SGA News Center

SGA News Center

LATEST NEWS

  • USG Chancellor Search Letter
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  • Georgia Tech SHIP: Final Spring Updates

    Good Morning Yellow Jackets, 

    I hope that you all have been taking care of yourselves as we approach the end of this Spring semester.  I’m writing to provide a formal update regarding the final decisions on the SHIP changes proposed by the USG.  

    The effort made to mobilize the student body and faculty to call and email the USG helped galvanized conversations that led to the USG reevaluating the proposed plans. Student voices and partnerships among SGA and the Offices of Graduate Studies, the Provost, and Administration and Finance further advocated for a renegotiated plan for Georgia Tech SHIP that now includes dental and vision coverage. 

    As the Georgia Tech administration announces the official numbers for the plan and the subsidy coverage in the coming days, the biggest outcomes we will see are that the USG unification led to significant increases in premiums. However, the Georgia Tech administration intends to minimize the immediate financial impact of these raised premiums through increased subsidies for GRAs and GTAs. 

    New SHIP Overview: 

    The Georgia Tech SHIP plan was originally projected to see 12% renewal increases to premiums. However, the unified USG plan with addendums for included dental and vision further increases the student mandatory insurance premiums 16% and voluntary insurance premiums 25%. The unified USG plan chosen to minimize premium increases has the effect of surging annual deductibles from $250 to $500, and out-of-pocket-maximums from $3750 to $6350. There will be no change in Stamps and Georgia Tech Pharmacy coverage with the unified USG plan. The terms of these plans are negotiated on a yearly basis and will be reevaluated for the following year with the intent of finding a long-term model for dental and vision coverage. 

    Moving Forward: 

    SGA’s role in the USG SHIP committee is persistent and will advocate for fair student health insurance to the USG and within the institute. Although this outcome is disheartening, our role as student leaders is to continue to champion the needs of the student body as a whole. Please continue to make your voices heard as the long-term models are sought out. 

    I want to thank you all for your outstanding effort and voice of support in this time of need. I am grateful to serve the engaged and spirited community we have at Georgia Tech. 

    In Progress and Service, 

    Lea Harris 

    Graduate Student Body President

  • Graduate SGA Election Announcement
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  • Fight Song Referendum Statement and Survey Results
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    The results of the referendum for changing the lyrics of the GT fight song can be seen below.

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  • Georgia Tech SHIP: Where We Are Now…

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  • SGA Response to AAPI Shootings
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    March 18, 2021

    To the Student Body of the Georgia Institute of Technology, 

    We are outraged and saddened by the murders of eight people, including six Asian women at local metro-Atlanta Spas on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. We stand in solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and those who have been emotionally or personally impacted by this horrific event. We recognize that this tragedy is among an escalated set of violence targeting Asian populations across the country. This violent wave of anti-Asian racism has manifested itself in the form of hateful rhetoric to all-out vicious attacks perpetuated against the AAPI community nationwide and serves as a painful reminder of the prejudice in our country against Asian communities. There is a great deal of pain and fear within the AAPI community that must be addressed nationally and on our campus. In light of this tragedy, we all must recommit ourselves to the fight against racism and take an active stand against violence targeted at Asian communities. Undergraduate SGA President Brielle Lonsberry and Graduate SGA President Lea Harris met with President Cabrera and Dean Stein on Wednesday, March 17 to discuss efforts that Georgia Tech will undertake to support students, especially members of the AAPI community during this difficult time. Additionally, SGA is reaching out to AAPI student organization leaders to learn how we can support the needs of their communities.

    In addition, we are working with the Division of Student Life’s Diversity Programs and the Counseling Center on programming and support groups for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrated in April. As details are finalized, we will be sure to share them with the Georgia Tech community.  

    Please seek support or use the resources available at Georgia Tech for students dealing with this tragic event. For more information and to access these resources, please visit www.sga.gatech.edu/news. We remain committed to assisting students through this difficult time and remain open to feedback on our advocacy efforts so please do not hesitate to reach out to us at sga@gatech.edu.  

    Brielle Lonsberry (she/her)  — Undergraduate Student Body President                                                                    

    Lea Harris (she/her) — Graduate Student Body President                            

    Kyle J. Smith (he/him) — Undergraduate Executive Vice President                                                                            

    Jay Mckinney (he/him) — Graduate Executive Vice President  

  • Proposed Changes to Georgia Tech Health Insurance
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    Proposed Changes to Georgia Tech Health Insurance

    Good Afternoon Fellow Grad Yellow Jackets, 

    I write to you today to inform you of the proposed changes by the University System of Georgia to the Georgia Tech student health insurance plan (SHIP) which over 4000 of us grad students are a part of. The USG is considering a proposal that could increase our student health insurance costs by as much as 30% ($660/ year), reduces insurance benefits, and take the embedded dental and vision coverage out of the mandatory plan. This is being done at no benefit to Georgia Tech students, but to reduce the insurance costs for students at other institutions within the USG, by combining the Georgia Tech SHIP with the USG SHIP. If implemented, this plan severely threatens the healthcare finances of over 6500 Georgia Tech students and their dependents for the foreseeable future. As your graduate student body president, I have been fiercely advocating against these changes at the university system level. The institute leadership is also advocating on behalf of all Tech students. The proposal is set to be reviewed by the USG leadership as early as the week of March 8th. 

    How can you make your voices heard? 

    1.  Sign this formal petition by Sunday March 7th – directed towards USG Chancellor Wrigley and the Board of Regents: This time the USG leadership needs to hear directly from every single one of us who will be affected by these changes. You can do this by signing this formal petition put together on behalf of our graduate student body by Graduate SGA. 
    2.  Email the USG chancellor and call the Board of Regents by tomorrow or first thing Monday, March 8th: A petition alone may not be enough to convince the USG otherwise. That is why I encourage you to express your concerns directly to the USG Chancellor or any member of the Board of Regents. Here is an email/call-template for graduate students and contact list to use if you need.  
    3. Spread the word: Tell your GT friends, colleagues, lab mates, and faculty advisors to sign on to the petition and raise the concerns with their bosses or use this generic call script to advocate on your behalf.

    Where can I find more information about the proposed increases? 

    Currently, the Georgia Tech SHIP is external to the USG SHIP provided to all institutions, specifically negotiated through the advocacy of Graduate Students and the support of GT administration for the campus to reduce costs and increase services. Although this plan has been approved by the USG for many years, the USG is proposing to dissolve the independent Georgia Tech SHIP and consolidate to a single plan available for all institutions in the 2021-2022 year.  

