As the semester begins, university Veterans Services faces the same situation they faced one year ago — no coordinator and a possible Illinois Department of Veterans Associations grant application denial.
Heidi Belec, a senior studying cinema and photography and Veterans Service treasure, said the Veterans Services department is concerned that the coordinator position comeswithtoomanyresponsibilities,andthe administration should consider hiring both a coordinator and a certifying official.
Veterans Service coordinator turnover cost the organization a grant worth more than $100,000 in past years, Belec said.
Many opportunities that members planned to pursue this semester have been rejected along with the possible grant loss, Belec said.
“Once these companies found out we didn’t have a coordinator, they decided not to work with us because we have no one officially in charge,” she said.
Ryan McKennedy, a senior from Rockford studying psychology and vice president of the Veterans Organization, said the high turnover rate is because of the position’s high responsibility level.
“Clearly there needs to be something
changed with this process because we haven’t had a consistent coordinator in years,” he said. Rod Santulan, the former IDVA coordinator whose tenure began July 2012, resigned early December, McKennedy said. The previous coordinator resigned in January 2012, and a certifying specialist was in charge for six
months before Santulan was hired, he said. The IDVA grant assists veterans and immediate family members through health insurance cost aid, long-term care, post- traumatic stress disorder research or treatment, disability benefits and housing assistance,
according to the organization’s website. In November, Santulan said he was working hard to get students the grant come spring. Peter Gitau, the associate vice chancellor of intercultural relations, told the veterans during a Dec. 6 meeting that he would continue to work to get the grant back
to them. The coordinator position received several
applications as of January, McKennedy said. However, he said the Veterans have not heard much else regarding it’s status.
Gitau was not available for comment by press time.