Uproar from ‘Dub the Pub’ competition continues

Marcel Mayo

The Student Government Association’s “Dub the Pub” competition officially ended Tuesday.

SGA President Jay Todd Richey said “Topper Tavern and Grill” will be the official name of the pub. President Gary Ransdell added “and Grill” to the original name “Topper Tavern.”

“[Ransdell] wanted to make sure that it is not over, in your face alcohol related,” Richey said.

“Topper Tavern” received 480 votes out of 2,132 votes submitted.

Amid controversy, the submitted name “Spirit Masters” for the pub was eliminated from the competition. The name was admitted multiple times during the competition, Richey said. It was first admitted by Richey as a test run for the survey, but he did so anonymously.

SGA Chief Justice Kelsey Luttrell admitted the name second.

If “Spirit Masters” had not been eliminated as a choice and had won the competition, Luttrell would have received credit for it.

However, Luttrell said the idea wasn’t hers originally.

“I submitted ‘Spirit Masters’ as a suggestion to the poll,” Luttrell said. “However, I saw it on Facebook and just wanted the name submitted in the contest. I take no credit for the original idea.”

“Spirit Masters” was in second place at the time SGA eliminated the name from the competition.

Richey, along with the SGA Executive Cabinet, made the decision to eliminate “Spirit Masters” from the “Dub the Pub” competition to avoid defaming WKU’s student ambassador group of the same name.

Richey said the cabinet has the authority to put names on and take names off of the ballot.

Richey said legal issues could have surfaced if “Spirit Masters” had been chosen.

Chase Coffey, Leitchfield junior, said he disagreed with the way Richey and the Executive Cabinet handled the situation. Coffey said he and other SGA senators feel their votes did not matter.

“I was planning on speaking as an SGA member, but Jay Todd [Richey] closed the issue without letting anyone voice their concerns or opinions on it,” Coffey said.

Richey said the name “Spirit Masters” was degrading towards the university as a whole because WKU’s history related to that phrase in “The Spirit Makes the Master.” The name was not appropriate for a pub, he said.

However, Coffey said other names included on the top 12 remaining list could also be offensive to the university.

“They left a name on the ballot that was a clear reference to oral sex — ‘Topped Off,’” Coffey said.

Coffey said Richey didn’t allow other senators to speak on the matter about the competition.

After the name was removed, students who had voted previously for “Spirit Masters” were not able to vote for a different name.

“To my knowledge, they never fixed that to where you can vote again,” Coffey said.

Coffey said he wanted to voice his concerns during Tuesday’s meeting but wasn’t given the opportunity.

“Jay Todd [Richey] had known I planned on speaking on the matter from last Wednesday, and I did not get the opportunity to at the meeting,” Coffey said. “I feel like that is clear disenfranchisement of the student voice … Every student on campus has the right to go and voice their opinion as a member — not just as a student but as an SGA member.”

Coffey said he isn’t happy with Richey’s decisions as SGA’s president.

“This is like the second scandal under Jay Todd’s presidency,” Coffey said, “Postergate being the first one [and] ‘Dub the Pub’ being the second, and we’re not even halfway through his term yet.”

The controversy continued on Twitter.

“Thank you for making this a much larger issue and railroading the SGA as a whole by closing the matter without the chance to speak,” Coffey tweeted.

Richey said Coffey was angered by the name removal, and the two exchanged text messages regarding the situation.

“Mr. Coffey was very angered that ‘Spirit Masters’ was removed by the Executive Cabinet,” Richey said. “We invited him to the meeting so he could speak on the issue. I gave my speech about this, and he immediately left. He did not stay for student speakers and therefore did not let the senators or anyone in SGA hear his voice.”

Due to the controversy, Richey said SGA might not be willing to participate in another competition similar to “Dub the Pub” in the future.

“This was supposed to be fun,” Richey said. “It was not suppose to be controversial. We had many students say they wish ‘Spirit Masters’ was still on the ballot, but they understand why it was removed.”

Richey said naming the new pub was a privilege for students and not a right.

“Most of the time, buildings and restaurants are named behind closed doors,” Richey said.

Richey invited Coffey to meet with him personally via Twitter and reached out to Coffey after their exchange on Twitter, Richey said.

“Because he’s continued to demean SGA and myself on Twitter, we have sent him an email saying I would love to have a meeting with him,” Richey said. “I really wish he would be this passionate about issues that pertain to college students.”

Richey said he doesn’t approve of this type of behavior.

“I do not want the organization of which I’m the president to be demeaned anymore,” Richey said.

Spirit Masters Chairman Taylor Bowling was grateful that SGA did not continue with “Spirit Masters” as an option, Richey said.

SGA passed two bills during Tuesday’s meeting.

Bill 8-15-F, Bill to Assist the Physics Department, and Bill 9-15-F, Bill to Assist the Art Department, were both passed unanimously.

Bill 8-15-F allocated $1,500 to the physics department to fund the purchase of optic crystals and necessary related items. Bill 9-15-F allocated up to $759 to the department of art to fund a 3-D scanner and accessories.

During Richey’s report, he said Student Body Association President Samantha Johnson of Glasgow campus told Richey the two-year nursing program at Glasgow campus will be cut from its curricula.

Furthermore, full-time security has not been present on the extended campus; part-time officers are present three times a week, Richey said.