    The concerns regarding these proposals are wide, but here are some primary points: 

    • all unified plans remove Georgia Tech’s included dental and vision coverage and replace it with an optional USG dental plan that costs $360 per year
    • all proposed options increase Georgia Tech premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums for this overall lower service coverage.
    • worst-case proposals include increases of $224 to the Premium, $250 to Deductible, and $2600 to Out-of-Pocket Maximum

    Other repercussions regarding the impacts on the on-campus health centers such as Stamps, DePoe, and Tech Dentistry are possible, but Grad SGA and the Georgia Tech administration have been advocating fervently to the USG stakeholders for Georgia Tech to remain on its own plan. We fear these changes could result in the closure or reduced services at these on-campus providers. 

    The Grad SGA Graduate Student Senate (GSS) passed a resolution on March 2nd in opposition to the proposed SHIP consolidation, which can be seen here, to ensure that the USG understands the magnitude of the impact of changes on Georgia Tech Graduate Students. 

    Please know that your access to affordable healthcare and financial well-being are top priorities of ours, so I want to thank you for your time and consideration. 

    In Progress and Service, 

    Lea Harris 

    Graduate Student Body President  

  • President’s Mandatory Fee Recommendation

    Lea Harris, Graduate SGA President and Brielle Lonsberry, Undergraduate SGA President met with administrators to discuss the mandatory student fee proposal for the 2021-2022 academic year. They worked with the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee (MSFAC), to prepare a thoughtful and balanced recommendation.

    The Committee’s recommendation was carefully considered alongside other available and relevant information including the joint SGA statement on the fee recommendation. In addition to University System of Georgia guidance, reduced spending due to remote activities during the current year and the potential for additional federal funding to support Higher Education during the Covid-19 pandemic provided a path for bridging the Student Center and Student Activity proposed fee increases through Fiscal Year 2022. Based on this information, the President submitted a recommendation for no fee increases or adjustments in Fiscal Year 2022, consistent with the Chancellor’s memo dated December 2, 2020. Kelly Fox, Executive Vice President for Administration & Finance, agreed with Brielle and Lea’s approach to maintain the current overall fee level while shifting fee levels and revenue to fees that provide the greatest benefit to the students. Kelly anticipates a need for increases in Fiscal Year 2023 for both fees. Administrators will work to balance fee increases with other fee decreases while meeting the needs and expectations of the student community. 

  • 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 sga@gatech.edu 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.  

    1. 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. 
    2. 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.  
    3. Questions and concerns related to Covid-19 health and safety guidelines may also be submitted to cosert@gatech.edu.

    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, 

    Lea Harris 

    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

  • Undergraduate Executive Review

    Undergraduate Executive Review

    Yellow Jackets, 

    As 2020 is (finally) coming to a close, we want to take a moment and thank you for all of your hard work in making this Fall semester a success. You make Georgia Tech better and we appreciate all of your hard work in collectively keeping our community safe! Congratulations to all of our seniors that just celebrated graduation! 

    Attached you will find the Undergraduate Student Government Association Executive Review for the Summer and Fall 2020 Semesters. We encourage you to take a few moments to review our advocacy efforts and reach out tosga@gatech.edu with questions or areas of interest that we can be of any assistance with. You can also clickhereto view the document. As always, at any time you can go tohttps://www.sga.gatech.edu/ to view all of SGA’s resources and communications. 

    From all of us here at SGA, we wish you a refreshing winter break and happy holidays! 

    In Progress and Service,

    Undergraduate Student Government Association

  • November Newsletter

    Course Critique Update + Spring Registration Resources

    The SGA Information Technology Board has been working hard on a new version of Course Critique. Earlier this week, the new version went live at https://critique.gatech.edu. The application is now built on React.js and AWS. Other features in development include the integration of course syllabi links and CIOS information into course and professor tables. To support student developers on campus, IT Board is also working on publicly providing the Course Critique API in the coming months. Other registration resources include the numerical information from CIOS data, which can be found here, and a Bits of Good course scheduler which can be found here. Feel free to email it@sga.gatech.edu with any questions.

    Buzz to the Ballot!

    Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion hosted early voting for Fulton County residents on October 21-23 and served approximately 1,500 voters with minimal wait times. The early voting precinct was staffed by a mix between Georgia Tech students and Fulton County Staff, with SGA Vice President of External Affairs Samuel Ellis serving as the poll manager. On November 3rd, McCamish Pavilion served as Fulton County Polling Precincts 03I and 02L2 and was the first fully student-staffed general election day polling precinct in the country. Athletics gave out pizza, waters, and snacks to those standing in line and we worked with a Georgia Tech research team to optimize the layout of the polling place on election day. Between early voting and election day, nearly 2,000 people voted at McCamish Pavilion!

    Updates from Around the Institute

    Department of Homeland Security Advocacy

    SGA partnered with Georgia Tech International Ambassadors to advocate against the September 25, 2020 rule proposed by the Department of Homeland Security that would arbitrarily limit international student visa lengths and place additional restrictions on student visas based on an individual’s country of origin. You can read the letter sent to Senators Perdue and Loeffler here

    Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee Update

    MSFAC, the committee which reviews the current mandatory fee levels, has begun meeting and hearing presentations for the coming academic year’s mandatory student fee proposals. All information, meeting times, and further resources can be accessed here. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to reach out to the committee here

    Commencement Student Speaker Application

    Graduating this semester and want to speak to your fellow Yellow Jackets during your commencement ceremony? Apply to be one of the student commencement speakers here! The deadline to apply is November 12, 2020 at 12:00pm. 

    Hiring of 5 New Positions in the Counseling Center and CARE

    Georgia Tech CARE has received approval to hire an immediate temporary tech position and two new clinical case managers to begin full-time for the Spring semester. Additionally, the Counseling Center has hired two new counselors, one of which recently started.

    Georgia Tech Personal Finance Course

    Be on the lookout for GT’s Personal Finance Course this spring semester! It will be coded as GT 4801 in BuzzPort and is one-credit hour. If you’re interested in learning more about managing your money, this is the course for you! To learn more about this and other exciting course offerings, click here to contact SGA’s Vice President of Academic Affairs.

    Need Assistance with Your Financial Aid?

    Be on the lookout for emails from the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid (OFSA) to fill out your application for the next academic year. Reach out to OFSA anytime if you have questions about your application, want to apply or need any help. In particular, if you have questions about how COVID-19 may impact your ability to pay for school, this office is a great resource. Find them here.

    Message from the SGA Vice President of Student Life

    HAPPY NOVEMBER, Folks!  

    It’s the final stretch of the semester. You all have worked tirelessly through the semester and I’m proud of each and every one of you! This month is jam-packed with elections, finals, holidays, and travels. With everything happening at once this month, it’s VERY important to take care of yourself. If you’re not sure what help you need or where to start, I listed some links below to help. Always remember that you’re not alone. Please contact someone if you’re in need of assistance so that you can get the support you need!

    Try to get outside for a walk, catch up with an old friend, or watch that show your friend recommended to you that one time. Just remember to take time for you! Good luck with finals, Yellow Jackets! If you have any questions, suggestions, worries, or just want to talk, reach out to me at  studentlife@sga.gatech.edu.

