Tag Archives: SGA meetings

Questions Without Proper Answers

SGA Holds Open Forum on Book Burning Incident

Jason Chapman, Staff Writer

“You’re going to hear university administration say they were bound to certain policies and laws that prevent them from taking action among students that burned a Cuban-American woman’s literature for calling students privileged for being white, part of the irony that after these students were called privileged they did probably the most privileged thing they could do, they burned books, the fact that our top officials not taking further action does not mean that we as students can not either,” said SGA Executive Vice President Spencer DeMink in his opening statement, at the open forum to discuss the book burning that took place on the Statesboro campus on Oct. 9. The forum was held on Oct. 14.

The students that took part in the burning of Jennine Capó Crucet’s novel “Make Your Home Among Strangers” on a grill in Statesboro last week are not being sought out or reprimanded because they are protected by their first amendment rights according to administration.

University President Dr. Kyle Marrero said, “Here we are we’re dialoguing about something that happened last week that we have to press into… This is a campus of which we have to unite together and understand what we will tolerate what we will allow to happen on our campus’ and then how we will uphold First Amendment rights. These aren’t easy. These aren’t easy conversations.”

Marrero went on to name the many First Year Experience (FYE) classes that deal with diversity. He then went through the events that lead up to the book burning. Marrero mentioned, “Students were strongly encouraged but not required to attend her presentation.” However, by multiple accounts, students were told to attend. 

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SGA president Juwan Smith speaking at the forum. Photo by Jason Chapman.

Marrero then went on to clarify that there were never crowds gathering outside of the Crucet’s hotel. 

Marrero said, “I am not able to respond as quickly as you would like me to respond. I don’t respond at the speed of social media.” 

The event was investigated by campus authorities and a statement was released. Marrero said, “It wasn’t until we had via investigation enough information for me to respond to campus. The approval for that statement was expedited via the legal and system process and sent to campus Friday afternoon.”

 The event occurred on Wednesday night. 

Marrero went on, “Some of you would like to see more formal action taken on the students in the video and I can empathize–I can sympathize with your frustration and even your anger. My job. My job is to protect the rights of all students.”

Students were then given a chance to ask questions. The first question was, “From your perspective how can I, a white person, address somebody else’s white privilege when they don’t address it existing?”

Marrero replied with his experience of being born in Puerto Rico and growing up in New Mexico. He then goes onto to tell us of his realization that he understands what privilege is and “that it’s real.”

Marrero said, “This is a real subject area of which we all need to understand and understand those perspectives together.”

Another student brought up the fact that these issues of racism are systemic issues, and talks about how the people teaching these classes aren’t qualified because of budget cuts. She said, “If these hard conversations were had in class then it wouldn’t have been such a huge deal at the event… What I do believe is that the university is trying to put a bandaid over a bullet hole… Are these professors–are these advisors going to be taught how to have these hard conversations?”

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The students in attendance at the open forum. Photo by Jason Chapman.

Marrero stepped away from the microphone and lets the VP of Academic Affairs Dr. Carl Reiber answer this question.

Reiber went on to urge students to look at the syllabus, and said that Armstrong’s FYE classes have been predominantly taught by advisors.

Chief of Staff Brian Kohler then said, “Two years ago the advisors weren’t teaching first year seminar on this campus and also for the past three years the SGA, since before consolidation, has been trying to push for mandated diversity training for professors, advisors.” 

There was no reply to Kohler’s statement. 

The next question was written anonymously, “Why must minorities and persons of color rise above the blatant hate that people of caucasian descent show?”

Marrero replied, “Why must? What’s the alternative? The alternative is we cease to exist in an environment of which we can collaborate together that we can learn more from each other. Does it ask more of those in minority to step up and have to engage? Oh absolutely.”

The next question was, “On the Armstrong campus we have to fill out an open flames request. Based on your facts that you presented in your speech earlier you said that the students burned a grill on the Georgia Southern campus in the student complex. Do they have to fill out an open flames request form?”

Marrero referred the question to Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Melanie Miller.

Miller said, “Outside of the complexes there are grills that are built into the ground that are permanently there and this was one of those grills. I don’t think you have to get permission to.”

The student replied with, “Are those grills Georgia Southern property?”

Miller said, “I assume they are. Yes.” 

The student then goes on, “Well then why don’t they have to fill out a form? If the grill that we use here on Armstrong’s campus is Georgia Southern property and the grill that they use at their student complexes are Georgia Southern property, why are they not filling out open flames request forms and going through the proper training that we have to do here?”

Marrero commented, “Great point. I learned something.”  

   

 

SGA Meeting: We All Scream for Ice Cream

Jason Chapman, Staff Writer

The SGA senate meeting this Monday covered many different topics. Leaders from Health Services were present to inform the senate about Sexual Assault Awareness Month which begins on campus in October. They handed out flyers to show the various events that are taking place to combat sexual assault on campus.

