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Mark A. Rockeymoore

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Controversy sparks change at Texas State University
Thursday, September 14, 2006  12:00:00 PM

by Mark A. Rockeymoore

By: Veronica Castelo

So, I was on the local news last night. I went to my office in the LBJ Student Building yesterday to work - in my capacity of Executive Assistant to the President of the Associate Student Government (ASG) - and Kyle Morris, Student Body President, put me on the phone with a reporter. We spoke for a while about the event discussed in the following article, and then she asked if she could come and interview me. I said sure, and the following article is the result. There is also a video of the news segment in the following link to Channel 8 News Austin (Texas). Go to where it says, 'Watch the Video' and click for the minute or so long interview. Just thought I'd share. Take care, y'all!

Controversy sparks change at Texas State University
By: Veronica Castelo


A year ago this week, students at Texas State University-San Marcos rallied around campus calling for change.

Their concern resulted from a struggle between police and a group of students on Sept. 11, 2005. The disturbance between police and students happened after an on-campus Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity party at the LBJ Student Center. Three students were arrested, one of them was tasered by police.

Students immediately called for an investigation of the incident they believe was poorly handled and was racially motivated.

They university hired Brown Group International to conduct an independent review of the case, Vice President of Student Affairs Joanne Smith said.

The independent investigation uncovered some problems at the university.

"What's happened out of this is there were some things that have surfaced in terms of students feeling that there were some tensions that were occurring," Smith said.

The tension was specifically between students and police.

In response, campus police Chief Ralph Meyer, or one of his officers, attends weekly Associated Student Government meetings, which didn't happen before.

"We go to the meetings, participate and answer any questions and concerns they might have. We want to be helpful to them and maybe sponsor their events and be a part of their community," Meyer said.

The independent review also uncovered holes in the university's security plan.

"One of the things that came out of this is we now have a policy procedure statement in terms of how we manage late night events. We've come up with a ratio to security and attendees. We've done some things to help us better manage a situation so we don't put the police in a similar situation," Smith said.

The university has also started a police advisory board made up of students, faculty, and community members to discuss community and police issues.

Mark Rockeymoore is a graduate student and says the university is moving in the right direction.

"More can always be done. There are issues constantly with understanding and with tolerance. As far as official sanctioning of diversity and moving in that direction, there's an extraordinary willingness by the administration to move forward in that direction," Rockeymoore said.

Officials and students agree, while unfortunate, the events of that evening are a huge reason for that movement forward.

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