ASG OKs Krampus funds

The Allegheny Student Government held its shortest General Assembly of the year Tuesday, Dec. 6, clocking in at just 23 minutes gavel-to-gavel — though the short length did not make the meeting any less significant.
During the report of ASG Director of Finance Adriana Solis, ’23, the Senate approved $829 in club spending for the week. Among these was the first financial request for the newly re-approved satirical newspaper The Krampus, which Solis said was for the group to purchase a web domain.
“I’m probably going to spend most of my winter break building that up and thinking of stories,” Aidan McGrory, ’26, who is organizing The Krampus, said on Thursday. “So I think probably the second week of next year — like late January — is when our first story will be published.
This financial approval comes after some confusion with how The Krampus will ensure it does not repeat something similar to the 2019 publication of an article poking fun at Meadville residents. The story led to The Krampus being stripped of ASG recognition and losing both its funding and its adviser.
McGrory’s solution was to run all stories through the group’s new faculty adviser.
At the club’s first round of voting at the Nov. 15 meeting, ASG Director of Community Relations William Lowthert, ’24, asked McGrory who the club’s faculty adviser would be. When McGrory replied that the club would be advised by Professor of Communication Arts Michael Keeley, Lowthert then asked the Senate for “general opinions” of Keeley.
“If he’s the one who’s going to make sure there’s no offensive stories, I would want — the moral standards of that professor I would want to be decently high,” Lowthert said.
No senator publicly voiced any concern with Keeley’s status as an adviser in the Nov. 15 meeting, or has since. However, during the second round of voting at the Nov. 29 GA, McGrory said that he had met with Lowthert about Keeley
“Last Monday, I talked to Will, and we had quite a good meeting,” McGrory told the Senate on Nov. 29. “The point was brought up about the possible faculty member that I chose. I do want it to be known that we are currently looking — that we are looking for either a second faculty member, or just a new one in general, because we really, we really are taking this seriously.”
Lowthert told The Campus he had just relayed concerns to McGrory from ASG Co-Director of Student Affairs Cam Lesher, ’24. In an interview on Dec. 1, Lesher said he heard concerns from students about some materials in one of Keeley’s classes but that ASG was not making any allegations against Keeley.
“There is no official position on any instances that may have happened,” Lesher said. “The position that I am saying, that I’m holding, is that a single faculty member does not need to have the power to decide whether something can go within The Krampus because it can go badly if there aren’t some kinds of checks and balances on that.
“It was much more about making sure that there are multiple people in this process instead of taking one person out of the process,” he added.
However, in an interview following the Dec. 6 GA, ASG President Veronica Green, ’23, provided a different definition of the concerns.
“I wasn’t made aware that there was anything that came up within classroom conduct,” Green said. “I believe the reason that he was brought up as a concern for an adviser is because, if I remember correctly, he was the adviser the last time the Krampus was disbanded. That’s what I inferred was the reason as to why they were calling into question the adviser, but I have not heard anything about his classroom conduct or anything like that.”
Keeley said that he has no prior history with the club.
“I’ve never been the adviser of The Krampus before,” Keeley told The Campus this week. “I wasn’t connected to it when it got disbanded the last time.”
And in 2017 — two years before the group was shut down — the Allegheny College website listed Professor Emeritus Glenn Holland as The Krampus’s adviser, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
McGrory said on Thursday that The Krampus was “taking the concerns seriously.”“It’s not like ASG (said) ‘no, you can’t have this faculty member,’” McGrory said. “They just said, ‘be careful,’ I guess you could say.”
He said the club is still discussing whether or not Keeley will be their adviser.
“We also may have a second faculty member in line or, we may just not have (Keeley) be part of it, if he feels like he can’t do it,” McGrory said.
For his part, Keeley said he is open to working with The Krampus.
“I’m still willing to help Aidan get the project off the ground,” Keeley said.
Interim Dean of Students Trae Yeckley said that none of these concerns had been brought to the Dean of Students office.
“There’s been no complaints about Professor Keeley,” Yeckley said in an interview this week. “I was not at ASG the night that that was brought up, but when I was informed of the conversation that was going on, personally, I was surprised. I know Professor Keeley and — I can’t say if there has been any on the academic side — but I have not had students come talk to me in this role with complaints about Professor Keeley.”
Yeckley also said that club advisers are not typically brought up in public meetings.
“From my experience — and I have to go back and check the by-laws — we don’t generally ask who the adviser is, at least in General Assembly,” Yeckley said. “I’m curious as to why that was the exception.”
It is unclear exactly what role, if any, ASG plays in selecting club advisers. The ASG Constitution and By-Laws make no mention of ASG having any power over a club’s structure beyond the description of the Rules Committee, which gives the committee power to “introduce constitutional drafts of potential new clubs on campus and ASG Resolutions to be approved by a simple majority of the Senate over two consecutive weeks.”
This line seems to suggest that when ASG is approving a new club, the body is voting to approve that club’s constitution, which would then define its structure.
According to the copy of The Krampus’s constitution linked in the minutes of the Nov. 29 GA, the only individual required to review content is the Head Editor, who “gives final approval to articles before they are published.”
While McGrory said he wants the club’s faculty adviser to approve every story published by the organization, The Krampus’ current constitution contains no such language and does not even mention The Krampus’s adviser. If the Senate was voting solely to approve The Krampus’ constitution, that constitution does not include Keeley or the adviser’s role in general.
“I did talk to people on ASG and I do not need to go back and change what was written,” McGrory said. “It’s just going to be one of those unwritten rules moving forward.”
McGrory said he will be meeting with Keeley next week to discuss the club’s plans.