Photos show underage drinking at SGA party

An e-mail with photographs of underage students drinking was circulated Saturday, April 26. In some of the photos were members of next year’s Executive Board and Senate of the Saint Louis University Student Government Association.

Containing 10 photos, the e-mail was sent to Office of Student Conduct Director Sarah Klucker, Chartered Student Organization Coordinator David Young, Dean of Students Scott Smith, Ph.D., and The University News. Young said that he does not have a comment on the e-mail, and Klucker and Smith were unavailable for comment. The University News was unable to confirm the sender’s identity by press time.

The photos were taken at a Voice for Progress celebration party Friday, April 25, in Executive Vice President-elect Alex Joyce’s Coronado apartment. The Executive Board-elect hosted the party, and partygoers were instructed to wear the ticket’s color, red. The alcohol was purchased, in part, using remaining funds from the ticket’s campaign.

Campaign money comes from the checking accounts of participants; each executive board candidate puts forward $270, and senators put forward $15 to $20. There is a $1,500 cap on campaigns.

“The big misconception that’s been going on is that SGA funded this party,” Joyce said. “SGA didn’t fund the party. It was personal money from our personal checking accounts.”

The total money spent on the party was $500, $200 of which was Joyce’s own money, he said, plus an unused $300 left over from the campaign.

The executive board-elect offered to return the senators’ money after the election, Joyce said.

“What happened was, we decided to make it a vote of all the senators [who were running on the Voice for Progress ticket] and ourselves to see if we wanted to have a victory party or do something else, like put it toward Relay for Life,” he said.

Though she helped plan the party, along with the rest of the Executive Board-elect, Academic Vice President-elect Samantha Morr said she was at the party for 15 minutes, at most, before leaving.

“I’m an R.A., and so I got there and people that I knew were underage drinking,” Morr said.

Financial Vice President-elect Jonathan Purdue did not attend at all, Joyce said.

The e-mail containing the photos read: “It has come to my great distress that this is what ‘Voice of Progress’ stand for blatant use of alcohol use. I am not sure but I do not think this is the impression they should be setting for the school, especially as leaders. Within these pictures are members of the E-Board for SGA. In addition, the Senate leaders, I am not sure I would want them representing our school.”

“It doesn’t matter really who [sent the e-mail],” Morr said.

“What we did is wrong. We shouldn’t have done it.”

When a Greek organization or CSO breaks SLU’s Code of Conduct, the Office of Student Conduct and the groups themselves handle disciplinary action, and the organization may be sanctioned. SGA President Emeritus Andrew Clifton said he could not think of a time in which SGA was sanctioned.

“I will not let anything happen to the Student Government Association,” Clifton said during the SGA meeting in DuBourg Hall’s Pere Marquette Gallery Wednesday, April 30. “We’re not equipped to handle a witch hunt [to determine] who was there . It is in everyone’s interest of the school to be as strong as we possibly can.”

Both Clifton and President-elect Samantha Howard gave statements on behalf of themselves and their respective executive boards.

“I did not think two steps ahead of the game, like an SGA president needs to,” Howard said. “[We were] not thinking the way SLU students should.”

Senior Business School Sen. Sean Flanagan introduced a resolution to censure the executive board-elect.

The resolution proposed that the members of the Executive Board-elect who were present at the party discuss responsibility and personal conduct at future SGA retreats; work “toward responsible alcohol use on campus” in cooperation with the Office of Student Health; do community service with a local organization such as [National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse]; and “further commit themselves to maintaining a high level of personal conduct as student leaders.”

Prior to the meeting, Howard said she did not have a problem with the photos, but that she “should’ve used better judgment.”

Administrative Vice President-elect Michael Harriss said he and the rest of the Executive Board-elect “take [the e-mail] as it was a concerned student, and we’ll take their concern about it.”

Clifton agreed, saying that he doesn’t believe the student who sent the e-mail has a “vendetta” against the Executive Board-elect, but that “she is just a concerned student.”

Howard said, “I would like to talk to that person to be, like, ‘Hey, I’m sorry that you feel misrepresented.'”

People normally tend to have victory parties after campaigns, Joyce said.

“Last year, all the 21-year-olds went out and celebrated at Laclede’s [Bar] for it,” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to handle the situation, take the sanctions I deserve and just move forward.”