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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Richard Davenport

President Davenport Speaks with Student Senate

President answers questions regarding athletic facilities proposal, sexual violence education coordinator, student drug and alcohol usage.

by Emmeline Elliott
March 09, 2006

Minnesota State President Richard Davenport spent time at the Minnesota State Student Association meeting March 1. He spoke to student senators and answered their questions about several things, including the sexual education violence coordinator position, the proposed plan to upgrade athletic facilities and its potential availability to students. Here are some of his answers taken from MSSA minutes.

On the proposed plan to upgrade athletic facilities...

Senator Philip VanWyngarden (Off-Campus): You (Davenport) said Campus Recreation said 60 percent of students are using the program. How can the other 40 percent have a voice?

President Davenport: You (the student senate) will play a role in that. We want to survey all students. We want to know the level of interest. Some students may oppose this. That will be part of the task and that is why we can’t be in a big hurry. Also with [student senate] elections coming up there will be a lot of discussion coming from you. We want input from any and all students.

On administration’s relationship with the student body...

Senator Marianne Reilly (College of Social and Behavioral Sciences): Do you feel that you are in touch with students?

P.D.: The president’s responsibility is not always on campus. I represent the university to many constituents. I am out trying to get a campaign started. The role is to run the university but it is very extensive. The vice presidents deal with different groups. Dr. [Scott] Olson is Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. He deals with all instruction and professors. We also have a vice president for [Information and Technology Services], Mark Johnson. He is in charge of information technology and has worked extensively on planning and budgets throughout campus. The Vice President of Finance, Dean Trauger, deals with the finance side. Dr. Pat Swatfager-Haney interacts with students. I would like to spend my time with you [the students] but that is not my job. I can do that through my vice presidents and MSSA liaison [Joel Johnson]. [Johnson] reports to Pat and she reports back to me. I will say that I have tried to create open forums and bring in the Reporter for the forums as well. I think part of this is understanding the role of the president. My daily schedule does not allow me time to be interacting with students everyday.

On the new Sexual Violence Education Coordinator...

Senator Matt Ward (Off-Campus): I have heard concerns from many of my constituents of the placement of the sexual assault coordinator being in the Women’s Center. Would you be open to placing this position in the Counseling Center versus Women’s Center?

P.D.: I asked that question when I decided on this. I asked how many males used the service. I was told there were four. There may have been more if more males felt comfortable going into the Women’s Center. I am gathering information on that now. Men may not feel comfortable going into a Women’s Center. We may need a new location. I think we will study that and even if we make a decision to leave it where it is, it may be changed later.

Senator Ryan Flugaur (Gage A Tower): What kind of data did you receive before you made the decision on the full-time position?

P.D.: Data, phone calls, visits outside the office. The data did not show names, only numbers. The number of contacts was enough to warrant the position.

Flugaur: What were the numbers?

P.D.: I don’t have that, but the information is available. The data is available. It is public information.

Senator Reilly: You said you spent time with students before making the sexual assault coordinator position full time. Did you receive that information from them or was that from the administration?

P.D.: I get e-mails from students all the time. When I walk across campus students stop me. Sometimes information is incidental, not based on a poll. I am approachable. I am always ready to have a conversation.

On student use of drugs and alcohol...

P.D.: Drinking and drugs is out of control. Twenty percent of individuals sent to detox are from this university. I have been downtown. We are fortunate we have not had someone get killed after a hockey game. We need to talk about this. It is devaluing our university and your education. If we are being talked about as the party school in Minnesota, we need to talk about that.


Emmeline Elliott is a Reporter staff writer