Then there were 18 motions to approve funding for many different group events. Every motion was approved. 

Liberty campus is facing difficulties and the SGA is looking to solve the problems that students have there.

Executive Vice President Spencer Demink said, “As of now there is concerns about a bus not going to campus when it was advertized that it was, parking concerns, security guard concerns, there’s been concerns, the director of the Liberty campus is not on the President’s advisory council for the university.”

Legislation is being drafted to fix these problems soon. 

The Textbook Exchange Group on Facebook is looking to be revitalized. It is a Facebook group where students can exchange books with each other to help bring the cost of various textbooks down.

Rumblings about an ice cream machine being added to The Perk in the Student Union were discussed but there were concerns about people making a mess around campus so the ice cream machine could be moved to the Galley. 

Concerns have been raised over the possible cap on printers around campus. Students have been saying that the printing machines stop printing at 25 pages. Students are supposed to have unlimited access to the printers. SGA will investigate further and The George-Anne Inkwell Edition will update you soon. 

 

SGA Inducts New Members

 Jason Chapman, Staff Writer

The SGA inducted six new senators on Sept.16. As the newly appointed senators took their seats, veteran senators looked on in approval. 

Executive Vice President (EVP) Spencer DeMink lead them to the center of the room. The senators raised their right hands, and repeated the oath that DeMink read out to them. 

Among the newly inducted members were James Hamilton, Haley Briggs, Farren Smith, Camryn Ennis, Margaret Calandra and Maddie Foster. After finding their seats and meeting with the leaders of their committees the senators quickly got to work with the SGA’s weekly agenda. 

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EVP Spencer DeMink swears in Maddie Foster. Photo by Alecia Kovach.

Another member was also added to the SGA ranks. There was a motion soon after to appoint Louis Miller to the position of Vice President of Alumni and Veteran Affairs. Miller is a peer mentor at Georgia Southern and served in the military for 5 years. 

Miller was given a chance to stand up and make some remarks before being sworn in, “Just ready to get after it,” Miller said. 

After Miller addressed everyone DeMink said “In my opinion, he’s a great fit.” All three motions to approve the new members went through without any objections. When the induction ended the SGA got back to business with their newly appointed senators.

 

SGA TALKS PARKING SERVICES

Jason Chapman, Staff Writer

SGA held a Parking Services Town Hall as part of their meeting on Sept. 9. 

Several concerns regarding parking at the Armstrong Campus were brought up. Including the problem of having more faculty parking than needed on Burnett Blvd. 

“It’s just that there’s an overwhelming number of empty spaces there that’s not used, at least this semester that I’ve seen,” brought up student Sean White while speaking to Director of Parking Services Derrick Davis.  

Davis went on to say that only one quarter of the parking spaces offered on Burnett Blvd. are for faculty and staff. 

Another topic that was brought up was citations. 

Speaker Tyler Tyack addressed Davis bringing up the fact that citation warnings are almost non-existent. 

First year students are rarely given warnings, and just get a $30 citation instead. 

Now students are allowed to appeal these citations, but currently there are about 600 appeals being sifted through at Parking Services. 

However if you do appeal your first parking ticket it will more than likely get resolved. 

It should also be noted that students can park anywhere on campus after 4 p.m. and not be ticketed. 

SGA holds weekly meetings at 12:15 p.m. on Mondays in Student Union Ballroom A. 

 

SGA Talks Voting and Food

Stanton Dobson, Copy Editor 

The SGA had their weekly meeting on Aug. 26 and discussed the recently announced amendment to Georgia Southern’s commencement ceremonies, the reveal of the 2019 fiscal budget plan, news about the Southern Café and the upcoming installment of Starbucks and news about voter registration training. 

Michael Morgan, Director of Armstrong Campus Dining, broke the news about Southern Café and the upcoming Starbucks.

He stated that Southern Café is projected to open as soon as the first week in October.

Students will have to wait a little longer for Starbucks as its projected opening may be stalled to late January. 

“I cannot say for sure being that we haven’t gotten a construction schedule yet. But as soon as I get that I’ll be here to let you all know. Starbucks is getting started, they cleared out the space for that location and we’ll start the process of preparing the space as soon as possible, and what I hear right now is that we’re looking for an early spring open.”

According to assistant professor, Kimberly Martin, the Chatham County Board of Elections will be meeting next Thursday Sept. 3 in the Student Union Ballroom for voter registration training, which will begin at 10 a.m. 

“…the goal of this whole thing is to create a group of students or maybe even an organization through SGA that registers other students to vote on campus. National voter registration day is Sept. 24, and we’d like to have a series of events on that day particularly voter registration day.”

On Wednesday, Aug. 28, there will be an event at the Armstrong REC Center at the volleyball court with free amenities. 

SGA meetings are regularly held every Monday at 12:15 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.