Student activities to expand for Tobin Lofts

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Jorge Posadas

Jorge Posadas

Director is expected to engage more student participation.

By FAITH DUARTE

fduarte3@student.alamo.edu

The role of the office of student life will need to increase to provide more activities after the completion of the public-private partnership Tobin Lofts, Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of academic and student success, said Oct. 29.

To increase student engagement upon completion in fall 2013, student life Director Jorge Posadas will be responsible for building a relationship with Campus Advantage, a student housing management company, in addition to his regular job duties.

Dr. Robert Vela

Dr. Robert Vela

Vela said Thursday that he has established a committee of faculty and staff to collaborate with Campus Advantage.

Student activities specialist Carrie Hernandez represents student life on the committee.

“We will need to do more evening- and weekend-type programming in collaboration with Campus Advantage, who will oversee the day-to-day operations of Tobin Lofts,” Vela said.

Tobin Lofts will be open to students from any college and include a 225-unit residential space, a 961-space parking garage and 12,000 square feet of commercial space, with Luther’s Café as anchor tenant.

“We anticipate that most of those students are going to be from SAC, and they’re going to want programming, they’re going to want activities, and Campus Advantage wants to partner with us to continue to develop this, so that role will get bigger and bigger,” Vela said.

Posadas declined to be interviewed concerning exactly how student activities will expand and how the office of student life is affected by the director ending involvement with the Student Activity Fee Committee, which oversees about $400,000 in funds designated for student activities.

Posadas resigned from the committee during the summer.

Because Posadas is no longer part of the committee, Vela said Posadas would have to ask for student activity funds “in the same proposal format that anybody else will have to do it.”

Posadas had been in charge of the committee of five students and four faculty and staff since the implementation of the student activity fee in fall 2006, which is generated through the collection of $1 per credit hour per student.

Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs, was appointed chair of the committee in September. A district procedure allows the college president to appoint someone other than the student activity director to fill that role.

According to district Procedure F.2.3.1, “The Director of Student Activities or comparable assignee appointed by the President shall serve as a nonvoting member and chair the committee.”

“It’s a little different from the other colleges … But after he stepped down, we needed to figure out who would be the best person to serve in that role,” Vela said.

“We’re fortunate and very happy to have Ms. Mendiola say yes to this role because it’s a very difficult role,” he said. “There’s a lot of organization, a lot of oversight, a lot of accountability of the money that needs to be transparent and it needs to be well-documented. It’s not an easy job.”

Vela said when Posadas asked to resign from the committee, “he basically said he could no longer fill in the role, and he wanted to focus on his office and his team, and we respected that.”

Vela said Thursday that Posadas’ role as nonvoting chair of the Student Activity Fee Committee was an added duty to his role as student life director.

“His role, really, is to provide leadership opportunities and programs to students, oversee the clubs and organizations, oversee our recreational sports programs, coordinate and put together different student activities … to facilitate this experiential learning piece,” he said.

“He’s still responsible for the student life office, which deals heavily with clubs and organizations, Student Government Association, leadership programs and opportunities, programming, the whole club sports,” he said Oct. 29. “That is still a very vital piece of our student affairs operation.”

Vela said this fiscal year is a transitional period for the committee because of the change in committee chairs.

He said he expects Posadas to continue his role as student life director and continue being available for students.

“I expect him to do all of the activities that he’s been doing in the past, and engaging more and more participation from students,” Vela said.

“And to his credit, we have a wonderful student life program, and we see a lot more students here than we’ve done in the past.”

According to a district job description for director of student activities, job duties include supervising events in the student center and organizing performances, seminars and lectures.

The job also calls for an “ability to communicate well with all levels of people and work effectively with community organizations.”

Posadas declined to talk to The Ranger for this story Wednesday “because we’ve already had this interview,” he said in reference to The Ranger story “Posadas steps down as activity fee committee chair,” which was uploaded to The Ranger Online Aug. 30.

The Ranger scheduled an appointment Oct. 30 with student life secretary Mary Schlabig to conduct a face-to-face interview at 2 p.m. Oct. 31 with Posadas.

About an hour before the interview was to take place, Schlabig called The Ranger to reschedule the interview with Posadas because she said he was ill.

On Nov. 5, The Ranger visited the office of student life and rescheduled with Schlabig the interview with Posadas for 3 p.m. Wednesday. She asked if the reporter wanted to do the story or was assigned the story.

At about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Posadas called to reschedule the interview and requested a Ranger reporter accompany him while attending meetings, instead of conducting an interview.

“It’s going to take a little more time from you, but it’s going to take a lot of time from me, and my time, I need to give to my primary duties,” Posadas said Wednesday.

It would make for a more interesting story than a sit-down interview, he said.

“If they (Ranger advisers) don’t like the idea … send me your questions in an email,” he said.

The Ranger does not conduct email interviews except in unusual circumstances, such as with sources out of the area.

After Posadas told The Ranger he expected to be paid for interviews Oct. 17, 2011, interviews in January and February with Posadas were supposed to be in the presence of Vela. At least one took place under those conditions.

Vela said Feb. 9 he wanted “to ensure a good interview process” and that everyone was “playing by what we agreed on.”

“He must provide — and his staff — interviews, just like we all do to The Ranger,” Vela said Thursday. “He’s not excluded from providing interviews … that is part of our job.”

Vela could not comment on Posadas’ job performance because “that’s more of a confidential evaluation process.”

“I think I need to see how this rolls out within the next year and see how much that chair activity took out of his time,” he said.

“Now that he’s no longer chair, I want to see within the next six months or year what that means.”

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