My name is Tyler Tyack, and I am the Speaker of the Armstrong and Liberty Campus Student Government Senate. I have served for three years in the Senate, and this is the first year that our two-senate-system has been in action.
First off, I would like to emphasize that this piece is in no way an official communication from the Armstrong/Liberty Campus SGA. These thoughts and opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the ALC SGA or its advisers.
In recent weeks, we have seen the phrase "new Georgia Southern" used to describe the new commencement process that the University has decided to implement. With five months warning, this decision has caught current students, their families and alumni off guard.
The university claims that they solicited student input in their decision making process by asking the Armstrong/Liberty Campus SGA Executive Board their thoughts on the then potential changes.
This meeting was held on Aug. 18, in a closed door Cabinet meeting. I must note, however, that all Cabinet meetings are closed door due to the sometimes sensitive information that is discussed by the Cabinet.
In this meeting, the Armstrong and Liberty Campus' Executive Board unanimously disagreed with the proposed changes. We were told that our thoughts would be relayed to the committee in charge of the commencement changes.
For the next four months, we received no new information on the commencement changes.
On Jan. 16, we received word that the commencement changes that had been proposed to us would in fact be going through effective for the upcoming spring. That afternoon, I called a special senate meeting for the following Wednesday, as Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Over the weekend, I worked on Senate Resolution Seven, which calls for the immediate reversal of the commencement changes.
This resolution passed the Armstrong and Liberty Campus Senate unanimously, and that same evening, I drove up to the Statesboro Campus Senate meeting and read the resolution aloud, word for word. The response from the overcrowded gallery of students was an applause. I asked the Statesboro senate to vote on SR7 that night, but they had a 72 hour wait period for voting on new pieces of legislation.
For the next four weeks, I attended every one of Statesboro's senate meetings. I received an email on Friday the 15th of February that SR7 would be coming to the floor on the 20th.
I went into that meeting excited, emboldened and overjoyed that for once, after this bitter consolidation process, the three campuses would finally be united on something. Together, all Georgia Southern students would be saying NO to the administration.
Until we didn't. Until only one Senator from Statesboro voted to approve the resolution. I have had legislation with my name on it fail before, but never this badly. SR7 had been completely sunk on the senate floor.
When Nathan Weaver [from The George-Anne] asked me just five minutes after the vote how I felt, I could only say "disappointed." I was confused, shocked and horrified that the body of students elected to represent their peers had gone clear against what the student body wanted.
The Student Government Association is by students, for students, and I can understand the frustration when the system fails.
I told Mr.Weaver that I would continue to fight for the revetment of the commencement changes. I will continue to fight for all three campuses of Georgia Southern. We are one university, with three distinct campuses, none more important than the others.
We, members of the Armstrong and Liberty Campus Senate, have taken the oath of office, in which we are sworn to be an advocate for students. It does not limit us to one campus, and I will not limit myself. To any students on any campus who have issues, complaints or just need to vent, my email is SGA-Armspeaker@georgiasouthern.edu.
I am here for you, we are here for you and we would love to hear from you.
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