Board of Regents discuss campus carry, housing occupancy at September meeting

by SARA MARSHALL//Editor-in-Chief

Campus carry, housing occupancy reports and fall enrollment numbers were among the topics discussed during the September meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, updated the board on the Campus Carry policy at SPC. Campus Carry has yet to go into effect for community and junior colleges in Texas. It is currently being allowed at public, four-year universities throughout the state.

“Ours goes into effect August 1, 2017,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “We will have to work pretty quickly to start putting together a task force.”

Dr. Satterwhite and an executive committee met prior to this month’s meeting to identify potential members of this task force.

“We will be putting this task force together quickly,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “They will develop a policy, and this will be representative of faculty, staff, students, and then bring this policy, which lines up with the law, to me, and then I will bring it to the board to approve.”

Dr. Satterwhite said he hopes to have the task force put together by the Spring 2017 semester.

“Although the law is pretty clear and laid out,” Dr. Satterwhite said, “there is still a lot of emotion that goes into this, and a lot of people who worked on providing input into how South Plains College is going to abide within the law.”

Dr. Satterwhite also addressed a few Levelland campus construction projects that took place during the summer. Two apartments at Smallwood have been made handicap accessible, and an upper walkway at Magee Hall has been repaired.

Cathy Mitchell, the vice president of student affairs, presented the Fall 2016 housing report to the board.

Women’s halls are reportedly at a 100-percent occupancy, with only two open beds in Tubb Hall. Men’s halls are at 91-percent occupancy, with 37 open beds.

“Overall, we are at about 95 percent occupancy at this point,” Mitchell said. “We’re full, and we’re in good shape.”

This is a stark contrast to last fall’s occupancy, with Fall 2015 being at only 87 percent. There were also only 59 no-show students, in comparison to last fall’s 109 no-show students.

Mitchell also discussed the increasing campus enrollment for the Fall 2016 semester.

“As of today, we are at 9,448 students,” Mitchel said. “There will be fluctuation in that number, because students will go to class and instructors will look and go, ‘I don’t have you on my roll,’ and we’ll get them enrolled in that class. Also, students will drop classes during that time.”

Stephen John, vice president for institutional advancement, reported on the 2016 Employee Survey.

The 93.2 percent of participants in this survey believed that students were the highest priority at SPC. Though, the majority of participants also wished for better compensation during their employment.

“I think this shows how right now there’s just a lot of uncertainty just in general about the economy and about different kinds of things that are impacting the lives of our employees,” John said.

John recommended the Board consider ways in which to better reward the employees of SPC.

Dr. Satterwhite went through a calendar of events for the coming month, which included “Pancakes and Politics” with Ken King in the Sundown Room on Sept. 20 at 7:30 am, which will be a pay at the door, a meeting with Jodey Arrington at the Mallet Event Center on Sept. 27, and a presentation with Charles Perry at 9 am on Oct. 11 in the Sundown Room.

“I’m delighted that the Chamber of Commerce is working so hard,” Dr. Satterwhite said. “We’ve been very open and have invited them to the college, because this is a very important year for us, legislatively. We look forward to them being on campus and seeing their support.”

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