    Read SGA Student Life’s Full Update Here

    Campus Services: A Month of Change

    Housing & Residence Life (HRL): Free Laundry & RA Conversations

    On Tuesday, October 20th, the efforts of long-term student advocacy led to the elimination of laundry costs for all residents beginning in January 2021. This is a major win for the student body and one, very large step towards rebuilding trust between students and Campus Services. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but this successful effort is proof that there are short-term, attainable changes here at Tech that can be made when we make our voices heard.

    Additionally, the SGA Campus Services unit has been conducting conversations with both Housing & Residence Life administration and current/former Resident Assistants (RA) via the Campus Services StudentExecutive Advisory (CSSEA). The purpose of these conversations is to better understand the underlying issues with the RA position, and develop actionable advocacy items for SGA to encourage HRL to adopt. CSSEA meetings are open to all students and occur on a daily basis. You can find out more here

    Dining: SGA/Auxiliary Services’ Focus Group Results
    Following the completion of a focus group series in collaboration with Auxiliary Services, SGA has developed the following set of initial recommendations for Georgia Tech Dining to implement. Further advocacy and results will soon be released as SGA works to move quickly to our next phase of reinventing meal plans at Tech. You can view our initial findings here.

    Campus Services: Open Chats w/ VPCS & Study Spaces Survey
    Hearing concerns and ideas from students is critically important to the advocacy efforts of the SGA’s Campus Services’ unit. If you have a story, idea, or a concern to share with your student advocates about Campus Services, please email the Campus Services’ team at campusservices@gatech.edu to get connected with a member of our team.

    Additionally, SGA is heading a project to aggregate study spaces across campus. We understand that this semester, not everyone has had the opportunity to explore campus, so we’re working to compile a list of spaces to share with the GT community. Send us your favorite places to study by filling out this form!

    Opinion Survey on GT Recycling and Composting

    FreShGA is one of many First-year Leadership Organizations on campus. For their fall semester project, they hope to gauge student awareness and opinion on GT’s current sustainability initiatives and existing recycling and composting infrastructure. Based on the results of this survey, FreShGA will highlight what is and isn’t working well, and propose a series of changes to the recycling and composting policy that will hopefully be enacted in the near future. Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey!

  • October Newsletter

    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 studentlife@sga.gatech.edu. 

    Take care and stay well —
    Mykala
     
    Read More Updates from the SGA Student Life Team

    October Update

    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 academics@sga.gatech.edu

    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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 campusservices@sga.gatech.edu 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 ug.evp@sga.gatech.edu

    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 externalaffairs@sga.gatech.edu.

    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 studentlife@sga.gatech.edu.

    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.

  • SGA & GTIA Letter to Senators Loeffler and Perdue

    Dear Senators Perdue and Loeffler,

    We are writing to express our concern regarding the September 25, 2020 rule proposed by the Department of Homeland Security that would arbitrarily limit international student visa lengths and place additional restrictions on student visas based on an individual’s country of origin. These changes in policy place additional burdens on students and universities, further disincentivizing prospective international students from attending U.S. institutions of higher education. International students are a critical part of colleges and universities across the country, and this proposed rule would undermine our nation’s leadership in higher education and research. With 25% of Georgia Tech’s entire student body made up of international students this proposed change would have a drastic negative impact on Georgia Tech, disproportionately impacting the graduate population which has 40% international students from over 100 different countries.

    Currently, most international student visas are valid for the duration of status, which allows international students to remain in the United States if they remain enrolled in an institution of higher education while abiding by rules relevant to their immigration status. This proven system provides flexibility for both four-year degrees and doctoral programs that may require additional time to complete.

    The proposed rule replaces this longstanding policy with a fixed, four-year visa. This would be further reduced to just two years for students who were born in Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria, regardless of their citizenship, as well as citizens of those countries.  Georgia Tech’s Fall 2015 undergraduate cohort had a 50.7% four year graduation rate which went up to 88.8% after 5 years. From these statistics, it is clear that this fixed, four-year visa would disincentivize international students from attending undergraduate programs at Georgia Tech and place undue stress on these students to finish degree programs in a shorter length of time than they are traditionally completed in. Additionally, doctoral students who teach and/or provide nationally and internationally recognized research are in degree programs of longer lengths, disproportionately impacted by these terms with a national average time to complete a PhD program being between 5 and 6 years. This rule uses a flawed methodology to limit citizens of countries with certain visa overstay rates, disproportionately impacting students from countries that send smaller numbers of international students. Furthermore, the proposed rule would arbitrarily limit the number of times students can change programs at the same degree level and impose intrusive mandates that would allow Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to arbitrarily make determinations traditionally left to academic institutions.

    These proposed changes, if enacted, would place at risk the academic careers of the over 13,000 international students attending the University System of Georgia’s institutes of higher education each year. These students play a fundamental role in our state’s academic and campus life. Their contributions are critical to maintaining the United States’ leadership in STEM fields and cutting-edge technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. These rules would also threaten the hundreds of thousands of jobs supported by international students, as well as the tens of billions of dollars in economic activity that these students facilitate each year.

    International students remain a key part of the higher education ecosystem in the state of Georgia and in our country. They enrich the higher education experience for all students and provide meaningful contributions to our country. The proposed rule places needless restrictions on these students and fundamentally threatens a cornerstone of our nation’s higher education system. With this in mind, we urge you to support rescinding the changes to the duration of status of F, J, and I visa holders and maintain the current duration of status policy.

    We must ensure that Georgia Tech, the state of Georgia, and the United States welcomes and fosters international students who are vital to our economy and continue to provide meaningful contributions to research, culture, academic life, and our country.

    Thank you for your consideration and service to our state and country.

    Brielle Lonsberry
    Undergraduate Student Body President

    Lea Harris
    Graduate Student Body President

    Aarushi Khajuria
    Georgia Tech International Ambassadors President

  • September Newsletter

    Committee Member Applications

    Applications to join SGA committees are now live on Engage until September 14th at 11:45PM. If you are interested in being involved in any part of SGA– from creating IT tools to student advocacy to logistical planning, or making your own unique impact on campus in any area– then apply! There is truly a committee for everyone. You can learn more about all of our committees at https://www.sga.gatech.edu/undergrad-exec/executive-committees/ and apply to join at https://www.sga.gatech.edu/committeeapplication

    Apply to join the Undergraduate House of Representatives!

    The Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) is a directly elected representative body made up of Georgia Tech students from every significantly populous portion of the student body including majors/colleges, classifications, international students, athletes, transfer students, & co-op students. It is a great opportunity to not only give back to the student body by allowing their voices to be heard, but also to grow as a leader and a professional as well. With the initiatives it implements and the campus issues it addresses, the UHR strives to make the student experience as comfortable and enriching as possible, and you can be a part of that! Apply at https://www.sga.gatech.edu/applyuhr

    Wreck the Vote

    SGA’s annual Wreck the Vote voter registration campaign will be held during the week of September 14th! This partnership with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated is part of SGA’s ongoing effort to engage Georgia Tech students in different political processes. This year, the campaign will be focusing on helping students request absentee ballots in the wake of COVID-19 and help establish voting plans for the day of the election. On September 17th at 6:00PM, SGA and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated will be hosting a virtual political debate between various political organizations on campus.

