Pflugradt: Administration feuds continue to riddle the legacy of SGA

March 27, 2017

Student Government Association is a game.

Feuds are at an all-time high between the Wichita State administration and the Student Government Association. I’m not sure when things took a turn for the worst, but things haven’t been right for a while — a long while. 

Students have the right to question university leaders. You, as students, elect student leaders to be your voice, present that to the administration and speak up for what should be in the best interest of the students.

Little input from student leaders were requested ahead of time when Wichita State administration wanted to fund part of a proposed YMCA facility with student fees. When it came down to the big reveal, the administration sent Vice President for Research and Tech-Transfer John Tomblin for a PowerPoint asking for their support — just a formality. Point being, if SGA voted down, which they did, it wouldn’t do anything to change the administration’s plans. The real decision-making was done behind closed doors.

Student Body President Joseph Shepard has long said he and the administration are not on good terms. In October, Shepard and other SGA leaders went above the university’s head, reaching out to Kansas Board of Regents President Blake Flanders. In hopes to reach an interested ear, they persisted that students, faculty and staff were living in a “culture of fear” where they were “afraid to speak up” out of fear of retaliation from President John Bardo. Concerns of outside influence on university decisions threatening the academic freedom and a lack of coordination with student government fed their case.

“It is evident to us, as students, that anyone who speaks out against President Bardo will be let go from their position, or their position will be dissolved for reasons unknown,” Shepard wrote to Flanders.

Provost Tony Vizzini responded on behalf of a silent administration.

“It is the responsibility of SGA to represent student views to members of the administration,” he wrote. “It is the responsibility of the administration to make the final decisions on behalf of all constituencies of the university.”

Transparency is the new slang-term to coin President Bardo’s fast motives. And with the recent and mysterious leave of both the Dean of Students and Director of Campus Recreation, the call for transparency is justified.

At this point, however, transparency is only a soft vision of something so distant in reality.

When things are going well, student leaders “work together as trusted partners” with administration, Vizzini said in a statement to The Sunflower. But the relationship between the two hasn’t been settled for a long time.

There’s no working relationship that’s helped replenish the tattered transparency between the two student organizations. In the most recent senate meeting, a group of four students interrupted to call for a vote of no confidence and the resignation of President Bardo. Ultimately, at the end of hours of hesitation, a vote of 20-4-7 agreed on a resolution to read that President Bardo “is no longer competent to lead.”

SGA declared a formal distrust — it was gone well before that heated Wednesday night. The formality didn’t really matter. None of this did.

What can they possibly expect President Bardo to do to react to this? Nothing.

Let’s get Drew Carey to run this show. After all, everything is made up and the points don’t matter.


24 Responses to “Pflugradt: Administration feuds continue to riddle the legacy of SGA”

  1. Nope Silent Protest on March 27th, 2017 1:23 pm

    Welcome to the real world kiddos, where yelling, screaming, and demanding gets you ignored or placated. The SGA has little grip on reality, how could they being born into a world of complain and you’ll get your way. What world do you live in? One where underlings can demand power from their bosses? To demand credit from them? Good luck when you graduate college, and you learn the real world does not care about you unless you give it legitimate reason to.

  2. Don Manly on March 27th, 2017 2:21 pm

    Dear self-proclaimed “adulto” see what I did there. By calling students kidos you are calling human beings inferior to you. So adulto we complain because it’s our money that we have to pay back with interest. Many students like myself saw that we have less of a future by going to wsu than if we just stayed home and it is a growing problem. We the students want to pay our money to be taught skills and not pay for corporations to build new buildings on campus. The campus is pretty enough, no need for more just be happy with campus as it is and focus on teaching. I transfered away from wsu as a senior to a different school and became a freshman again in a different program because wsu wouldnt let me have advising meetings without going through hoops. There is no comparison between wsu and kstate. My hope is that the administration has a change of mind on what is important so other students don’t waste tens of thousands of dollars for this regime. If students cannot find want they want then they should come to kstate. #EMAW (Every Man A Wildcat)

  3. Nope Silent Protest on March 27th, 2017 5:10 pm

    Dear misdirected one,
    I was not calling all students kiddos, just the ones with little life experience. I am also a student at WSU, one about to graduate. Ironic. Your complaints have nothing to do with the topic that SGA was demanding or the topic at hand. But, you seem to be a part of the group of snowflakes I was responding to. You complain about paying money, and then state you transferred to Kstate from WSU? Regime? OMG STOP HITLER, OMG FACISTS, OMG SJW-FTW. Stop using pound signs. No adults will take you seriously.

