Students, alums petition CCOM

This story is part of a series evaluating the internship coordinator position in the College of Communication.

Part One | Internships in the spotlight—CCOM position cut

Part Two | Students, Alum Petition CCOM

Part Three | Internship Coordinator’s Contract to Expire

Part Four | Coordinator Seeks Legal Counsel

Butler University students, alumni and professionals started a petition this weekend to protest the College of Communication’s decision not to fund the internship coordinator position this fall.

This position currently is held by Ed Kanis.

The petition, started by the Change.org user “CCOM students,” has garnered nearly 300 signatures since its creation on Sunday.

The petition is to “help restore the previous and correct priorities of providing the students with the career services they require to succeed.”

Jaclyn Bevis, a 2010 CCOM graduate, said that the internship program through the college put her in the position she is today.

“The defunding of it takes so much away from the College of Communication,” Bevis wrote. “Reinstate this position or become just another mediocre communication college.”

Sonia Todd, a mother of a Butler student, signed the petition to express anger about the decision.

“The system works, why fix what is not broken?” Todd wrote. “My daughter’s adviser doesn’t even know her, but through the internship program, she has received updates on what summer positions are available near our town.”

On Sunday evening, a group of about 10 to 15 students and alumni gathered to come up with a “game plan to address the administration.”

Post-it notes covered Kanis’s door by the end of the night.

“Thanks for the help!” one note read.

“I got the job,” another said.

Public relations and communications major Katy Myers wrote the code for the group’s website, internshipsmatter.wordpress.com and has helped organize the group’s efforts.

“It’s important that the administration realizes that we’re not going to let this go,” Myers said.

The group has other efforts planned for the rest of the semester, Myers said, though she couldn’t divulge what those efforts would entail.

“Nothing illegal,” she said.

Senior public relations major Emily Elliott has also been involved in the protest of the decision.

“I don’t think this decision will go over well,” Elliott said last week. “I think to say that people will not be okay with this is an understatement.”

Last Wednesday, students spoke out on Twitter against the decision.

Brandon Russell, a 2010 graduate, tweeted to his classmates about the decision and called for an action.

“What Butler is doing to CCOM’s internship program is a disgrace,” Russell tweeted. “Sorely disappointed.”

Lissa Phillips, the communications coordinator at Barnes and Thornburg LLP and a Butler graduate, also joined in the conversation.

“Unbelievable,” Phillips tweeted. “I am appalled at the direction Butler CCOM is going. Experience is essential in our line of work.”

On Thursday, President Jim Danko tweeted that he would meet with alumni to talk about the decision.

“Glad to meet next week,” Danko wrote. “Just back today from alum travels. Want time to investigate.”

Postings on Twitter, the petition, the website and in letters said that alumni and students both worry about what this could mean for the university.

“This incident is the straw that broke the camel’s back in my mind when it comes to CCOM,” Butler graduate Jonathan Spear wrote. “As much as I want to look back at my experience at Butler with pride, I am unable to. CCOM has put a large and permanent stain on my memory and I will never be able to look at the University the same again.”

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