    Campus Printing Updates

    Your free print allocation will now be deposited as a lump sum at the beginning of each semester, as opposed to an allocated amount per week. Central-PS lockers are now located in Room 215 in the Clough building behind Starbucks due to the Student Center construction. You can access the free central printing (limit of 1,200 pages per semester) at https://central-ps.gatech.edu/fulfillment/. For all printing information visit https://faq.oit.gatech.edu/content/what-printing-options-are-available-campus.

    Wreck the Vote

    SGA’s annual Wreck the Vote voter registration campaign will be held during the week of September 14th! This partnership with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated is part of SGA’s ongoing effort to engage Georgia Tech students in different political processes. This year, the campaign will be focusing on helping students request absentee ballots in the wake of COVID-19 and help establish voting plans for the day of the election. On September 17th at 6:00PM, SGA and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated will be hosting a virtual political debate between various political organizations on campus.

    Mural on Campus

    Mural on CampusFor the first time in Georgia Tech’s history, plans are in place to have a mural painted on campus! As part of this process, SGA is gathering student opinions on what the mural should include. To have your ideas represented, please click here to fill out the short survey.

    Campus Services – Issues We’re Experiencing & How You Can Help

    SGA’s Campus Services’ team is working to actively aggregate and proactively address issues and concerns students are facing with any of GT’s Campus Services (dining, Buzzcard, exhibition hall, CRC, PTS, housing, and bookstore). If you have an issue or concern you’d like to share with us (the whole team is made up of students!), you can reach out to us anytime at campusservices@sga.gatech.edu.

    CRC: The Campus Recreation Center (CRC) had nearly 600 no-shows, nearly 8 hours of lost reservation time, for the first week of the fall semester. Given the limited amount of slots available each day, if you cannot make it to your reserved time at the CRC, please be sure to cancel your reservation as soon as possible to allow spots for other students to utilize the facilities during the currently limited hours. If you’d like to sign up to use the CRC, you can do so by heading over to https://mycrc.gatech.edu/.

    Dining: SGA has been working with GT Dining to address the long lines and social distancing-related concerns at primary dining halls. We’ve implemented an entirely student-run line manager program and will continue the program indefinitely this semester. If interested, please reach out to jacketsprotectjackets@sga.gatech.edu for more details. You can help out in two ways: 1) When in line at a dining location, remain 6 feet apart from everyone (friends and roommates included) 2) Download the new GT Dining app (search for “Georgia Tech Connect” in your app store) for mobile ordering and access to any changes in dining services. Additionally, we’ve strongly encouraged Dining to increase transparency regarding the cleaning procedures and processes that take place when a positive case is reported from a GT Dining employee.

    Housing: If you are a Georgia Tech Housing resident, you should get tested weekly at any of the free, on-campus surveillance testing locations. It is not enough to get tested only once. As of Saturday, August 22nd, only 55% of on-campus residents had participated in testing. To catch an outbreak early, we need to regularly hit a 90% weekly testing rate from on-campus residents. All testing details and signup related materials can be found at https://mytest.gatech.edu/

    Check Your Course Syllabi!

    SGA wants to remind all students that they should be checking their course syllabi for important points in order to be sure each course is complying with Institute policies. This includes that no tests or quizzes may be administered on the final instructional class day of the semester, which is the last day the class officially meets. Homework, assignments, labs, and projects may still be due, but all quizzes and tests should be graded and reported to students on or before the Final Instructional Class Day. 

    Classes may not meet during the Reading Period, and no assignments or graded activities are allowed during this time. Optional study sessions are allowed. If you know you have three final exams in one day, you may reschedule the exam for the middle period. You must notify the instructor no later than two weeks before the Thursday of the final exam period. 

    If you have any issues with courses, talk directly with your instructor. Oftentimes, that’s the best way to solve the problem you may be facing. If you need further help, reach out to Dr. Kyla Ross, the Assistant Vice Provost of Advocacy and Conflict Resolution at kyla.ross@gatech.edu

    If you ever want to share concerns, ideas, or questions with the SGA Academic Affairs Team, please email academics@sga.gatech.edu. SGA Academic Affairs is looking forward to continuing to hear student input about how we learn from COVID-19 and provide more course opportunities for students, as well as work on new initiatives this year, like revitalizing APPH course curriculum and expanding personal finance courses.

    External Affairs/Advocacy Updates

    Following the Department of Education’s reforms to Title IX sexual assault complaint procedure, Georgia Tech partnered with UGA to successfully lobby the University System of Georgia to adopt a survivor-focused Title IX procedure that prioritizes the mental health and well-being of survivors. Our new Georgia Tech policy can be accessed at https://policylibrary.gatech.edu/student-life/sexual-misconduct

    On July 14, the Faculty Executive Board passed a motion brought forth by representatives from SGA, requesting that teaching faculty provide academic consideration for student voters on November 3, Election Day. The motion requested that for Election Day, faculty consider moving lectures to an asynchronous format, avoid scheduling in-class quizzes, tests, or assessments, and make lecture recordings available for students unable to attend class that day. The Faculty Executive Board passed the motion, clarifying that classes will still be in session November 3. Faculty are strongly encouraged to consider making these modifications in order to give Georgia Tech students ample opportunity to participate in the election.

    SGA will continue working with the Faculty Executive Board and Institute Standing Committees with the goal of creating a policy that sustains this efforts for election days to come.

    McCamish Pavilion has officially been approved as a polling location for the general election! Early voting for Fulton County voters will occur at the location October 21, 22, and 23 in addition to the general election on November 3.

    Closing

    As always, please email sga@gatech.edu to let us know if you have questions or concerns! We’re always here to serve the Georgia Tech Student Body.

  • Graduate Student Senate Voting

    Dear Georgia Tech Graduate Student Community,

    Voting for the Fall 2020 Graduate Student Senate Elections is open now!

    The candidates have provided statements of candidacy HERE [1], which you might want to review prior to voting.

    Click HERE [2] to cast your vote for your school’s representative! Voting will be open until Sunday August 30, 2020 at 5pm!

    Results of the elections will be available as roster of the new membership on the SGA website HERE [3] on Monday August 31, 2020.

    If you cannot find any statements of candidacy for your department and subsequently no active election in the portal, this means no candidate from the department has declared their candidacy and the seat remains vacant. Vacant seats may be filled on a rolling basis by appointment or through a special election held at the beginning of the Spring semester.

