Peterson answers questions on campus issues

The Technique sat down this week with Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson about some of the biggest issues on campus. Below are excepts of our questions and his responses.

In the last four years, there have been four different fraternities that have been either suspended or put on disciplinary probation. In light of that, how is Tech going to change its policy either on oversight or on punishment for organizations?

I’m not aware of any initiative to change our policies and change the way we do this. It’s interesting—some of the editorials in the Technique say the administration needs to do this and this and this and one of my responses when I read some of those sometimes is where’s the student responsibility portion of this.

I’d like for the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to take greater role and a responsibility in providing oversight and guidance. And one of these fraternities was selling, you know, they had an open bar in the basement. They had a sign: beer $4, wine $5, mixed drinks $6 and they’re selling stuff to underage students.

So a lot of times, that has a lot to do with the national office, so we work with the national office, but I guess if there was one thing I wanted to see, it would be I hope that the IFC takes some initiative to try to help make sure we don’t have these kinds of challenges and issues in the future.

I hope the student organizations increase the amount of
responsibility they take so it’s not the administration coming down. I would rather the Interfraternity Council govern these actions than it go through us and then to the national office.

Somebody knew that they had an open bar right? I mean this wasn’t right and so it should be the administration that has to find it and take action. How about some self governance and leadership?

What can we expect to see from the Institute to helps students who are dealing with stress and more serious mental health issues?

Well the students are doing, have a number of initiatives. I think you’ve seen the “You’re Awesome” video. That was all student oriented. Ms. Durham has chaired several task forces: the mental health task force.

We had a wellness report from the wellness committee and what we’ve done is we’re combining those initiatives, and we have an office of strategic consulting that Sonia Alvarez Robinson is leading. Alvarez Robinson is the director of that, and we’ve asked her to look at these two reports, come back with a recommendation and an organizational structure by November 15th. We are going to create, and I don’t want to get too far ahead, but I believe we’re going to create an office that oversees the Wellness Initiative.

Now that you have hired a new title IX coordinator from the board of regents, when will he be here and when will the new sexual violence prevention director be here?

So we did an advertisement, a national search. People from all over the country applied and the person we hired happened to be working at the system office, Burns Newsome. So and we felt like he was the best qualified individual.

We want to be a little careful that we don’t want to hire someone that’s responsible for creating and overseeing this wellness initiative and then be too prescriptive about telling them exactly who to hire and what types of positions. It’s kind of what we did the office of Institute Diversity.

The committee came forward with a list of about 20 recommendations and I said, I’m going to accept recommendation number one and we’re going to hire a vice president of institute diversity and have them report at the cabinet level and then I’m going to give that person the 19 recommendations and let them establish their office and create the office. And that’s kind of our intent here.

Hopefully we’ll be up and we’re trying to move this forward very quickly. We asked strategic consulting to do this, I said I want a report, can you do it in 60 to 90 days? And they said no. I said we really need it in 60 to 90 days and so that’s what their goal is.