Author: Kory Brantley
Grad SGA Advocacy and Academic Support Message
Good Morning Graduate Yellow Jackets,
I want to take a moment and thank you all for your continued efforts in keeping this campus safe while you do research, take classes, and teach classes. You all continue to set an amazing example as a collective in how to keep our community safe!
Graduate SGA Report and Upcoming Campus-Wide Events:
Although this year has been quite different, the Graduate Student Government Association has continued to advocate on behalf of graduate students and has prepared an Executive Review for the Summer and Fall 2020 Semesters. I encourage you to take a moment to review the breadth of advocacy being done on campus in the document attached or accessed online here. Please continue to reach out using the Grad SGA Contact Us page here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure we include your concerns in our advocacy or answer your questions.
If you are looking for professional development or opportunities to show off your research, please consider joining the Career, Research, and Innovation Development Conference, CRIDC 2021. All the events are just around the corner (February 8-12, All-Virtual), and you can learn more about it at grad.gatech.edu/cridc!
Academic Course Mode and Expectation Message:
There are a few important points I want to mention regarding the concerns we’ve been hearing about the academic modes and expectations.
- Last week, Provost Steve McLaughlin conveyed to faculty that they should continue to communicate their expectations to students regarding changes to syllabi or course modes expectations. He also asked that they continue to adhere to the course modes as set in Canvas.
- If you have questions about the course mode, it is recommended that you first discuss it with your instructor. For academic concerns that cannot be resolved directly with the instructor, your school associate chair or director of studies should be contacted. If unresolved, you may also contact Kyla Ross, assistant vice provost for Advocacy and Conflict Resolution through the link here.
- Questions and concerns related to Covid-19 health and safety guidelines may also be submitted to email@example.com.
As always, at any time you can go to sga.gatech.edu to view all of GSGA’s resources and communications and feel free to follow us on social media to stay up to date with campus news.
As a reminder, please continue to be safe on and off-campus, test frequently, and take advantage of the resources and events happening across campus for everyone. Take care of yourselves and have a wonderful week.
In Progress and Service,
Graduate Student Body President
Joint Statement of the Student Representatives of the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee
Joint Statement of the Student Representatives of the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee
January 13, 2021
As Student Representatives of the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee(MSFAC),we met with the four Faculty and Staff Representatives of MSFAC earlier today to vote on our recommendations for mandatory student fee levels in Fiscal Year 2022.
The ongoing negative fiscal and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic strengthens our desire to keep higher education affordable. Supporting our efforts, Chancellor Wrigley formally charged University System of Georgia schools to not increase the total amount of mandatory
student fees and to push even harder than past years toward maintaining an affordable college experience. The Committee’s recommendations meet both Chancellor Wrigley’s charge and our own goal.
Throughout this year’s Committee meetings, both the Student Center Operations Fee and the Student Activity Fee arose as potential recipients of a fee increase. The new Student Center is scheduled to open for the Fall 2022 semester, following the opening of the Exhibition Hall back in June 2020. A total Student Center Fee increase of $25 is requested to fully open this new building. Additionally, participation in registered student organization activities continues to grow to record-high levels, and the SAF provides critical funding to many of these organizations. To better serve these organizations, and considering the adoption of the new Registered Student Organization Policy, a Student Activity Fee increase $10 is requested.
To hold with our view that the aggregate fee level should not be raised, the Committee worked to offset the two fee increases with reallocation from at least one other fee. Following analysis and discussion, the Athletics Fee was identified as a candidate for reallocation, and a total decrease of $17.50 from the Athletics Fee is requested. We recognize and value the great benefits both students and the Institute receive from the Athletics Department, and we are committed to minimizing the negative consequences from this decrease for Georgia Tech Athletics. Therefore, we propose and ask for support of a staggered increase of the Student Center Operations Fee and the Student Activities Fee over Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 to allow for a staggered decrease of the Athletics Fee over the same time period.
Accordingly, this Committee voted to approve the following changes to the mandatory student fees for Fiscal Year 2022:
- Increase the Student Activity Fee by +$5 to a total of $45 starting Fall 2021.
- Increase the Student Center Operations Fee by +$12.50 to a total of $44.50 starting Spring 2022.
- Decrease the Athletics Fee by -$5 to a total of $122 starting Fall 2021 and by -$12.50 to a total of $109.50 starting Spring 2022.
- Preserve all other fee levels.