    If you are interested in filling a vacant seat, both for departments that have less candidates than seats or no representatives at all, please fill out the nomination application form HERE [4], or run in the special elections in the Spring.

    Regards,

    The Graduate SGA Executive Board

    [1] https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tT9Azqlt-n6pbrFU-fOjDLTM-X4clPyf/view?usp=sharing

    [2] elections.gatech.edu

    [3] https://www.sga.gatech.edu/grad-legislative/

    [4] https://forms.gle/y26pjE5h1PYpuBmw9

  • Graduate Student Senate Elections

    Dear Georgia Tech Graduate Student Community,

    Once again, welcome to the 2020-2021 academic year! We’re very excited to have you in our community, whether you are returning or newly joining us, and are looking forward to working with you to make our experience better. During these unprecedented times, we are facing new challenges and need to adapt to a dynamic environment on a daily basis. However, other issues still persist and need to be addressed too.

    One important way we can do work together is to have you serve on the Graduate Student Senate (GSS). This is a critical part of the Graduate Student Government and involves GSS Senators elected within all departments engaging with their schools and colleges to identify issues, determining where the student activity fee we all pay goes, and developing their own initiatives that can receive support from the broader institution. In the past, GSS has made long-standing changes to issues such as qualification exam reform, annual stipend increases, and mental health counseling on campus. For more information, feel free to browse our governing documents here.

    Sign up to run to represent your department HERE (https://forms.gle/m3mzSAWU1CiyoSsE8) by Wednesday, August 26th at 5PM. Many departments have multiple representatives so we encourage anyone interested in getting involved with senate to apply!

    Elections will be held from Thursday August 27th to Sunday August 30th with polls closing at 5PM, when your department’s graduate students will vote for their senators. New Senators will be announced Monday August 31st, with the first official Senate session being held Tuesday, September 1st 11am-1pm.

    We are looking forward to working with you!

    The Graduate SGA Executive Board

  • SGA Advocacy Update

    Over the past few weeks, the Georgia Tech Student Government Association has been fiercely advocating for the betterment of the student body. This message contains an update on some of the issues we’ve been fighting for.

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    • SGA Town Hall
    • Academic Advocacy Efforts for Fall 2020
    • Election Day & On-Campus Precinct
    • Title IX Update
    • Campus Service Advocacy Updates
    • Results of SGA Return to Campus Survey
    • Black Lives Matter Update
    • International Student Advocacy
    • LBGTQIA+ Advocacy

    SGA TOWN HALL

    The Georgia Tech Student Government Association will be hosting a student town hall on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The panelists will include a few members of SGA leadership, as well as leadership from Georgia Tech International Ambassadors and the Residence Hall Association. Click here to join the BlueJeans event.

    SGA is in the process of collecting questions about Georgia Tech’s return to campus this fall so that we can gather answers to as many as we possibly can. Click here to submit a question to us (this form will be open until Wednesday). We will also be accepting live questions through the Q&A feature on BlueJeans events.

    We want to use this time to let you know what we’ve been working on in regards to our advocacy efforts, as well as provide answers about the fall and what it will look like. This will also be a time for you to voice concerns so that we can better understand student sentiment. We would love to see you this Wednesday!  As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at covid19@sga.gatech.edu.

    RETURN TO CAMPUS RESOURCES

    As part of our commitment to providing up-to-date information about the status of Georgia Tech’s Return to Campus this fall, SGA has created areas on our website where students can view updates on what campus will look like this fall. The Fall 2020 Return to Campus Guidebook has information on everything from testing to campus services and is available here.

    In preparation for Wednesday’s Town Hall, SGA has collected over 100 questions from the student body. Many of these questions will be answered during the event, and immediately following, all of the questions we received will be uploaded to the SGA Fall 2020 FAQs page, located here. NOTE: This page will not go live until 8:30 PM on July 22, 2020.


    ACADEMIC ADVOCACY FOR FALL 2020

    Over the summer, SGA leadership has been working to ensure every student has a safe and successful academic environment. As changes have been released by Georgia Tech and the University System of Georgia, SGA has continued to voice student opinions and concerns in an effort to make sure everyone is heard. Here are some of our academic updates:

    • SGA leadership has drafted a letter to the Board of Regents outlining in the strongest possible terms the need for online options for every Georgia Tech student. This letter is undergoing additional revisions and Student Body Presidents at other University System of Georgia schools will be offered a chance to join this letter. As soon as final revisions are complete, this letter will be shared with the Georgia Tech student body.
    • SGA has continued to advocate for an attendance leniency policy for students and faculty. The SGA Undergraduate President and VP of Academic Affairs have drafted an updated attendance faculty/student expectations document. We will continue to push for this to be implemented and will provide updates to the student body.
    • SGA successfully helped advocate to move Phase II registration to August 1st, as well as for increased remote course options and flexibility in our course modes.
    • Beyond COVID-19 measures, SGA Academics is looking forward to continuing to work on institutionalizing mini-mester courses and revitalizing APPH/health course curriculum.

    ELECTION DAY PROPOSAL ACCEPTED

    On July 14, the Faculty Executive Board passed a motion brought forth by representatives from SGA, requesting that teaching faculty provide academic consideration for student voters on November 3, Election Day. The motion requested that for Election Day, faculty consider moving lectures to an asynchronous format, avoid scheduling in-class quizzes, tests, or assessments, and make lecture recordings available for students unable to attend class that day. The Faculty Executive Board passed the motion, clarifying that classes will still be in session November 3. Faculty are strongly encouraged to consider making these modifications in order to give Georgia Tech students ample opportunity to participate in the election.

    SGA will continue working with the Faculty Executive Board and Institute Standing Committees with the goal of creating a policy that sustains this efforts for election days to come.

    FIRST STUDENT-RUN GEORGIA TECH POLLING LOCATION APPROVED

    After Georgia Tech Athletics took the incredible step of securing an election-day polling place at McCamish Pavilion, SGA met with the Fulton County Deputy Elections Chief to make arrangements to fully staff the polling place with students. We received approval for Georgia Tech’s first fully student-staffed polling place. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech administration made an executive decision to cancel the August 11th Runoff Election polling place on the Georgia Tech campus, citing health concerns regarding hosting an election while students are moving on campus. SGA is advocating strongly to ensure Georgia Tech will host a November 3rd general election polling place and early voting location, both fully staffed by students. SGA continues to serve on the campus-wide Voter Engagement Steering Committee, developing campaigns to ensure a high Georgia Tech turnout this Fall.


    TITLE IX UPDATE

    Following the United States Department of Education’s significant changes to the Title IX sexual assault protocol, Georgia Tech SGA partnered with the University of Georgia SGA to write a letter to the University System of Georgia (USG) regarding the reforms which we view as harmful for survivors in certain key ways. Our letter urges USG to rise above the bar regarding the treatment of survivors, which has been lowered by the Department of Education, and to establish guidelines for Title IX complaints which will prioritize the mental wellbeing and health of survivors as well as their ability to receive an equitable education at Georgia Tech.