  4. Don Manly on March 27th, 2017 11:32 pm

    FYI I cannot be a “snowflake” for I love Carbon Dioxide way too much! It stimulates plant growth, saves money in the winter, and is beneficial for aneorbic bacteria. Best of wishes in your future!

  5. A concerned student on March 28th, 2017 12:22 am

    Don, he’s right. With all the SGA drama and that stupid “We The Students” group headed by a freshman claiming they represent the students… Change doesn’t come with kicking, screaming, and protesting. If you want to get things done, present yourself respectfully. As a professional. If people didn’t sit outside the president’s office in all black screaming, maybe he’d want more to do with them.

    In the real world crying doesn’t get you what you want.

  6. Wade Robinson on March 27th, 2017 1:24 pm

    There has been an item in the news recently that I believe is very important. Graham Spanier, the former President of Penn State University, was convicted Friday, March 24, 2017 for his role in covering up incidents that occurred over 16 years ago at Penn State University. Two other administrators, Athletic Director Tim Curley, and Vice President Gary Schultz, pled guilty to misdemeanor charges in a plea deal and testified against him.

    In the Penn State case, allegations were first known and reported internally at Penn State in 2001 but not made known to authorities and investigated until 2011. The people victimized or whose lives were otherwise negatively impacted between 2001 and 2011, is why I feel it is important that people speak up and make sure issues of concern are known by as many people as possible.

    I recently shared details with individuals at WSU and the Kansas Board Regents about the settlement of a case involving James Pulliam that prevented the case and details from being shared at a public trial. I also shared details of documentation from Barth Hague from 2015 that outlined what he described as intentional efforts to withhold information from the media by Lou Heldman. This information was ultimately withheld from the public as a result.

    It is no secret that I have filed a lawsuit against WSU. You can get the details of that case at the federal courthouse if you want as it is available to the public to read and print. I made my concerns about issues known to WSU administrators in April 2013 and I made issues known to the Kansas Board of Regents in late January and early February 2015. I provided them additional details of concerns in April and May 2015. I filed the lawsuit on March 2, 2016.

    An article in the Wichita Eagle on May 2, 2015 stated the following:
    “The regents, who govern the state university system, are making inquiries into the complaint by Robinson and will be visiting with Bardo”, according to a regents spokeswoman. Bardo said that he has not yet seen Robinson’s documents but that based on what the regents have told him, he’s confident he can answer all concerns and that WSU is run safely and well.

    Even though I was still employed at WSU through June 30, 2015 and was at the Board Office on different occasions between May 2nd and June 30th of 2015, there was not a single attempt by anyone with the Board of Regents to ask me a single follow up question regarding all of the concerns I detailed for them.

    People should know there are real issues that impact real people. People should know it is not all a game.

  7. Nope Silent Protest on March 27th, 2017 5:27 pm

    Wade, do your lawyers encourage you to discuss the case outside of court? While you may be correct, we live in a society where you are innocent until proven guilty. Until then, you seem to be a disgruntled worker getting back at the system at worst, or not Wade Robinson at all. If your argument holds water you don’t need to fight it out on a school newspaper instead of court.

    If you are him, this reply is just tacky and not proper channels to deal with the issue. If you aren’t, shame on you.

  8. Concerned Student on March 28th, 2017 10:27 am

    Sadly, the laws claim we should be innocent until proven guilty, but society has shifted now to guilty until proven innocent…

  9. Outside Looking In on March 27th, 2017 8:54 pm

    As a WSU graduate that is only a few years out, I honestly can’t believe how stupid things have gotten with the current students. Speaking from experience, students tend to think that everything that is happening to them is the most important thing in the world and that they are the only ones who can fix them. The reality that you learn after graduating is that those “important” things were either not that significant or were completely out of your hands to begin with. Understand that the university is a business and that the students are primarily paying for an education. Focus on that first! All the other elements of school like SGA and student activities should be treated as résume builders, not world changing clubs. The university allows these things to exist, and could just as easily take them away. Students have no true power in the decision making, they are only feedback tools that may or may not be utilized. Simply learn to except that life isn’t always going to be perfect, or just go to a different school that doesn’t hurt your feelings as much.

