TU establishes Event Review Committee to screen future speakers


Former Ohio senator Nina Turner, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and former Texas agriculture commissioner Jim Hightower stand together at the March 9 political rally hosted by Trinity Progressives and Our Revolution Texas. This was the first major event handled by the interoffice Event Review Committee. The group aims to improve the way events are created and promoted on campus by establishing clearer communication between the offices involved in the planning process. photo by Chloe Sonnier, staff photographer

This semester, the Event Review Committee (ERC), an interoffice working group, was created to prepare for events on campus. The committee most recently worked with Trinity Progressives (T-Prog) to host Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, in collaboration with Our Revolution Texas. The lecture was the first big test for the committee that formed from an earlier incarnation this fall.

According to Shannon Edmond, coordinator for student programs and member of the ERC, the event followed an unconventional planning path.

“Initially, Our Revolution Texas contacted Laurie Auditorium because they heard it was a very nice venue and enough space to hold the people they were expecting to have at the event,” Edmond said. “Policies and procedures state that you can’t hold an event unless you’re sponsored by a department or a student organization.”

Typically, student organizations will fill out an event information form several months in advance. With this event, though, the ERC’s structure helped accommodate the short notice.

“Although I think there is always room for improvement,” Edmond said, “I think overall, based on what would have happened if we didn’t have the committee, it was a huge success.”

The alternative, Edmond said, would be to organize the event via emails between members of the relevant offices: Strategic Marketing and Communications, Student Involvement, TUPD, Risk Management and more.

Tess Coody-Anders, vice president for strategic communications and marketing, described the ERC’s makeup.

“It’s an interdisciplinary committee led by risk management that is used to vet off-campus, non-Trinity-related events, activities, speakers, so that everyone across the campus can be speaking with one voice,” Coody-Anders said.

The group is relatively new, according to Jennifer Adamo, director for risk management and insurance. In an email, she described the committee’s mission.

“The Events Review Committee (ERC) is a byproduct of an ad hoc committee comprised of faculty, staff and student representatives that gathered in the fall, 2017, to review and examine policies related to free speech, protest and event management,” Adamo wrote. “The committee anticipates that all campus events with elevated risk will be funneled through this committee in the future.”

The committee’s role is not to take over events, however. Coody-Anders shared how the goal of the committee is more an advisory and mentorship group for student organizations.

“We don’t see it as our role as a university to appropriate the students’ event,” Coody-Anders said. “But we have limited space on the campus, so where that university committee steps in is to help make sure that we don’t have miscommunication about space and make sure that everyone knows who’s on campus and what’s going on so we can be sure to support the student group or department appropriately.”

Edmond shared praise for the organizers, saying that the committee believes that they are excellent examples for other student organizations attempting to organize an event of this caliber.

“The consensus around the departments and offices who worked with T-Prog were very impressed with their professionalism, not just in working with us but in reaching out to campus partners and at the event where they acted very professionally,” Edmond said. “If student groups are planning a large event, T-Prog is a great contact.”

If groups want to plan an event, they should fill out the event information form and submit it to Shannon Edmond as soon as possible.