    We sent this letter to our USG peer institutions and have received signatures from Columbus State University, Dalton State College, Fort Valley State University, Georgia College & State University, Georgia Gwinnett College, Georgia State University, and Valdosta State University. We will be meeting with USG in the future to ensure student concerns take priority in the long process of developing robust USG guidelines based on the Department of Education’s reforms. To read our letter to USG, click here.


    CAMPUS SERVICES ADVOCACY UPDATE

    At a glance, SGA has worked to build trust and a firm communication network to assist in directly connecting student concerns with decision-makers.

    We understand that may not sound very illustrious, but it’s a massive step towards improving the quality of student input received in important decisions that impact the daily life of each student. This fall, we will face unpredictable and time-sensitive issues that will require sharp communication, honest conversations, and advocacy-based decision making. SGA is ready to assist in these forthcoming efforts, and we look forward to the difficult and necessary discussions that will be had for the foreseeable future.

    More substantively, here is a progress update on items in Campus Services that have either resulted from student advocacy or internal decision-making within Campus Services for the fall:

    Completed Items

    • Meal swipes are now allowed at all food truck vendors at Georgia Tech.
    • The Department of Housing and Residence Life has agreed to improve the regularity of direct communication to residents.
    • SGA has set up regular meetings with Housing & Residence Life, Student Center, CRC, Dining Services, and Stamps.

    In Progress Items

    • We are currently working with student groups and the Department of Housing and Residence life to advocate for no contract cancellation fees. Georgia Tech has sent three proposals for removing housing contract cancellation fees to the University System of Georgia. USG is currently reviewing those proposals.
    • SGA is continuing to advocate for international student housing support.
    • We are working with the Department of Campus Services to provide general support for returning students this Fall.
    • SGA is finalizing a proposal for a meal swipe semesterly donation initiative.
    • We are working with the Department of Campus Services to improve the quality of empathetic communication from all Campus Services’ departments
    • The CRC has taken over activity spaces in residence halls. SGA is working to ensure student input is provided for renovations to these spaces.
    • SGA is advocating for improved meal plan flexibility.
    • We are working with the Department of Parking and Transportation to ensure an increased level of transportation services is provided during the Fall semester.
    • The Department of Campus Services is working to provide general support for student-led advocacy groups.

    Change comes from many places, but change comes most swiftly when students speak vocally about what works and what doesn’t work. Thank you to every student who has reached out to us over the past few months to share concerns, ideas, and ask questions. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time now or in the future regarding your ideas, thoughts, and concerns regarding Campus Services. Being able to point directly to your words and your voice helps us to better advocate for change. 

    Lastly, in case you’re wondering what departments fall under Campus Services, here’s the list in brief: Dining Services, Buzzcard Center, Housing & Residence Life, Stamps, Georgia Tech Bookstore, Parking & Transportation, Student Center, and Campus Recreation Center.


    RETURN TO CAMPUS SURVEY RESULTS

    On June 15th, SGA distributed a Return to Class survey to all Georgia Tech students. Over a two week period, we received 4,071 responses. Here are a few of the survey highlights:

    • 32% of students said they would opt-out of on-campus instruction.
    • 29% of students said they were uncomfortable or extremely uncomfortable returning to on-campus instruction in the Fall.
    • 48% of students said they would live in on-campus housing in the Fall
    • 80% of students said they were likely or extremely likely to wear a mask on campus, but only 40% indicated they believed their peers were likely or extremely likely to wear one.
    • The top three concerns for returning to on-campus instruction were lack of social distancing, instructional space not being disinfecting, and inconsistent PPE usage.
    • Many students emphasized the importance of having a remote/online/distance learning option for health and safety reasons, international students who cannot return to Atlanta, in the event that a student or professor becomes ill, or in the event of a major outbreak. 

    These results have been reported to the Georgia Tech Administration and have been used to guide decisions as we prepare to return to campus. To view the full report of results, please click here.


    RACIAL JUSTICE ADVOCACY

    On Friday, June 12, 2020, SGA leaders met with the leaders of Black Student Organizations (BSOs) to discuss how SGA can bolster Institute support for Georgia Tech’s Black student community. This meeting came in the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice across the country and the world. Some of the requests that BSO leaders have made to President Cabrera and his administration include the following:

    1. Black student spaces. With the construction of the new Student Center, the Black Student Offices have been pushed to the corner of West campus, making spaces for Black students harder to access. BSOs need a space more centrally located on campus. Physical spaces are crucial in signaling inclusion on behalf of an institution for underrepresented groups.
    2. Black student scholarships. Nationally, Black students must take out loans at a higher rate than all other student groups in order to afford the cost of college, as recorded by the National Center for Education Statistics. Only two scholarships currently exist for minority students at Tech — Tech Promise and Goizueta. Neither of these scholarships has been given the sole focus of incentivizing the attendance and retention of undergraduate Black students.
    3. A stronger commitment to diversity, justice, and representation. Increased enrollment of Black students and increased hiring of Black professors, researchers, and lecturers. Increased support of black-owned businesses including food truck vendors.

    The full list of demands can be viewed here.

    SGA cabinet members have since elevated the list of demands that BSO leaders provided in our discussions with President Cabrera, members of his administration, and the leaders of campus departments. 

    Undergraduate SGA President Brielle Lonsberry and graduate SGA President Lea Harris wrote a follow-up letter to President Cabrera and Dr. Archie Ervin to further emphasize the importance of incorporating the feedback from BSO leaders into long term sustainable structural changes, making anti-bias and microaggression training accessible campus-wide, and urge the institute to publicly announce institute actions being made to support these goals.

    Undergraduate and graduate cabinet members Mykala Sinclair and Nettie Brown sat as panelists on the Race At Georgia Tech – A Call to Action talk on Thursday, July 16, 2020. During the discussion, President Cabrera announced five tangible actions the institute will be incorporating campus-wide. They include:

    1. Incorporating a bias and harassment component to the Institute’s new student orientation and employee onboarding programs.
    2. Implementing a new implicit bias training program for students and staff focused on racial bias and discrimination.
    3. Establishing a Georgia Tech Diversity and Inclusion Council to identify issues and propose solutions on an ongoing basis.
    4. Creating a Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) Community Council composed of students, staff, faculty, and members of GTPD to ensure open communication and collaboratively identify ways in which GTPD can continually improve how it serves the community.
    5. Creating a new Diversity Strategy position at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) reporting to the vice president for GTRI and dotted line report to the vice president for Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to lead diversity recruiting, training, and professional development support for enhanced career progression for underrepresented minorities and women research faculty and staff.

    Members of SGA’s undergraduate cabinet, Mykala Sinclair and Jackson Caruso met with the director of the Office of Undergraduate Admission to discuss what plans the office has to increase Black student recruitment and enrollment.

