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The Appalachian

The Student News Site of Appalachian State University

The Appalachian

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The Appalachian

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EDITORIAL: Take accountability, Sheri

EDITORIAL%3A+Take+accountability%2C+Sheri

“At Appalachian, we put students first, always,” reads Chancellor Sheri Everts’ vision page on her website. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. 

Over the past month, Everts and upper App State administration have made or been involved with numerous changes that impact the student body. These changes include renovations of the free expression tunnels, unsafe working conditions for students in Wey Hall and the name change of Pride Week to Spring Fest.

The student body has repeatedly voiced their concerns and frustrations with the university in the forms of protests, petitions, emergency meetings, emails calling for a public apology and more.

As all of this occurs, App State’s upper administration has seemingly made minimal acknowledgments for these concerns until Tuesday, when Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs J.J. Brown released a statement acknowledging some of the things happening on campus and offering resources. Additionally, on March 28, Brown announced a Free Expression Space Working Group that will be established on campus to help come up with alternative methods for free expression on campus, a response to the frustration and dissent within the student body.

However, The Appalachian Editorial Board is calling on the upper university administration, specifically Everts, to do more. Accountability must be taken for decisions made and for the lack of communication from the chancellor herself. The Appalachian Editorial Board upholds that Everts is not following through with the visions and priorities she set for the university. This is evident through recent decisions on campus.

 

“Chancellor Everts has stated the vision for the university is defined by the Appalachian Community. She sees it as her responsibility to facilitate this vision and help the community move forward. This practice of transparency and inclusion is critical to our success as an institution, and will continue.” — Chancellor Sheri Everts’ vision for Appalachian State University.

In her most recent email update sent out Friday to students, faculty and staff, the chancellor, once again, did not acknowledge the happenings on campus regarding the issues that matter most to students. From North Carolina news outlets to Teen Vogue, it seems that everyone but Everts is seeing the current state of App State. The question now lies: where is Sheri Everts, and why isn’t she speaking up? 

The claims of transparency and inclusion made are absurd, especially during a time when neither are supported by the chancellor herself. Even if these decisions are made beyond Everts, transparency is owed to the university population. 

 

“Chancellor Everts continues to find opportunities to hear the needs of faculty, staff and students, and develop ways to facilitate support for the critical work of our institution of higher learning.” — Chancellor Sheri Everts’ vision for Appalachian State University.

Everts continues to neglect the needs of the students, faculty and staff. If she listened to and supported the campus community, there would not be weekly protests occurring.

This does not only apply to Everts.

Some administration members such as Jeff Cathey, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and an App State free speech responsible officer, have been seen at recent protests — but where is everyone else? Where is Sheri Everts? Why does it seem that our chancellor and upper administration are only seen on campus for photo opportunities?

How many more emails will students, faculty and staff receive saying things along the lines of “concerns are being heard” before there are actions being taken that reflect the community’s wishes?

 

“Improving wellness, health and safety for the campus community.” — Everts’ priorities for moving forward as a campus community.

The Appalachian Editorial Board disputes the statement’s claim that the wellness of the community is one of Everts’ priorities. 

If student wellness, health and safety were put first, art students in Wey Hall would not be working in a construction zone, would not be relocated into unfit spaces like East Hall and would not be fighting for compensation. If student wellness was a priority, LGBTQ+ students would not feel an increasingly hostile environment as they feel their identities are erased at the university.

Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Communications Officer Megan Hayes wrote in an email statement regarding Wey Hall that, “App State supports and upholds the First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly. University leaders have provided several opportunities for students to express their concerns with regard to Wey Hall, and their concerns are being heard.”

Some of these opportunities include the construction project manager being on site at Wey Hall to answer questions. Another opportunity was a Facebook live of the Dean of College and Fine Applied Arts Shannon Campbell addressing the Wey Hall situation, which happened on a Wednesday afternoon on a platform many students may not use. Most updates and answers to questions regarding Wey Hall come through messages from Campbell and the ​​App State’s Future website

Instead of Campbell, Everts should be the one addressing the Wey Hall situation involving her students and providing solutions and resources for those impacted. Instead of the Henderson Springs LGBTQ+ Center staff taking the criticism for Spring Fest, Everts and upper administration should be the ones ready to have conversations with concerned students. Instead of scapegoating her faculty and staff who do not hold responsibility for these decisions, Everts herself should be the one to take accountability.