  10. Don Manly on March 28th, 2017 9:29 am

    Dear out side looking in, a university is not a business. The Muslim students that wanted some accommodations in the chapel is a critically important issue and will be remembered by them for a long time even after graduation. If a university is a business then wouldn’t it want to accommodate the customers who pay the most (international students). The administration of a university exists simply to benefit tax payers with education and needs of students to fulfill that requirement.

  11. Concerned Student on March 28th, 2017 10:31 am

    Part of the problem is our SGA leaders are involved in the new culture of outrage and protest over the smallest things. They think that being passionate and angry will get them what they want, and they all want to make names for themselves in a student organization that will never, ever matter in the real world.

    Not to mention that when these kids get upset with the president, they hold an illegal sit in (Yes it was illegal, blocking hallways is a fire hazard!), dress in all black, and chant in a hallway. These children need to learn that if you want to interact with the adult world and find a compromise or change something, you need to present yourself as a respectable adult. No one wants to interact with a group of children sitting on the floor, crying.

  12. Don Manly on March 28th, 2017 12:00 pm

    Dear concerned student, if you want to talk about respect you can start by not calling your fellow peers “children” and “kids”, it’s degrading. I don’t believe any of the protesters were “crying”. What’s wrong with wearing black? From the video they did leave a path for walking if a fire broke out. If you are not a person of faith then it’s easy to see why the issue over the chapel doesn’t seem like a big deal.

  13. Concerned Student on March 28th, 2017 12:43 pm

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with wearing black, but within the context of demanding change from a President of a school, sitting on the floor, protesting and chanting is not a successful method to approach an individual for discussion. If they want change they should present themselves in a respectable manner, rather chanting in a hallway. Maybe then President Bardo would be more open to listening to their ideas.

    I’m not sure what video you saw, as the footage from KSN’s story on the sit in shows a large congregation of students taking up the hallway. It doesn’t matter if they left a small path for foot traffic, in the event of an emergency people could have been trampled, or more, which is why we have fire codes in the first place. Students were blocking hallways and doorways, and that is illegal.

    I said nothing in regards to the issue over the chapel… and for the record I support the belief that the chapel should be welcome to all individuals of all faiths, and it should be a safe and open place for all peoples and religions to gather.

    Finally, I’m calling those students children because they are acting like children. We The Students is, as I understand, a small group of students headed by a freshman who seem to think they represent the student body of WSU, which is absolutely false. Respect is earned, not handed out.

    Within their “List of Demands” they claim that they want the school to install and uphold gender neutral bathrooms, regardless of federal regulations. They must not understand that going against federal law and regulations will result in the school losing federal funding. They are pop up group who I can only assume are just trying to make a name for themselves, and they are doing it all in the wrong way.

  14. Don Manly on March 28th, 2017 10:02 pm

    To Concerned Student,

    I see that there are many different groups in “we the students”. Some of the items demanded are as others have put it , “petty”. However I think the issue over the chapel and its handling as the event that started all of this. Now pertaining to the freshman, I am sorry but your class (for full time first time) does not have a bright future at WSU as compared to other universities. Statistics show out of 100 freshman only 19 will graduate in 4 years. By 6 years, 24 more students will graduate while 33 of their peers left for another institution. Why is it that only 19% of starting freshman graduate in the standard 4 year time period and nearly just as many students leave for other institutions as graduate. WSU is mission out on a lot of possible alumni who could help during times of need to secure funds to expand campus without going to the private sector. I’ll give you a hint on poor 4 year graduation rates, it stems from a severe lack of academic guidance. I know that is why I left WSU my senior year. After 3 full years of fighting enrollment to get into classes without help, I gave up on Wichita. There are a few professors I truly do miss, but in the end, I have to do what is best for my future and leaving Wichita my senior year was one of the best decisions I made. Hopefully future students wont have to make that decision.

