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‘Future’ main message at spring General Assembly

Projects, campaigns on horizon for campus

‘Future’ main message at spring General Assembly

Alex Hammerschmidt

President Michael Shonrock speaks to faculty and students at the General Assembly Jan. 21 in Webb Hall. Shonrock went over Emporia State’s past achievements and where he hopes to take ESU in the future.

Optimism and hope for Emporia State’s future was the message President Michael Shonrock gave at the spring 2014 General Assembly.

“The planets are aligning for ESU,” Shonrock said during his speech about current projects and future expectations.

A topic he focused on heavily during the event was a partnership with the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita. The partnership will bring civic leadership into ESU’s general education curriculum. He called the venture a “great experiment,” and said he believes it will lead to many new and exciting opportunities.

“The (General Assembly) at the beginning (of the school year) was kind of more of a welcome-to-campus event,” said Gwen Larson, assistant director of Marketing and Media Releations. “The spring semester (assembly) was a little bit more about the state of the university.”

In addition, Shonrock also discussed that plans to make cosmetic changes to the university are becoming less of a dream and more of a reality. The only limit to those projects will be financial resources. The Now & Forever campaign is already at its halfway mark, according to Larson.

“I think students should realize that they can be a part of these changes,” Larson said.

Shonrock said ESU is expanding the area where students are eligible for in-state tuition. By fall 2014, multiple counties in northern Oklahoma will benefit from having the same tuition as Kansas residents.

He also pointed far ahead to an expected visit from the Higher Learning Commission in March of 2015 when the university will need to be re-accredited. ESU is already preparing for that event.

After Shonrock’s presentation, several organizations, such as the Faculty Senate, came to give an update on their work.

Led by Sheryl Lidzy, Faculty Senate President and associate professor of communication, the Faculty Senate has been attempting to repeal the Kansas Board of Regents’ social media policy, which raises a major concern of freedom of speech for faculty at public universities. The amendment, Lidzy said at the assembly, was put in place to protect universities from any statement made on social media that could reflect badly on the institution’s reputation.

She warned that this policy could be easily modified and misused to unfairly “protect” the university against its own students.

Shonrock closed the assembly by reemphasizing his optimism for ESU’s future, and adding that the university still needs to grow, or else lag behind. He said ESU can help the United States retrieve its former reputation as the number one innovator in the world.

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