Student organization is not under investigation, director of student life says.
By Kyle R. Cotton
Engineering sophomore Austin Hammerli defeated speech sophomore Kim Briana-Lorine for Phi Theta Kappa historian, falling two votes short of unanimous during PTK’s second special election meeting Feb. 9 in the craft room of Loftin Student Center.
“I want to make more people aware of PTK and not the way like the article in The Ranger, but in a more positive light,” Hammerli said, referencing a Feb. 9 article “Phi Theta Kappa elects three officers amid controversy.”
Lorine, former PTK president, was asked to resign under a technicality in the chapter bylaws among multiple grievances over her leadership and lack of delegation to other members of the chapter, resulting in a downgrade to the chapter’s rating from five stars to two stars.
Lorine originally said the rating drop was because club adviser Roger Stanley turned a research project in late. An email between PTK and Stanley shows he turned the project in on time.
Hammerli said, “We are the honor society at this college so we are supposed to represent the best of the student body, and I’d like to move beyond what’s in The Ranger.”
Lorine said she was happy for Hammerli, who she said reminded her a lot of herself.
“He started off shy, just like I did first starting out, but he got bolder as the semester went on,” she said. “He became confident enough to run for multiple officer positions.”
Prior to votes being cast, both Samantha Davis, PTK president and American Sign Language sophomore, and Ann Marie Hessbrook, vice president of fellowship and business administration sophomore, addressed the members over the article, as well as reiterating the need for transparency and better delegation after handing copies of The Ranger to each of the members.
“There were discrepancies last semester with our chapter involving the president and our projects, as well as problems with delegation and getting the word out to members to make it a more involved club,” Davis said.
Hessbrook added to Davis’ statement, “I feel that perhaps instead of resigning based on a technicality that it would have been better for a more muddy situation, but we just didn’t want PTK dragged through the mud, and we (the fellow officers) did ask her not to run so as to provide an opportunity to people who hadn’t served for as many years, but she was really set on being part of this.”
After Hammerli was elected, he and the three individuals elected the previous week were officially sworn in by Stanley.
In spite of the desire to move on, two more situations have surfaced.
Lorine said the PTK chapter at this college is under investigation by Richard Farias, director of student life, and Dr. Conrad Krueger, dean of arts and sciences.
Stanley said he knew mediation had happened but was unaware of any investigation.
Lorine said the investigative parties were trying to keep things quiet.
Farias said there is no investigation. “No, there is no ongoing investigation into PTK. I don’t know where Kim could have gotten that idea from,” he said.
Krueger said, “I don’t know of any issues with the clubs.”
Hessbrook said the Student Government Association and student trustee Jacob Wong acted hostile toward the organization on Lorine’s behalf by confronting PTK officers. She described the group as a “clique.”
Lorine said, “I expressed my frustration to my friends in SGA, but I also asked that they not act on my behalf.”
Davis said this was around the time Lorine was asked by PTK officers to resign on Nov. 17.
Lorine and the officers parted ways on good terms after the resignation request, she said.
Davis said later that week Andrew Hubbard, former SGA president and liberal arts sophomore, confronted the PTK officers over the bylaws after a PTK meeting.
Davis and the officers felt it was hostile and asked club adviser Jacob Martinez to help answer Hubbard’s questions.
Hubbard said it was not his intention to appear hostile.
Wong, who said he had stayed out of this situation while knowing what was going on since he interacts with both organizations on a regular basis said, “I find the issue childish with all the organization infighting.”
He said the organization was not a very supportive environment.
“You can’t complain about the actions of one person if you go back as a group and do the same thing,” Wong said.
The meeting closed with solicitation for nominees for the vice president of service, noting potential candidates need to submit nomination to Stanley or student success coordinator Jacob Martinez by 3 p.m. today. An election meeting will follow at 4 p.m.
Lorine said she doesn’t plan to run for vice president of service.
“This is my last semester here, and I’m already part of a bunch of other organizations,” she said.
Davis said, “The new officers are motivated and energetic to take the chapter to a new level and have invigorated our members to accomplish our goals that we know we can achieve.”
For more information, call Stanley at 210-486-0058.