In addition, absent the power to make prospective decisions for Fiscal Year 2023, the Committee recommends the future members of the 2021 Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee and President Cabrera pursue the following changes to complete the full increase for both the Student Center Operations and the Student Activity Fees:
- Increase the Student Activity Fee by +$5 to a total of $55 starting Fall 2022.
- Increase the Student Center Operations Fee by +$12.50 to a total of $57 starting Fall 2022.
- Decrease the Athletics Fee by -$17.50 to a total of $92 starting Fall 2022.
In the scenario that no fee increase is approved, the intention of the committee is that corresponding offsets from the Athletics Fee not be approved either.
The Committee reiterates our deep belief that the burden of mandatory student fees should be minimized for all Georgia Tech students in this upcoming fiscal year and for years to come. When considering proposals for new student fees and increases to existing student fees, we urge departments and offices to support a holistic approach to funding units’ needs by seeking alternative funding sources or exploring fee reallocation to ensure the overall student fee burden is not increased.
In Progress and Service,
Marc Muehlberg, MSFAC Co-Chair
Lea Harris, Graduate Student Body President
Brielle Lonsberry, Undergraduate Student Body President
Stephen Eick, Graduate Student Representative
Divyesh Gutta, Undergraduate Student Representative
Chandler Thornhill, Graduate Student Representative
Elena Patel, Undergraduate Student Representative
Tolga Ustuner, Undergraduate Student Representative
A Message From the SGA Vice President of Student Life
Mykala Sinclair (she/her/hers)
Happy October, folks! Time has been flying by and I’m sure many of you may be or have been feeling some weight on your shoulders. The weight may come from a multitude of directions like class, career, personal health, social circles, and the list goes on.
I want to tell you all that you are not alone. This year has been challenging for most, including myself. Students, staff, faculty, and admin have all shared sentiments of mental and emotional strain, social struggle, and fatigue. This is a time to connect, relate, and take charge of your health. Believe me, it’s easier said than done. However, it’s a necessity for the growth and prosperity of self and others. As I stated before, you’re not alone. You have some of the most caring, compassionate, and wise allies on your side. Reach out to Health Initiatives, GT CARE, STAMPS, Women’s Resource Center, LGBTQIA Resource Center, Dean of Students, Office of Disability Services, Academic Success, OMED, and/or STAR for any of your needs or questions.
Always remember: you’re human first. Please prioritize your health because you are worthy of that much. If you have any questions, confusion, comments, or simply need help navigating our many resources, never hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care and stay well —
Read More Updates from the SGA Student Life Team
Spring 2021 Academic Calendar
SGA is continuing to advocate for academic leniency, support, and true rest days for students for the Spring 2021 semester. While the elimination of spring break is unfortunate and not what any of us wanted, it is in the best interest of public health. That being said, our advocacy now shifts to ensuring the two rest days will be true rest days for students by advocating for no graded assignments and assessments the day immediately following the two rest days. Your health and wellbeing matters, and we are committed to putting it first. SGA wants to ensure there will be safe and meaningful ways to engage with other students, particularly those on campus, during the spring semester. If you have any thoughts on how to accomplish this goal, please email email@example.com
Campus Services’ Advocacy in Action
Made From Scratch (Dining)
Think meal swipes are outdated? Wish Chick-Fil-A still had waffle fries? Help us as we complete a deep dive on the efficacy and utility of the current Georgia Tech Dining meal plans. On Tuesday, October 20th, SGA is joining forces with Auxiliary Services to host a series of 30-minute focus groups collecting data to cook up our meal plans from scratch. All participants will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card. Check out available time slots here.
Keeping Our Doors Wide Open (Housing)
SGA is working with Housing & Residence Life (HRL) on several transparency-related projects designed to improve the resident experience:
- Community Space Engagement Survey – On Thursday, September 24th, HRL sent out a survey to all residents gauging data on their anticipated utilization of community spaces and guest policy related matters. This data will be utilized by both HRL and student leadership to make recommendations regarding the community space guidelines.
- Work Order Transparency – With the implementation of a new maintenance request system completed, we’re working to ensure better data is provided publicly to the residential community. We’ve advocated and will continue to advocate for the publication of completed vs. open work orders (work order = maintenance request), average work order completion time, as well as holding HRL accountable for direct communication between HRL maintenance and residents.
- RA Conversations – SGA is engaging Campus Services in conversations regarding the current status of the RA program in an effort to ensure future changes include deliberate and purposeful student input.
