Students in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Club were upset with Haskell Indian Nations Univeristy (HINU) Administration. This club’s focus is “to prepare Haskell students to participate and or compete in American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s Annual Student Conference”. The club’s plan of operations includes eligibility and requirements for attending AIHEC. Years prior, According to AIHEC Club, sponsors selected active club members to take to AIHEC conferences; the club perceived that this year Haskell’s administration was removing the club’s ability to self elect participants and was making student selections outside of the club regardless of active club participation.
AIHEC Club members were disappointed. Many members who have been active participants and involved in previous semesters and leadership of the club were concerned they would be excluded from the list of approved students.
The AIHEC Club reached out to Jim Rains, PhD., expressing their concerns in a letter. The main points in the letter were that the club disagreed with excluding students based on academic probation that didn’t factor in their cumulative grade point average, that active AIHEC members were not prioritized, and that AIHEC Club’s coaches were limited in the decision making. The AIHEC Club also felt that the unspoken attitude spurring these changes stemmed from an expectation for HINU to bring back trophies.
An email From HINU was sent out to approved prospective conference attendants, and the recipient list echoed the concerns of the club — it excluded many active members and included students who were not part of the campus organization.
Concerns from students necessitated further meetings with administration. According to AIHEC club, the results of the talks created explicit outlines for student selection. Students would be required to have a 2.0 cumulative GPA as well as good social standing; considerations would be made for active AIHEC Club members and students at sophomore status or above.
When pressed with questions, the administration emailed that all misunderstandings were taken care of at the meeting which allowed for previously excluded AIHEC Club members to be considered for the final student selection according to the club.
Daniel Wildcat, PhD., acting President, wrote “…we are attempting to make sure we have the broadest student and university participation possible in as many competitions as possible. I have full confidence that the process and determination of student participation will be fair. We should expect nothing less. We do appreciate the AIHEC student club participation and are thankful for their enthusiasm”.
What was not answered were questions regarding the legitimacy of the Student Government Association approving the sanctioning packet that included AIHEC’s policies that alluded to authority to organize and oversee Haskell student participation at the AIHEC Student Conferences. This raises the question of whether the student government has the authority to delegate to a student organization to oversee student interests when funding is provided by the administration who is wanting the most bang for its buck.
AIHEC conference was canceled due to COVID-19 response efforts.
*Updates to the article after publication are shown in red. These changes have been made to improve clarity and accuracy of reported information.