As a welcome back to students, Armstrong’s Student Government Association (SGA) held a clothing closet to raise money for Eagle for Eagles on Jan. 16 in front of the Student Union.
According to Georgia Southern’s SGA webpage, “Eagles for Eagles is a Student Government Association student fundraising initiative. The purpose is to raise money to give awards to Georgia Southern students in extreme financial hardship.”
“We take clothing donations from other people, we come back and wash them, we sell them for a dollar and donate it to the “Eagles for Eagles” drive.” Spencer DeMink, junior and Executive Vice President of the SGA for the Armstrong and Liberty campus said.
According to Georgia Southern’s SGA, the initiative works in two steps:
Members of the Eagles family and community including, but not limited to: student organizations, faculty, staff, individual students and family and friends of Georgia Southern fundraise and donate to Eagles for Eagles.
Students with temporary financial need to apply for a one time maximum award of $1000.
Look out for more future SGA events on the Armstrong campus!
Here is a list of goals from President Dr. Kyle Marrero for spring 2020 and beyond for the university:
Our search for an Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, launched on August 29, 2019, is in progress. This is a senior leadership position that will serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet, report directly to me, and provide organizational alignment throughout the institution to deliver our inclusive excellence plan and initiatives.
We are working with and supporting the Student Government Association leaders to organize work groups following the open forums to translate student suggestions into an actionable plan.
The President’s Student Advisory Council (PSAC) on Inclusive Excellence, which held its first meeting September 16, 2019, will be hosting three “Courageous Conversations” panel discussions/town halls over the next several months and will be identifying additional student organization events to develop an overall “Inclusive Excellence” series. This will be supported by marketing and communication to ensure students are aware of these opportunities and events. In addition, we will continue our “Protect Our Nest” series with a goal of continuous dialogue and relationship building with our university, city and county police officers.
The President’s Diversity Advisory Council, led by Dr. Maxine Bryant, will finalize our Diversity Statement and will serve as a campus diversity crisis advisory team ensuring we communicate effectively and expeditiously.
The senior leadership teamhas already established Inclusive Excellence goals specific to their divisional objectives that are presented in their performance scorecards.
We are committed to continue our FYE curriculum.
Each College is in the process of developing their Inclusive Excellence Planand implementation strategy.
Faculty leaders are being encouraged to engage in discussions, forums, lectures, and presentationsconversing on difficult dialogues to educate, inform, and allow all perspectives to be heard.
We continue to be committed to the implementation of the seven recommendations from Dr. Damon Williams Inclusive Excellence report shared with the campus on August 28, 2019.
I and my leadership team will continue to be accessible, present, and engaged with you – committing to open dialogue with students – I will update the campus in writing on our progress.
Updates on all of these activities and initiatives will be uploaded to the Inclusive Excellence page, georgiasouthern.edu/diversityandinclusion.
Here is a statement from SGA Executive Vice President Spencer Demink on the Book Burning Incident in Statesboro.
“What happened last Wednesday in Statesboro would by some, only be described as students exercising their first amendment rights. Although this is true, I would better describe it as racist behavior and should be treated as such.
You will hear university administration say they are bound by certain policies and lawsthat prevent them from taking action upon the students that burned a Cuban-American woman’s literature, for calling students privileged because they are white. Barring the irony that after these students were called privileged, they probably did the most privileged thing they could do by literally burning books… is the fact that our top officials cannot take further action. But this does not mean we as students cannot either.
Are you in a club? Say hello to your new book of the month, Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet. Didn’t know that literal nazi’s used to burn books? Hold a seminar on the history of book burning.
Those students protested something they disagreed with but there is nothing against us protesting their actions right back to them. Do not stay silent. Silence will only bring the understanding that we are okay with what happened last Wednesday. And I am not. We as your Student Government are not and I hope you aren’t either.”
“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.
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?”
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.”
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.