MTSU SGA members hear guest speakers, discuss several new resolutions in meeting


Photo by Caleb Revill / MTSU Sidelines

Guest speakers for “MTSU Raiderthon” spoke about their family’s story, and four new resolutions were brought up for discussion at MTSU’s Student Government Association meeting on Thursday.

After the roll call, several guests were introduced to speak to SGA members. Kristen Perry, an MTSU alumna and founder of Raiderthon, introduced husband and wife Josh and Tonya Graham, along with their two sons, Chase and Landon, to speak about Chase’s story.

Raiderthon is a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which provides support in funding to children’s hospitals around the country. After fundraising ends, Raiderthon hosts a dance marathon party in early April for supporters, and 100 percent of the donations that the campaign raises is given to children’s hospitals in the local Middle Tennessee community.

Tonya began by telling SGA members that both she and Josh were MTSU alumni and that Josh had served as a senator for SGA during his time at MTSU. Chase has been supported through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and organizations like Raiderthon.

“Chase is the 2018 miracle champion for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital,” Tonya said. “So, he represents this hospital in a lot of different areas. He was born in a known drug house here in Nashville. They found him in the toilet and had to take him out.  He had to be taken to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, where they placed him on ECMO.”

Tonya explained that ECMO, which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, was a procedure, in which doctors had to bypass both Chase’s heart and lungs.

“(ECMO) is a Hail Mary before you have to say goodbye,” Tonya said. “As you can see with Chase, there were no goodbyes here, because Chase is full of life.”

Tonya said that after Chase was discharged from the hospital, he “bounced from biological family member to biological family member” for five days. On the fifth day, he came back to the hospital with no sign of a heart rate, and he was not breathing.

Tonya described Chase’s second discharge from the hospital as the time when “he came home.”

“When Chase got home, Josh and I realized we were in over our heads,” Tonya said. “We had a baby that had a very uncertain future. While he was there, he was detoxed from opiates, marijuana, cocaine and benzodiazepines. So, he had already gone through more in seven weeks before we ever got to him than any adult I know of.”

Tonya said that, since then, a multitude of health problems have sent Chase to the hospital “a lot.”

“Chase has spent over 150 nights as a patient at the hospital,” Tonya said. “He’s been in intensive care over 35 additional nights … He’s had every therapy that Vanderbilt has to offer, and quite frankly, without that hospital, my family would not have Chase.”

Tonya explained that her family wanted to promote SGA involvement in Raiderthon because its proceeds help to fund treatment for her son and many other children.

After the guest speakers were finished, resolutions were brought forth for discussion. The SGA Freshman Council sponsored a resolution, titled SGA Resolution 2-18-S-FC, or “MTSU Smoke Free Week.” With National No Smoking Day on March 21, this resolution would call for a three-day event that would encourage students to stop smoking.

SGA would partner with MTSU Health Services and Health Promotions, asking Director of Health Promotion Lisa Schrader to provide students with free nicotine patches from March 19 through March 21. SGA would provide free brochures about the dangers of smoking at several locations across the MTSU campus. There would also be a non-smoking seminar with a speech by Schrader on the lawn of the Student Union Building.

The next resolution presented was titled Tentative Resolution 3-18-S, or “A Resolution Regarding University Policy 313,” sponsored by SGA Sen. Seth Harrell.

This resolution would provide more information to students about grade appeals to every classroom syllabus. It would also remove a step from the grade appeals process, allowing students to bypass asking MTSU department heads to appeal a grade before speaking directly to the office of the provost.

Harrell said that, by allowing students to speak directly to the office of the provost, students would have one less step in appealing a grade that they believe to be incorrect. He also expressed an interest in adding a larger time window than the current 10-day limit for grade appeals to the resolution.

The second resolution that Harrell talked about was “A Resolution Regarding MTSU Parking Garages,” which would require MTSU Parking Services to install large signs next to the two campus parking garages. The signs would indicate that entrance into the garage requires parking passes.

Harrell said that this would help lower traffic jams caused by students who try to enter the garage without a valid parking pass.

The final resolution presented was sponsored by Sen. Kobe Hermann and was titled “Tentative Resolution 5-18-S.”

This resolution called for SGA to draft a letter to discourage MTSU professors from requiring students to purchase “student response systems,” which are more commonly referred to as “clickers.”

Hermann said that most students have smartphones, and free applications, like Top Hat, for smartphones work just as well as clickers, which can cost students around $30, along with an activation fee.

Hermann acknowledged that SGA likely couldn’t enforce classroom policies considering the requirement of clickers. But, sending a letter as representatives of the student body to discourage professors from requiring clickers would be a good first step toward getting the message across.

Updated at 10:53 a.m. on Feb. 12 : Sidelines incorrectly reported that Resolution 3-18-S was to provide more information to students about grade appeals in their student handbook. The resolution was actually to include University Policy 313 to every course syllabus. Sidelines regrets the error. 

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

For more news, follow us at www.mtsusidelines.com, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

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