other interactions between the students and Murano regarding the appointment of Weber, Murano announced he would be put before the Board of Regents as her candidate for VPSA in an e-mail on Aug. 14.
The next day, the Board introduced Weber as A&M’s VPSA.
Gold said his only problem was “just with the process.”
“Something else that’s hard for a lot of people to realize is she does care about what we have to say but sometimes she needs to make a decision that will not be the most popular one,” Petree said, “I do think Gen. Weber is going to be a very successful VPSA and I do support Dr. Murano’s decision.”
On Monday, an article titled “Murano’s Lie,” which examined the process of Weber’s appointment, was published by The Anthem.
“It seems as though they omitted some very important information, and as far as I know they did not try to contact any of the involved parties,” Petree said. “Nobody ever tried to contact me for my opinion or my thoughts on it, I would have told them that Dr. Murano really does genuinely want to know how students feel about it.”
Editor-in-chief of The Anthem, Jess Fields, a junior political science major, said even though he was unaware of the July 21 letter rescinding Murano’s offer to Weber at the time of his publication, he still feels Murano was in the wrong and needs to be held accountable.
“The number one thing we need to pursue as students is take her to the honor council,” Fields said, “her own statements on the Web site for the University compliance code state that she believes the Aggie Honor Code applies to everyone in the Aggie community, and Elsa Murano needs to be held accountable to that.”
June 27Vice President of Student Affairs Dean Bresciani resigns
July 1Offer extended to Lt. Gen. Joseph Weber to be vice president of Student Affairs
Week ofJuly 720 focus groups meet to discuss possible candidates
July 17Student Body President Mark Gold e-mails Texas A&M President Elsa A. Murano expressing concerns about Weber’s appointment
July 19Murano e-mails Gold recognizing that student opinion is important
July 21Murano rescinds offer to Weber because of student concerns
July 25Murano sends an e-mail informing students and faculty she will be taking more time in making her descision for the vice president of student affairs
July 31Board of Regents convenes without appointment of Weber on agenda per Murano’s removal of the appointment prior to the meeting
EarlyAugust A&M student leaders meet with Weber and his wife on multiple occasions
August 14Murano e-mails students and faculty notifying them that Weber would be reviewed by the board
August 15Board of Regents announces Weber as vice president of Student Affairs
More Documents:Page 1-13.pdfPage 14-57.pdfPOSTWeberdoc-date modified.docx

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