SGA seeks student involvement

Karon Parrish

   The Student Government Association met Feb. 2 to discuss issues brought up before the Assembly meeting that will affect the entire student body.

   President Sally Owen addressed the two guests that attended the meeting and said, “We have got to find a way to get the students involved in SGA. I’m not sure everyone realizes what we do and why.”

   The main focus of the meeting was to bring to the attention of the student body that the university has an Assembly made up of faculty members and student representatives. There should be 24 student representatives, but not all departments have appointed a student to represent them. Some of these representatives come from the SGA board, but 12 were to be appointed by the departments on campus. Not all departments have appointed student representatives and this is where the Assembly is lacking is student involvement.

Photo by:  Karon Parrish
Lack of participation - (from left) Student Government Association Senator Ana Hunt, guest Will Collins and Executive Board appointee Brad Sears voice concerns at the Feb. 2 SGA meeting.

   The Assembly is currently in the process of revising their constitution. Dr. Linda Webster, chairwoman of the Assembly, explained the Assembly's purpose.

   “The Assembly does the academic work of the institution in terms of proposing and approving changes in the curriculum (C&S Committee), handling academic appeals, moderating academic grievances – essentially a self-governing mission that allows for participation at all professional levels for standards that range from discipline-specific to philosophical best-practices,” she said. 

   Some faculty at the Assembly meeting said they felt not enough students go the Assembly meetings, and therefore they should decrease the number of student representatives, Owen said. 

   “The constitutional committee is proposing a change in the number of student representatives primarily because some of the slots open to students are not being filled,”  Webster said. 

   Webster also indicated around 50 people attend the Assembly meetings and most are faculty.  

   Without the SGA involvement in the Assembly, the faculty would have a complete say in the student organizations, clubs or activities on campus.

   “The students would have no voice,” Owen said. “We need students to become involved in the school or their voice will not be heard. If students want to change things on campus or have ideas to make things better, this is where they need to do that.” 

   Will Collins, a post-graduate student and guest at the meeting, said he had served on the SGA board for three years and there was always a poor turnout of students at the meetings. 

   “I’m not sure what the answer is but we have to do something or students will lose any kind of ground they have gained through the involvement of SGA,” Collins said.

   Most of the senators elected to be on the SGA board do not even bother to attend the meetings. Students should keep this in mind when the next SGA elections take place in March, Collins said.

   “We need students who will commit to the office they were elected to and work to get students involved,” SGA Secretary Michael Cravens said.

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