Confusion over honor society bylaws causes rift in organization.
By Kyle R. Cotton
This college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter elected three officers Feb. 2 during an election process that resurrected complaints about the former president’s track record.
The new officers are American Sign Language sophomore Samantha Davis, president; engineering sophomore Hunter Hodge, vice president of leadership; and computer information systems sophomore Joshua Johnson, secretary.
Members emphasized a need for new blood and availability as they grilled candidates about their commitment to the organization.
Former PTK president and speech sophomore Kim-Briana Lorine, who ran for vice president of leadership, said she was forced to resign because of chapter bylaws introduced in 2011 mandating that the PTK president must maintain 12 course hours for the semester.
However, according to vice president of fellowship and business administration sophomore Ann Marie Hessbrook, multiple members asked Lorine not to run after a semester where the chapter dropped from a five-star-rating to a two-star-rating.
“All other officers discouraged her from running for any of the open officer positions, but she’s still running,” Hessbrook said of Lorine’s resignation. “She was forced to resign under a technicality, but there were multiple grievances last semester.”
Hessbrook said Lorine would take sole responsibility for the chapter’s projects with limited input from other officers and members.
“The results speak for themselves; we were a five-star chapter and now we’re a two-star.” Hessbrook said. “When you take sole responsibility for projects, you get all of the blame.”
Lorine said chapter rules required her to take sole responsibility.
“According to the bylaws, it’s supposed to be me who is in charge of the projects and work closely with the adviser,” she said.
Lorine said she did seek input from members throughout the semester.
“When working on the projects and other activities, I was open to suggestions and asked if there were any issues and no one said anything,” she said.
According to Lorine, once a grievance was filed and addressed within the chapter, she and club adviser Roger Stanley were accused of collusion and changing the bylaws.
She said the rating drop occurred when Stanley, an astronomy professor, submitted a late project to the national PTK organization. Once it’s approved, the chapter will return to its previous five-star rating.
This has led Hessbrook and others to try and change the bylaws at the club officers’ meeting so that so much power and responsibility doesn’t reside with the chapter president.
Hessbrook said Lorine’s decision to run for historian is “in poor taste,” but the organization cannot stop a qualified member from running for an officer position.
Stanley said Lorine shouldered many duties by herself and the bylaws say the president should delegate responsibilities appropriately to other members.
“Many of the projects and tasks she took on by herself and didn’t keep members properly informed,” he said.
Stanley said he could not verify Lorine’s claim that the club would be restored to its five-star rating once a project was approved.
“There is a checklist that only PTK officials can access that shows what the chapter needs to accomplish in order to achieve a certain rating,” he said.
One missing item on the checklist was the honors study topic, one of the five-star challenges, which can be attempted by an individual but must be presented to the chapter, he said. The presentation could have been done through a paper or PowerPoint, Stanley said.
“She did a lot of the work, but she didn’t keep the members informed,” Stanley said.
Stanley dismissed accusations of collusion with Lorine, noting that he was left out of the loop like the others.
“It’s hard to collude when one of the individuals doesn’t know,” he said.