2009-2010: The Year-in-Review


On Tuesday, November 17, 2009, the newly appointed 16th President of Colgate University Dr. Jeffrey Herbst made his first public visit to campus to meet with members of the Colgate community.

Herbst, who holds degrees in political science from Princeton and Yale Universities, currently serves as Provost and Executive Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Miami University of Ohio. He will assume his new position at Colgate on July 1, 2010.


In October, Interim President Lyle Roelofs notified the Colgate community that the executive summary of the 2009 Colgate Campus Life Survey (CCLS) Report would be made available. The three-page summary contained a brief overview of the survey’s findings on overall student satisfaction with the Colgate experience, as well as information on satisfaction as correlated with race, gender, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, international residence, political orientation, sorority and fraternity membership, religion, athletic status and class year.

The survey, taken by 1,691 students in February, was authored by Associate Professor of Sociology Carolyn Hsu, Assistant Professor of Psychology Landon D. Reid and Associate Professor of Mathematics Dan Schult.

The CCLS’s results were initially advertised to be released for discussion at a Department of Women’s Studies sponsored Brown Bag on September 22. However, the formal Brown Bag was cancelled after it became clear to organizers that the survey results would not be available in time. After this delay, many questioned the administration’s motives in postponing the summary’s release.

According to Roelofs, the cancellation was simply the result of miscommunication.

Two weeks after the executive summary of the Colgate Campus Life Survey (CCLS) was released, details emerged about the contents of the full report. Several student groups, including Student Lecture Forum and Cushman House, organized panels to discuss the survey. The Maroon-News obtained an unedited August 2009 draft of the report, which included the full analysis of the CCLS as well as free-response comments. This version was not released to the general public. The report highlighted the role of Greek Life as a polarizing force on campus and generated a heated debate in the Maroon-News and on campus.


On Monday, November 16, 2009, the Hamilton Police Department arrested 20-year-old Madison resident Jonathan J. Sanders after investigating three break-ins at Colgate students’ off-campus apartments that occurred over the previous weekend. Sanders was charged with burglary in the second degree at the time.

The arrest came just days after a prominent sexual assault awareness rally on campus. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Campus Safety decided not to notify students of the incidents via the e2Campus Alert System, which allows the University to send messages to the cell phones of students who have registered for the service.

On the day of the arrest, rumors swirling around campus reached a peak. That evening, several mass e-mails were sent out that claimed that another assault had occurred, this time in the woods behind the Townhouses. Word of the alleged assault spread quickly across campus.

In response to these widespread rumors, an e-mail was sent out by Campus Safety at 1:20 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, November 17 that stated that the incident had been investigated in conjunction with the Hamilton Police Department and Madison County Sheriff and no assault had occurred, as confirmed by the student involved, nor was her personal safety endangered. That e-mail came nearly five hours after the alleged incident had occurred.

Just before the winter recess, on December 7, 2009, Director of Campus Safety Bill Ferguson sent a campus-wide e-mail alerting students and faculty that the suspect arrested in connection with the November campus break-ins had been released from Madison County Jail on bail, but in April 2010, Sanders was again arrested and faces new charges pertaining to the assault and break-ins.


On Saturday, October 31, 2009, world leader and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed the Colgate community as a part of the Global Leaders Lecture Series. Prior to his speech in the Sanford Field House, Blair took questions at Watson House on a range of subjects. His small audience included students of the political science course “Liberal Democracy and Its Limits,” the Benton scholars and a handful of Colgate professors.


The Student Government Association (SGA) election polls closed at midnight on Sunday, April 4, 2010 without a decided winner, deviating from the usually smooth election process. Juniors Liz Brodsky and Mike Newberg gained three more student votes than juniors Max Weiss and Chris Moy in the regular election. However, in an unprecedented turn of events, a deduction of votes due to campaign violations changed the results. The Weiss/Moy ticket appeared to have won with 386 votes versus 380 for the Brodsky/Newberg ticket.

The SGA Senate, in an overwhelming 31 to 6 vote, decided to uphold Parliamentarian sophomore Ryan Nelson’s decision to disallow submissions of campaign violations after the ballot closed. As a result, a run-off election between the Brodsky/Newberg ticket and the Weiss/Moy ticket was held on April 16-18. The Brodsky/Newberg ticket won the final poll with 881 votes to 654 for the Weiss/Moy ticket.


In December 2009, members of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE), which existed as an underground fraternity on the Colgate campus, accepted the Colgate administration’s amnesty program, essentially agreeing to cease and desist their activities in return for a disciplinary reprimand. Subsequently, the Maroon-News learned that the Mu chapter of DKE is in negotiations to sell its fraternity house to Colgate, though it remains unknown whether it is also negotiating to sell the chapel located between Phi Delta Theta and DKE as well.

Vice President and Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson sent two e-mails to the Colgate community dated November 25, 2009 and December 16, 2009 regarding underground organization activity. In the former e-mail, Johnson noted the illegality of underground organization activity as outlined in the Colgate Student Handbook, noting that students in these groups are subject to punishments of suspension or expulsion. However, Johnson also wrote that such students would receive amnesty from these punishments if they reported themselves to University Discipline Officer Corey Landstrom by December 9, 2009. Exactly one week after the deadline date, Johnson wrote to the community that many students agreed to this amnesty program, and in return “accepted a disciplinary reprimand, renounced affiliation with an underground organization, and agreed to cease future activities that are in violation of Colgate’s policy on

unrecognized organizations.”