    Georgia Tech Dining has announced that it will partner with local, minority-owned food truck vendors to more than double the available food trucks on campus in the fall. A finalized schedule will be available soon. Additionally, these plans will increase the regularity of daily food truck availability on campus for the fall semester and increase accessibility to food trucks via meal plan inclusion.

    Members of SGA’s undergraduate cabinet, Mykala Sinclair and Kyle Smith joined a new working group created by the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED) called the Racial Injustice and Sexual Violence (RISV) Collective which had its first meeting on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. The Collective was charged with the responsibility of:

    1. Creating a culturally relevant Racial Inequality and Sexual Violence Education and Awareness Action Plan.
    2. Establishing accountability metrics for the execution and evaluation of these education and awareness protocols at Georgia Tech (starting in the Black community and hopefully expanding beyond).

    While we recognize the progress we have made, we also acknowledge that the fight for racial justice in our institutions of higher education will require systemic-level changes and continuous advocacy. We look forward to advancing these efforts in the year ahead.


    INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADVOCACY

    The COVID-19 pandemic has created serious challenges for international students who have continuously voiced their concerns to SGA. SGA elevated a letter signed by 300+ international students in advocacy efforts with President Cabrera and members of his administration. Additionally, SGA leaders met with the author of the letter to personally discuss strategies to advocate for international students. Some of the requests included:

    1. Remote instruction options. The Institute must provide a viable option for students to remotely complete their academic coursework, including expanding its online course offerings and developing a uniform policy governing participation and attendance for students in different time zones.
    2. Communicate guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. The Institute must communicate any relevant guidance from the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to students on F-1 visas and applicable immigration statuses, including any guidance about the completion of academic coursework full-time remotely in the fall semester.
    3. Tuition and fees adjustments. The Institute must address the new financial circumstances of international and out-of-state students, many of whom ordinarily pay full out-of-state tuition to attend classes in-person, and must seriously consider lowering tuition prices and expanding aid and scholarship opportunities for incoming and current international students.

    On July 6, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new guidance measures that stated that nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students would not be allowed to take a full online course load and remain in the United States. In the wake of this policy, undergraduate SGA President Brielle Lonsberry and graduate SGA President Lea Harris joined a working group to elevate student concerns on this policy. During which they pushed for greater accommodations to ensure international student access and safety. 

    SGA also received a list of questions and concerns about this policy from the Georgia Tech International Ambassadors that was elevated to campus administrators. On July 14, 2020, ICE rescinded this policy after a lawsuit was brought by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

    To support international students, Georgia Tech Housing has announced the following:

    1. The GT Housing contract no-penalty cancellation period has been extended.
    2. Housing options have been provided to all students regardless of residential/contract status.
    3. GT Housing has committed to increased communication with international students who plan to live on campus in the fall.
    4. Earlier housing availability for international students.

    LGBTQIA+ ADVOCACY

    Members of SGA Undergraduate Cabinet, Kyle, Grace, Emmett, and Joyce, have been working with undergrad Pride to advocate for more STI testing on campus, access to/advertising for Emory’s PREP (which is a preventative medication for AIDS), and we will be collaborating with the LGBTQIA Resource center at GT for event planning going forward. 

    Grace Swift, the VP of Communications, met with Undergrad Pride Alliance and spoke with previous leadership from the Pride Alliance and determined the following commitments that SGA can make:

    • Ensure that incoming first-year students/students in general know how to apply for name changes through the registrar so they aren’t deadnamed
    • Connect with the chairs of each school to get them to get thier faculty to take Trans 101 and Safe Space Training
    • Promote holidays that are relevant to the LGBTQIA+ community
    • Promote gender-inclusive housing options on campus
    • Advocate for multi-stall gender-inclusive restrooms (specifically in the new student center)
  • Title IX Letter to USG

    Title IX Letter to USG

    July 21, 2020

    Dear Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia,

    The Student Government Associations (SGA) of the University System of Georgia colleges and universities stand with survivors of sexual misconduct. As representatives of Georgia students, it is our duty to express our desire for Georgia colleges and universities to hold themselves to a higher standard than the Department of Education (DOE) requires with its recent amendments to Title IX. 

    We, as students, would be wrong to ignore the presence of positive change within these reforms. Title IX now explicitly covers sexual misconduct that occurs in fraternity and sorority housing and requires increased visibility of the Title IX Coordinator on college campuses.1 Additionally, the new classification of stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence as acts of sexual harassment marks a step forward in addressing and preventing sexual misconduct on college campuses.2

    That being said, changes to Title IX also strip survivors of several crucial protections. By narrowing the scope of complaints that colleges are required to investigate by changing the definition of sexual harassment to “unwelcome conduct” that is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to education,” all students who experience sexual harassment are not protected.3 Such a narrow definition of sexual harassment binds universities’ hands in their ability to take action against students who prevent their peers from receiving equal access to our quality Georgia public educations. We therefore ask that the University System of Georgia guides its colleges and universities to address sexual misconduct claims even if they do not fit the high standard of “severe” or “pervasive” and continue to use the definition of sexual harassment defined in the ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter.4

    Moreover, under the new reforms, colleges are not required to handle cases of sexual misconduct that occur outside the United States or outside a school program or activity.5 This will result in cases of sexual misconduct that occur on study abroad programs and in off-campus apartments not being investigated. However, under the Title IX Final Rule, colleges remain free to adopt disciplinary systems to address sexual misconduct committed outside the United States,6 and can offer supportive measures to students who report sexual harassment that occurred off-campus, as well as outside a school program or activity.7 We ask that the University System of Georgia compels its colleges and universities to investigate all claims that involve enrolled students, both on and off campus.

    To address the presumption of innocence aspect of the changes, these Title IX reforms now allow colleges and universities to choose between two different evidentiary standards: “preponderance of evidence” and “clear and convincing.”8 In many cases of sexual misconduct, these offenses occur in private places such as residence halls, residential housing, and fraternity housing, and without substantial quantities of documented evidence.9 This is evident by the fact that in 35.3 percent of incidents involving penetration among women who had consumed alcohol, the survivor was passed out or asleep for at least part of the incident of her rape.10 Consequently, a clear and convincing evidentiary standard inordinately disadvantages complainants, establishing the need for a preponderance of evidence standard. Furthermore, a preponderance of evidence standard aligns schools’ treatment of sexual misconduct complaints with similar civil rights statutes and more generally with courts’ handling of civil cases.11 Both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits race discrimination by educational institutions and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination in employment, use a preponderance of the evidence standard.12 The clear and convincing evidentiary standard would be inconsistent with the standard of proof established for violations of the civil rights laws and may guarantee the accused innocence, which is why we ask the University System of Georgia to establish preponderance of evidence as the evidentiary standard for our colleges and universities.

