From the Desk of the Chancellor
Chancellor Charles R. Bantz View print-quality image
October 5, 2009
- Diane Brown
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Last week, the struggles of one of our students dramatically brought to the fore a new set of challenges for universities like IUPUI that are trying to serve the academic needs of today’s veterans.
Last month, at the periodic “Chat with the Chancellor” event, Russell Silver and Dan Martin, two leaders of the student organization Veterans@IUPUI, talked with me about some of the issues with which we should be concerned.
It was immediately apparent to me that veterans of the current generation are a remarkably close-knit and supportive group who have a deep understanding of what their fellow soldiers face as they come to our campuses to pursue their GI Bill benefits—including the special needs of soldiers with disabilities like traumatic brain injury, a more common battle injury now then in the past.
Their first concern was filling the position of manager of the Office for Veterans and Military Personnel. I am very pleased to report that Ms. (Arrenwa) “Winnie” Mancil has accepted the position and already begun work as of October 1.
Winnie is a 2008 graduate of IUPUI and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from our Purdue School of Science. She also has been an employee of our registrar’s office, most recently as a School Certifying Official for IUPUI’s large student-veteran population. (Indiana is the second most populous state for military personnel in the nation.) SGT Winnie Mancil has served in the United States Army Reserve for nine years and is attached to the 94th training brigade in Indianapolis as a Personnel Administrative Specialist for the Army. Besides various stateside deployments, she spent a year in Afghanistan, where she served under the 25th Infantry Division.
We’ve also made progress on space for the Veterans Affairs office. The design is complete and the project is out for bids. Construction will begin in mid-December and is scheduled to be finished by mid-March.
Student veterans also have experienced delays in receiving GI Bill education benefits because of administrative delays at the Veterans Administration. IUPUI has tried to be helpful by waiving late fees. We are hopeful progress is being made from the news just last Monday that the Department of Veterans Affairs as of October 2 will issue emergency checks to eligible veterans. Our students should contact the Indianapolis VA Regional Office.
In response to a suggestion by the student veterans, the campus will celebrate the large number of returning vets who have chosen IUPUI for their college education by ramping up our Veterans Day activities. The Division of Student Life is working with the Veterans@IUPUI group, ROTC, University College, Communications and Marketing, the Office for Veteran and Military Personnel, and Campus & Community Life on plans. Watch JAGNEWS and Inside IUPUI for events details. Questions and ideas may be shared with committee chair Frank Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.