Theatre Council students are fighting to retain their e-board leadership after a series of events implying that their roles and responsibilities may be taken away.
Theatre Council adviser Deirdre Yates sent an email to council members on Monday which said, “The Department is creating a stipend position, the ‘Theatre Council Student Producer,’ who will work with advisors, Professors Yates and Reader, to coordinate all the Theatre Council events.”
According to the email, this paid student will have the “prerogative to involve council members in similar ways to the previous structure.”
Current Theatre Council members are concerned because the paid student will not have to keep the current structure, which includes a four person executive board.
Despite the reaction of Theatre Council members, Yates does not plan to get rid of the executive board.
“If the council was going away, this work study position wouldn’t exist,” she said.
Yates described the current situation as a “misunderstanding” but did acknowledge that since last September, the council has been in a “transition period.”
She added that the position was also created to help make Theatre Council production more “curriculum-based.”
However, there have been tensions between faculty and the council since 2009. Yates sent an email to faculty from the Department of Communication and the Arts on May 5, 2010 that read “While it appears that the Theatre Council is being magnanimous in its refurbishing ideas, their ‘fundraising’ is merely a way of raising more funds for them to produce more shows for them to direct and cast themselves in – without guidance I might add.”
“However since the dean of student organizations and our current chair support these self aggrandizing students and their ego-centric events, I speak to a lost cause,” she added.
On the responsibilities of the executive board at the time, Yates said “(Theatre Council) should foster the arts by supplying free entertainment, but that sort of global servant leadership is lost on this executive board and its minions.”
Senior Marissa Breton, who currently is not involved in Theatre Council anymore but in the past has held two executive board positions, said believes that this is all the result of a “deep-rooted department issue.”
Outgoing Theatre Council President Megan Hanson was emailed by department chair Dr. Thomas Rondinella in May 2011 to notify her that “As of June 1, Theatre Council will be under the auspices of the Department of Communication and The Arts and not a part of SGA,” as they previously were..
Hanson replied to Rondinella citing her concerns about this change of authority.
Hanson’s concerns have rolled over to this academic year, along with the rest of the council, upon finding out that the e-board has the chance of being replaced by one stipend student, according to
“For the past three years, there have been tensions between the Department of Communication and Theatre Council, based on each group’s very opposing view of the goals and direction the students were taking the Council,” Hanson said.
Because of the change from being recognized as an SGA club, the Theatre Council lost a lot of money, according to Hanson.
As a result of the loss of their SGA budget, Theatre Council only put on one play this academic year, in comparison to four last year.
Tessa Giordano, Theatre Council treasurer, expressed her frustration with the recent issues stating that decisions were being made with no regard for student input.
“There has been almost no communication between the department and the executive board for quite some time now and when there is, it is the department telling the students things,” Giordano said.”
According to Giordano, the Council is doing everything they can to fight the department’s decision to create the one-person paid position.
“I truly believe that Theatre Council cannot exist without a cohesive, multi-member executive board,” Giordano said.
Allyson Horn, vice-president of the Theatre Council said the decision to remove the executive board has left her dismayed and upset.
“For my first two years as a Theatre Council member, it has been a home and a safe haven for students who love to perform,” Horn said. “I feel that Theatre Council has lost all opportunity for student input.”
According to Horn, Yates sent an email for the Theatre Council secretary to forward to the general council that announced the changed for the upcoming year.
“The email specifically states that this paid producer position will be ‘in lieu’ of an executive board,” Horn said.
According to Christopher Milliman, co-chair of the council’s tech committee, several steps are being taken by the council.
There is a petition going around campus to draw the attention of the administration, council members are using Facebook to rally student support, and Horn and Giordano met with Associate Dean of Undergraduate Student Services and Enrollment Christopher Kaiser yesterday.
Nicholas Parco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News Editor Ashley Duvall and Assistant News Editor Charlotte Lewis contributed to this article.