Statesmen get 18-month probation


Story by Chris Reinoos, News Editor

The Singing Statesmen were placed on probation for 18 months and members will be mandated to organize one alcohol awareness seminar for every probationary semester, according to Student Organizations Coordinator Joseph Haferman.

The punishments were handed down Oct. 25 by the Student Organizations Conduct Committee after a hearing process. They came as a result of a Sept. 8 party at the “Statesmen’s house,” which led to 54 underage drinking citations. Haferman said the group was accountable and responsible during the process.

Student Organizations Conduct Committee Director Frank Heaton said the decision was made after much deliberation.

“We felt that more of a prolonged probationary period would have a lot more lasting impact than a short suspension,” Heaton said. “We wanted to do the educational program along with it.”

All four Statesmen officers resigned from their positions after the party. Statesmen Director Gary Schwartzhoff has since appointed four new members to fill the positions for the rest of the academic year.

David Burish was appointed president, while Andy Steffen, Sebastian Armendariz and Peter Kiefer were appointed vice president, secretary and treasurer, respectively. Elections for next year’s officers will take place in May.

Schwartzhoff said 18 months could be a bit long for the group’s probation, but he did not have any problems with the hearing process. Burish also said the prolonged punishment seemed excessive at first, but the group has gotten over any anger and is moving forward.

Heaton said the Statesmen will be given freedom to create and organize the alcohol awareness events, but the group will have to meet certain standards for the events to be cleared.

“If it arises that they’re spending five minutes on it, then we’ll take action as needed,” Heaton said. “But with the way the group has handled it thus far, I don’t think that will be an issue.”

With the fall semester nearly over and the Statesmen’s winter concert this Friday, Burish said the group may try to put together an event for after the concert. Heaton said the committee may give the Statesmen an extension on this semester’s event and allow the group to host two events next semester. Schwartzhoff said the group is currently considering hosting an event before the Viennese Ball next semester.

Both Schwartzhoff and Burish said the group has taken the work that needs to be done to heart. Neither of them believe the actions of a few months ago accurately reflects the nature of the Statesmen.

“Inside the four walls of our rehearsal room, this has been taken very seriously,” Schwartzhoff said. “I’ve been very pointed and direct to the men about the issues and the failings here.”

Burish said all of the members of the Statesmen look forward to rehabilitating their overall image in the coming semesters.

“What it takes to be a Statesmen and the gentlemen that we say we are is to fix the problem,” Burish said. “I think everybody’s on board with wanting to get this completely out of the way and move forward.”