    Government Data on Wichita State graduation rates: (click on retention and graduation rates)

  15. the real agenda-late to the party on March 30th, 2017 4:49 pm

    I think the reason students are unable to graduate within the optimal 4 year time-frame is more likely because WSU offers a terrible variety of class offerings and times. Good freaking luck graduating in 4 years when 3 classes you need are only offered in ONE semester on ONE date/time and are all pre-reqs for other classes.

    I support this shake-up in hopes that a new university and SGA administration will emphasize LEARNING above the rest of the BS that we have wasted so much time on. Yes, human rights are important. Yes, everyone should be able to feel safe being who they are. However, we are all here to LEARN so we can GRADUATE so we can GET OUT OF HERE and make something of our lives. I do not care about this extra stuff along the way. Improve my ability to learn, not my fitness. I can work out at home. I come here to learn.

  16. Carey for President! on March 29th, 2017 4:05 am

    Can the adulto please get off the stage?

    That was a fantastic article. Other adultos should definitely read.

  17. Concerned Student on March 29th, 2017 5:20 pm

    Carey, no reason to act like a child. It is possible to disagree with someone without belittling them… It only makes you the invalid one here.

  18. Carey for President! on March 29th, 2017 4:07 am

    Haha, wait did David Moses get in on this conversation? David, Wade does not pay you for legal advice. Step off Moses.

  19. Mr. Jones on March 29th, 2017 1:21 pm

    Is there really transparency when Shepard can give him a raise to $18,000, as that money comes from student funds. A new group of We The Taxpayer should be started now.

  20. Joseph Shephards ACTUAL wages on March 29th, 2017 3:49 pm

    I’m curious…$18,000 is a reasonable wage per hour. Honestly, be weary of skewinf statistics. It is misleading.

    Joseph Shepherd earns a very average hourly wage.

    Break it down:

    $18,000 annually. Divided by approx. hours per week of 40 hours.

    $18,000 / 40 = $8.65

    Hourly: $8.65

    Weekly: $346.15

    Bi-Weekly: $692.31

    Semi-Monthly: $750.00

    Monthly: $1,500

    Quarterly: $4,500

    Annually: $18,000

    The Kansas and Federally regulated Minimum Wage is $7.25/hour.

    Shephard makes $1.40 ABOVE MINIMUM WAGE.

    $8.65 – $7.25 = $1.40

    All that up was ^up ^there ^ was simply Mathematical.


    He really that is a pretty lame and humble raise. Hardly a raise.

    You should look at the administrations raises that the stole from the educators.

    Bardo, Sexton, Jane Link, etc. etc.

    Talk about raises…you have NO IDEA.

  21. Mr. Jones on March 30th, 2017 9:56 am

    Do they really put in forty hours a week? Is there proof for a forty hour work week? You can speculate then I think I can as well. If he gets a salary does that mean everyone involved in the SGA, my answer would be no. So for yourself, let’s hope that shepard doesn’t come to a sudden stop because the removal surgery would most likely be painful.

  22. Real Shocker on March 30th, 2017 7:28 am

    Bardo, Sexton, and Link are nothing. The real money raises are with Schlapp and Tomblin. Throw in Heldman and Vizzini and since Bardo came we are talking multiple hundreds of thousands. Makes sense to focus on the SGA President to deflect from the real problems.

  23. Shocker Til Death on March 30th, 2017 1:21 pm

    “Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.”

    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Good ole RWE had it right and many of the SGA reps including Shepard and Azad should learn this very old lesson. Right now, the SGA cannot be heard because of their actions in meetings, privately, and on campus in general. That resolution was just the last outward sign that they are only interested in making noise like a pack of dogs. One way to stop the howling dogs is to dump water on them. As for We The Students, they are a lost cause. They were lost before they started. Everybody should grab their buckets and lets head to the next SGA meeting.

    Having said that, GREAT Drew Carey reference.

  24. Don Manly on March 31st, 2017 8:24 pm

    Right now students are learning less than they could because of administration actions. Teaching students allows them graduate in 4 years and and not pay as much to help with administration salaries/projects. I think the students are willing (if asked) to pay for building repairs and hiring of more professors. Please note that doesn’t mean the administration would get to hire yet another administrator.

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