By JENNIFER LUNA
A student appointed to the Student Activity Fee Committee, which oversees the allocation of about $400,000 in student fees, shares the same name as a person with a criminal background that includes three convictions for theft, a felony conviction for burglary and one conviction for writing hot checks that resulted in a year in jail.
The committee member, addiction counseling sophomore Jeff Schnoor, maintains he is not the person listed in Texas Department of Public Safety documents with 16 variations of the name and two birthdates.
“That’s another Jeff Schnoor,” he said Tuesday.
He declined to provide a reporter his birth date and full name.
After his appointment by the Student Government Association in early October, Schnoor told the committee Oct. 12 in introducing himself that he had been president of student governments at St. Philip’s College, Palo Alto College and the University of Maryland at College Park.
The University of Maryland at College Park could find no record of a former student named Jeff Schnoor. No one at Palo Alto College could confirm his serving as a student government president.
In an interview Tuesday, Schnoor admitted that he had been student government president only at St. Philip’s, which he said was in 2003, and that he only helped student governments at College Park and Palo Alto. He said he would provide documents from College Park, but had not done so by deadline.
“I’ve helped over at Palo Alto and University of Maryland and some other colleges,” he said.
A St. Philip’s dean of student success secretary confirmed by telephone Tuesday that Schnoor had been a student government president at St. Philip’s.
Public records show that the person using a version of Schnoor’s name has had seven arrests dating back to 1991 and as recently as March 16, 2012. This person served over a year in state prison.
The arrests for theft were reported in Tom Green County. A mug shot obtained from the county sheriff’s office bears a strong resemblance to Schnoor.
The first arrest was in 1991 for Class C theft of less than $50.
The next arrest for this person was in 1992 for a Class B theft between $50 and $500, which resulted in three months probation.
An arrest in 1996 for a person using his name was a first-degree felony for burglary of habitation of more than $200,000.
The person using Schnoor’s name received 10 years probation.
On Nov. 1, 1999, a person using one of the 16 versions of Schnoor’s name in DPS records was arrested for writing $2,688.77 in bad checks, pleaded guilty and was jailed for 457 days, according to records from the 119th Judicial District in Tom Green County.
In September 2000, a person using Schnoor’s name was arrested in Tom Green County for unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The most recent arrest for a person with a variation of that name was March 16, 2012, for driving with an invalid or suspended license in Tom Green County.
Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of academic and student success, said in an interview Thursday afternoon, “We don’t require criminal background checks for students to attend our college. We don’t limit anybody’s participation in the college because of it. A lot of our students do have criminal backgrounds.
“We realize students may have made mistakes in the past, but it should not keep them from being active members of a college. If a student has a concern, they can always file a complaint with my office, and we will investigate it thoroughly,” he said.
While Vela said he could not comment specifically on a member of the committee, he said the five students and two alternates do not have access to the $400,000 of student funds that they allocate. The student activity fee is highly regulated, with checks and balances where no single person has the ability take funds, he said.
“There is a lot of protocol that goes into making sure the money goes where the committee wants it to go. Ms. Mendiola, as chair, her office makes sure that the money is routed to the right and appropriate departments,” he said, referring to Emma Mendiola, dean of student affairs and the nonvoting chair of the committee.
Jacob Wong, psychology sophomore and Student Government Association president, who appointed Schnoor as a student representative for the committee, said Wednesday, he looks at applicants’ accomplishments but does not fact-check them.
He said he has the authority to remove members of the committee who intentionally provide false information.
“I can address the situation, and I can remove them if it is something I find out later,” he said.
After learning of the criminal past of a person using versions of Schnoor’s name, Wong said he would want to look at the time frame in which the incidents happened.
Wong said Schnoor is taking the committee work seriously. “He does research, he has a binder, he collects all the information, and he’s been very balanced and fair.”
He said he would talk to Schnoor and Mendiola.
“It’s a concern when you’re dealing with money, especially money of the students. … There can’t be any sense of impropriety or mismanagement of funds because we are governed by state law,” Wong said.
Mendiola was unavailable for an interview by deadline.
Schnoor said Tuesday he was involved in a lawsuit with a man from Temple involving Texas Airsoft Safety Organization. Airsoft is a hobby similar to paintball. He attributed the confusion over his name to the other party in the lawsuit.
That information could not be confirmed.
In a video posted on YouTube Sept. 18, 2010, after an airsoft game, a person identified as Gray Wolf, who looks like Schnoor, details an elaborate military background.
In the video, Gray Wolf says he served 26 years in the military and says he served in the Marines and Army.
He spent 4 ½ years being a Marine because he “didn’t want to wait for someone to die or pass away to get promoted.” Therefore, he went into the Army and served as a Ranger.
Gray Wolf also said he was an instructor for scuba diving at the John F. Kennedy School.
He then said he was a U.N. peacekeeper and has been to Albania, Serbia and Bosnia.
Gray Wolf said in the video that he went into the military when he was 16½ years old by signing a waiver. He said that he was an orphan and got emancipated at 15.
Schnoor told the Student Activity Fee Committee Oct. 12 that he served in the military 16 years.