Study Space Exploration Project (Housing + Campus Enterprises)
We’ve heard loud and clear that students, first-year students in particular, are interested in discovering more study spaces on campus. We’re working to collect information regarding available study spaces to share with on-campus first-year students to improve their study and exam-taking capabilities. If you have any study space locations you wish that you would’ve known about as a first-year student, help out your fellow yellow jackets. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
SGA and GTPD Updates
In the wake of the nationwide movement for racial justice and police reform, SGA has been in constant communication with the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) to discuss ways to improve student engagement, transparency, and oversight of the department.
While this remains a work-in-progress, SGA leaders have been able to sit in on the interviews of three GTPD officer candidates and are working with GTPD to create forums that allow students to engage with prospective officers and share their experiences. Additionally, SGA has provided GTPD advice regarding meaningful outreach to student organizations to ensure that prospective officers are able to engage with a variety of students before assuming their role. This will provide prospective officers insight into the diverse student experience at Georgia Tech and reveal how marginalized student groups perceive GTPD.
SGA members are also actively involved in the GTPD Community Council, a newly formed group whose purpose is to improve communications and information flow between GTPD and the community of students, faculty, staff, neighbors, and visitors it serves. The Council had its inaugural meeting on September 30, 2020. If you have thoughts or questions about these efforts, please email email@example.com
US Senate Forums: Doug Collins and Raphael Warnock
The SGA Government Relations Committee will be hosting forums with leading candidates for Georgia’s United States Senate seat! The forums will take place at the Ferst Theater with limited seating and will be livestreamed. The forum for Doug Collins (R) will take place on October 6, 2020 at 6:00 PM, and the forum for Raphael Warnock (D) will take place on October 21, 2020 at 5:00 PM. The Government Relations Committee is asking Georgia Tech students to submit questions that will be asked to the Senate candidates. Please submit questions for Rep. Collins here, and questions for Rev. Warnock here. If you have questions about the forums, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
JSVAC Partners with VOICE for Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Did you know October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Join the Joint Sexual Violence Advisory Committee and Health Initiatives’ VOICE team in education and prevention efforts during this month by participating in virtual events. Every Thursday at 1:00 PM, VOICE holds a BlueJeans workshop on rotating topics. Coming up in October are: ‘Men Reconstructing Masculinities’ (October 1, 2020), ‘Survivor Support’ (October 8, 2020), ‘Healthy Relationships’ (October 15, 2020), and ‘Bringing in the Bystander’ (October 22, 2020). Additionally, join VOICE and JSVAC for a screening of Attiya Khan and Lawrence Jackman’s documentary “A Better Man” on October 21, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. To learn more, email email@example.com.
SGA Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Non-Citizen and Immigrant Task Force
The Non-Citizen and Immigrant Task Force, which remains a work-in-progress and has not been formally established yet, is designed to enhance SGA’s ability to support and advocate on behalf of non-citizen and immigrant students to relevant stakeholders on campus and externally. Non-citizen, immigrant, and undocumented student populations face unique challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The creation of the Non-Citizen and Immigrant Task Force will allow SGA to develop the knowledge and expertise necessary to address immigration issues that currently face the student body and enhance the organization’s ability to support non-citizen, immigrant, and undocumented students in the years to come. The task force has been successfully implemented by the Minnesota Student Association. SGA is currently soliciting feedback from the Office of International Education on the proposed task force.
Affinity Networks Initiative
The SGA Affinity Networks Initiative is a proposed program that aims to amplify the voices of underrepresented students to better reflect the perspectives of Georgia Tech’s diverse student body. This program has been successfully implemented by the Yale College Council, Yale’s student government. The initiative will work to encourage underrepresented students to become members of each branch of SGA, striving to create an environment that will work to support their voices and ideas within the organization. The program will focus specific attention on recruitment and community-building efforts for underrepresented student groups within each branch of SGA.
As a network, the initiative will connect underrepresented students to resources and support within SGA, the Georgia Tech Division of Student Life, and Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The following Affinity Networks are proposed for the initiative: the Women Affinity Network, the Black Affinity Network, the First-generation Low-income (FGLI) Affinity Network, the LGBTQIA+ Affinity Network, the Latinx Affinity Network, and the International Affinity Network. As students identify the need for support for other underrepresented groups, we encourage the establishment of additional Affinity Networks within SGA.
Social Justice Mini-Grants
The purpose of the Social Justice Mini-Grants program is to provide individual students, student groups, and campus organizations with funding to host and facilitate educational programming in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. SGA leaders are currently working with several offices within the Georgia Tech Division of Student Life to get feedback on the program. The Social Justice Mini-Grants program has been successfully implemented by the North Carolina State Student Government.