Photo and story by Hannah Adams / Contributing Writer
MTSU Student Government Association members met Thursday in the Parliamentary Room in the Student Union Building to settle and discuss several resolutions proposed during last week’s meeting.
Following the roll call and “True Blue Pledge,” the meeting began with announcements. Kicking it off, Kobe Hermann was named Senator of the Week.
SGA Faculty Adviser Danny Kelley then announced that the Signature Events Committee would be revealing their big spring event during halftime at the MTSU basketball game on March 1.
During last week’s meeting, four resolutions were proposed. This week, those same resolutions were brought back with some revisions in hopes of getting the motions passed.
The first resolution, sponsored by the SGA Freshman Council, was 2-18-S-FC, or “MTSU Smoke-Free Week.” This motion will kick off on March 19 and last until March 21, which is “National No Smoking Day.” Each day of that week, SGA will hold a different event. During this time, SGA will be partnering with MTSU Health Services to promote the prevention of smoking.
SGA will be providing free nicotine patches and brochures to students committed to quitting smoking on March 19 and March 20. Members will be stationed at the James Walker Library, Keathley University Center and Student Union Building from 11 a.m until 2 p.m. On March 21, Lisa Schrader, the MTSU director of health promotion, will be giving a non-smoking speech at 1:30 p.m in the Student Union Building. SGA will also be providing brownies and hot cocoa for this event.
The only change to this resolution was the time of Schrader’s speech. Originally, it was to take place at 6 p.m. but has been moved back to 1:30 p.m. No further debate was discussed for this resolution, and, after being put to a vote, the motion passed.
The second resolution, sponsored by Sen. Seth Harrell, was Tentative Resolution 3-13-S, or “Academic Grade Appeals.” This resolution is meant to give students better and more straightforward knowledge of grade appeals in every classroom syllabus.
In this resolution, the student would have 15 days, which is a change from last week’s proposed 10, before the start of a new semester to resolve whatever grade conflict they may have with a teacher. The initial proposal stated that students would have the option not to speak to the MTSU department heads and instead go directly to the office of the provost for grade appeals.
The choice to cut the department heads out of this decision was met with criticism from many Senate members. Many stated their concern that the resolution would not be seriously implemented if the department heads were cut out of this decision.
“I think it’s their responsibility to maintain the integrity of their department, and if that’s coming under question by a student, that needs to be thoroughly investigated,” a Senate member said during the discussion.
The argument from many Senate members was that students who were not satisfied with a department head’s actions could still move on and appeal to the provost.
“At the end of the day, we’re here for what’s in the best interest of the students,” Harrell said. “And, if it’s the students that are having that issue, we shouldn’t be too concerned about how the department head feels or how the dean of the college feels.”
Despite suggestions to remove the first section of the resolution, which was the decision to bypass the department heads from the resolution to appease those opposed, the motion failed after it was put to a vote.
Harrell’s next resolution was 3-18-S, or “MTSU Parking Garages.” The resolution concerned students attempting to enter parking garages without an active student parking pass. It would aim to make the currently temporary warning signs outside of the garages more permanent. The change in this resolution was a simple grammatical addition. Originally, it was proposed that the sign would read, “Active Student Parking Pass Requested to Enter Garage.”
Sen. Abbigail Thompson brought to attention that students also need to use the parking pass in order to exit parking garages and suggested that a portion of the sign be altered from “to Enter Garage” to “Enter and Exit Garage.”
After this, it was brought to a vote, and the motion passed.
The final resolution was 5-18-S, or “Discouragement of Clickers in Classrooms,” sponsored by Sen. Kobe Hermann. For this resolution, Hermann argued that electronic student response devices should not be a requirement in the classroom. Clickers can cost up to $30 and often require an additional activation fee.
He proposed that a letter be drafted by members of SGA to discourage the requirement of the use of clickers in classrooms. This letter would explain the disadvantages of using the devices, which would focus on “cost and redundancy,” and would also include possible alternatives for clickers that might be more accessible to students.
The letter would be sent to the dean of each college and every academic department chair and would be signed by supporting members of SGA. The only suggestion for improvement was that Hermann should speak to some teachers and try to get them to sign the letter as well, should they be interested.
Hermann also added he did not yet have a letter prepared for SGA members to sign off on. His intention was that, if the motion should pass, he would immediately begin to talk with the SGA members about how he will form the letter, using the criteria stated above. And, by the next meeting, he would have the letter to be signed.
Only one Senate member, Katey Brosche, expressed her concerns that this letter might reflect poorly on SGA.
“It looks like we’re just trying to get out of paying an extra fee, and it could encourage future SGA members to think that they can write a letter asking departments not to require textbooks,” Brosche said. “It looks like we don’t care about our educations because we’re just trying to find the easy and cheap way out.”
Hermann clarified that the letters were stating that the clickers should be optional and not mandatory. Therefore, students who could not afford it would not be subject to having to pay the fees involved with clickers.
“I don’t think our education should be judged on whether or not we encourage our professors to use clickers,” Hermann added.
However, because there was no formal letter drafted as of the meeting, SGA moved to postpone the resolution to their next formal meeting, when they would be able to review the letter.
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