Recent decisions have negatively impacted the campus community, yet Everts and upper administration continue to stand idly by. It is disappointing and discouraging to see disregard for student perspectives, feedback and criticism throughout Everts’ leadership.

Everts, it is time to speak up.

If the chancellor of the very school students or their families are paying for won’t listen to them, we will.

As per the SPJ Code of Ethics, we at The Appalachian 1) seek truth and report it, 2) minimize harm, 3) act independently and 4) act accountable and transparent. We strive to hold those in power accountable and to give a voice to the voiceless. 

If you wish to share your experiences, please consider reaching out to us. Submit a letter to the editor, submit a story idea or contact us through our website. Our doors are open. Our newsroom is room 235 of Plemmons Student Union. Student journalists are the eyes and ears of the campus and we at The Appalachian are here for you.

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  • F

    F. GrayApr 11, 2024 at 4:41 pm

    As a AppState ’02 alumni, I was dismayed to see the change in policy regarding the tunnels and was really disappointed to hear that Pride Week has been changed to Spring Fest. I applaud you for speaking up and for encouraging other students to do so as well. These changes would have sparked outrage among me and my classmates 25 years ago.

    Reply
  • R

    Robyn FletcherApr 11, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    Everts has ruined AppState. It used to be a highly regarded, selective university, but now it’s a glorified community college. She has run off all of the good faculty and accepted a ton of bad students. The entire place is in a sad place considering where it was before she arrived. RIP Ken Peacock.

    Reply
  • T

    Toby DealApr 9, 2024 at 10:57 am

    Lbgq has gone way overboard to insert their presense in most universities with mainly negative results. Most alumni like myself are tired of this. We are fine to allow their free speech, but NOT to have special days or events to give them recognition.

    Reply
    • M

      MuChaoApr 11, 2024 at 1:17 pm

      It’s folks like you and your hateful, antiquated beliefs that put a stain on our university. Please do our community a favor and refrain from mentioning ever again that you went to school here, you’re the last kind of person we want representing the university. To have the utter gall to think that you speak for “most” alumni. You personally know hundreds of thousands of alumni and their beliefs? Is that what you’re saying?

      Just because you went to school here decades ago and you like to think that that somehow gives you some kind of clout, or makes your opinion count for more, it doesn’t. You gotta get over yourself, buddy. No one cares.

      While you’re certainly free to express your smooth-brained platitudes, we’re just as free to tell you to bugger off and mind your own business. Students/faculty/staff should be able to celebrate pride week and express themselves freely and openly without fear of being harassed by old boomer creeps like yourself. And if we’re gonna play the alumni card, then as an alumnus myself, they sure as heck have my unwavering support to hold as many “special days and events to give them recognition” as they want. In fact, I say the more the merrier!

      If you don’t like it, then please, do us all a huge favor and stay far, far away. Your hate is not welcome here.

      Reply
  • K

    KyleApr 9, 2024 at 10:50 am

    I as an alumni have been concerned with the chancellor since she was hired. I have seen an alarming rate of outsiders brought in from other parts of the country when there are many qualified individuals working at the college that could and should be promoted. And the question is where is Ms. Everts? the majority of her cohorts? And even more importantly where is the Board of Trustees? Most of these individuals are alumni….do they not see what is going on or they drinking the Kool Aide that Ms Everts has been serving them since they hired her?
    I am outraged that she bypassed the town of Boone and Watagua County in the talks for a university 911 system. I understand student safety….but at the same time you let students have instructional time in Wey Hall that is being renovated….how hypocritical!!!
    Ms. Everts….do us favor …retire or leave….and take your cohorts with you! Appalachian State is very special place and you are not helping but hurting the university….faculty, staff, students and alumni.

    Reply