BY CHANNON FULTON
All four members of the Student Activities and Community Services staff from last academic year are gone, including former director Lee Cotton, terminated at the end of spring semester 2007.
The school replaced Cotton, who left after one year on the job, with Joseph Anthony Mollo Jr. Mollo, whose salary is $54,000, was hired June 25 at almost $9000 more than Cotton, who earned $45,390 last year.
Mollo has an extensive background in student services at small public universities and some years at small private universities.
Hilda Rodriguez, the office manger and financial technician, Christina Eggenberger, student organization manager, and Steven Thomas, the assistant director of student activities, are also new this year.
Cedric Rucker, dean of student life and supervisor of the OSACS office, declined to comment on the causes of the multiple terminations.
Mollo said he knew nothing about Cotton, the former OSACS director, but did acknowledge that the office had a rocky past and “credibility issues” last year.
“OSACS is going to be much different this year and there will be many improvements,” Mollo said.
Mollo said he is excited about his new job, staff, and the new direction for OSACS. “This is a truly dynamic operation,” he said. “We have a brand new staff who are dedicated, high energy, and have different backgrounds. We create a very proud climate.”
Mollo said the overall plan for the new year is simple: “Move away from the way we have always done it and step it up to the way other campuses are.”
According to Mollo, the school has allocated $100,000 more to student activities this year, a jump from $415,000 in the 06-07 school year to $515,000 for 07-08. $315,000 is allocated for club related activities, such as Spirit Week, and $200,000 for school sponsored functions.
Among the new functions sponsored by Student Activities will be an expanded Late Night, a weekend entertainment program. Mollo said Late Night will be three times larger than in previous years, with various rooms in Great Hall harboring a variety of activities. Mollo wants to give it a “cruise ship mentality” by not confining the Late Night experience to just one room.
The school also plans weekly karaoke nights, a return of its formerly notorious Halloween party, and a dance marathon, which will include sponsorship from a local radio station.
Kiama Anthony, the president of the Black Student Association, said she is happy with what she’s seen of the new student activities office.
“I think the changes were for the good,” she said. “I’m pleased with them so far. [They are] more clearly focused and more willing to meet organizations half way.”