    Title IX reforms aim to address the previous existence of a de-facto college court system created in previous Title IX reforms. The DOE seeks to fix these problematic pseudo-courts by creating the guarantee of a cross-examination of the survivor. In allowing survivors to be cross-examined by their alleged abusers–or a representative of them–the DOE is refusing to acknowledge the traumatic nature of reliving an assault in a series of questioning in front of their abuser. Such an environment poses a significant threat of intimidating survivors to not pursue formal Title IX investigations.13 According to a 2018-2019 annual report from the the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where cross-examination of survivors began in 2018, since 2018, fewer students chose to pursue formal Title IX investigations and there was a significant increase in requests for an “Adaptable Resolution” or informal resolution that issues no punishments to the accused.14 The report states on page eighteen, “some Claimants who wanted University action taken in response to their concerns also expressed hesitation about pursuing an Investigative Resolution in light of the addition of a hearing and direct cross-examination under the Interim Policy.”15 In a reform ultimately aimed at allowing survivors of sexual misconduct to lead fulfilling, productive college careers and receive the education they earned with admittance, a cross-examination undermines the mental well-being of survivors and creates further trauma for survivors. Consequently, we ask the USG to establish guidelines for these mandatory cross-examinations that would allow for such reviews to be conducted in a manner that is tactful, respectful, and safe for survivors’ mental health. 

    Mental health issues are already incredibly prevalent on college campuses, and both the administrations and SGAs are committed to an ongoing fight to alleviate them, and to do better by our fellow students throughout all of Georgia.

    We recognize that Title IX is a substantial body of legislation, as are the changes to it. However, we still implore you to allow USG colleges and universities to hold themselves to a higher standard with regard to Title IX, especially when it comes to handling allegations of sexual assault. Our aim is to clearly delineate between strict Title IX rules and guidelines which leave room for USG interpretation. For every rule that is open to interpretation, we exhort USG to establish a survivor-focused justice-seeking process. This, we believe, will allow both the administrations and SGAs to better advocate for and protect survivors of sexual misconduct and continue to make our campus a safe place for everyone. 

    Sincerely,

    Georgia Tech SGA, University of Georgia SGA, Dalton State College SGA, Fort Valley State University SGA, Georgia College and State University SGA, Georgia State University, Georgia Gwinnett College SGA, Columbus State University SGA, Valdosta State University SGA

  • SGA Town Hall Announcement

    SGA Town Hall Announcement

    The Georgia Tech Student Government Association will be hosting a student town hall on Wednesday, July 22nd from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The panelists will include a few members of SGA leadership, as well as leadership from Georgia Tech International Ambassadors and the Residence Hall Association.

    SGA is in the process of collecting questions about Georgia Tech’s return to campus this fall, so that we can gather answers to as many as we possibly can. Click here to submit a question to us (this form will be open until Wednesday). We will also be accepting live questions through the Q&A feature on BlueJeans events.

    We want to use this time to let you know what we’ve been working on in regards to our advocacy efforts, as well as provide answers about the fall and what it will look like. This will also be a time for you to voice concerns so that we can better understand student sentiment. We would love to see you this Wednesday!  As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at sga@gatech.edu.

  • Volunteers Requested for First-Year Student Move-in

    Volunteers Requested for First-Year Student Move-in

    Georgia Tech Campus Services is requesting student volunteers to assist in providing a safe and positive move-in experience for students and their families during the two-day move-in on August 8th and 9th.

    From a centralized mobile check-in to a 30-minute unloading zone, the new, streamlined process is designed to help students check-in and move in while remaining safe and happy.  

    General volunteer positions include greeting families as they arrive for check-in, directing traffic, and helping roll bins to students’ buildings.  

    Volunteers can sign up for a shift by completing the sign-up form below where they can see a more detailed description of each position before signing up.  

    Volunteers can expect to receive virtual training for their assigned role the first week of August.  

  • SGA Letter to President Cabrera

    SGA Letter to President Cabrera on Covid-19

    July 7, 2020

    President Cabrera,

    In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the recent spike in cases in Georgia, we ask that you and the rest of the Georgia Tech administration set the health and safety of the Georgia Tech community as the top priority. Since we have been notified within the last day that the University System of Georgia (USG) has given Georgia Tech additional latitude to meet the unique needs of our campus, we would like to direct several concerns toward you and members of your administration. We recognize and greatly appreciate the USG’s recent move to mandate face coverings on campuses across the state and hope that this is a starting point to further protect students, faculty, and staff. We thank you for including students in the governance process thus far and wish to continue to elevate the concerns and desires of our student body. 

    We, as student leaders at Georgia Tech and on behalf of our entire undergraduate and graduate student body, stand with the 800+ academic professors1, 300+ international students2, and 2000+ students, alumni, and parents3 at Georgia Tech who released statements to demand action and outline their serious concerns for the Fall 2020 semester. 

    Since the pandemic began, students across our campus have demanded that Georgia Tech and the USG meaningfully address their concerns. Students continue to express that the current Fall 2020 plans are causing fear and emotional distress due to their inability to make safe choices for remote coursework or to return to campus safely. While the ability to require face coverings more widely indoors will address some concerns, we still want to express the need to support students and faculty in their personal accommodations to  increase the safety of on-campus experiences and hybrid courses. Young people remain the fastest growing demographic to be infected with Covid-19, and it also must be recognized that campuses are at high risk for the spread of infection. Georgia Tech and USG leaders must protect both the physical and mental health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

    Similarly, a sentiment heard widely is the need to accommodate students who have faced barriers and inequities in accessing the tools and technology required to continue their education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, Georgia Tech must provide safe and viable course opportunities for our immunocompromised, out-of-state, on-campus resident, and international student populations. Students who are themselves at higher risk and/or live with and regularly interact with individuals who are at higher risk of the coronavirus have repeatedly voiced their deep concern for the lack of remote course delivery options and safety precautions being put in place on campus this Fall. These students seek assurance of remote accommodations being made available during hybrid course delivery to reduce transmission for those who fall under USG outlined underlying medical conditions. 

    International students, who make up approximately 23% of our total student population, have asked for viable options to complete academic coursework given the travel concerns and immigration restrictions around the world and now within our own borders. With the new changes to the active Student and Exchange Visitor Program, our international students have been disadvantaged and left in the dark on how to proceed with their plans for the Fall in order to maintain their visa status and accommodate safety. Additionally, due to the expected change in experience on campus, many international and out-of-state students, who normally pay full out-of-state tuition, are going through new financial and economic challenges. We ask that in your advocacy efforts with USG you champion lowering tuition prices, expanding aid and scholarship opportunities, and waiving cancelation fees to support students.

    On behalf of the diverse student body that we represent, we strongly urge the following: 

    1. The Board of Regents and Georgia Tech administration partner together to safeguard the health and safety needs of the Georgia Tech community, informed by scientific evidence. 
    2. Make remote course delivery available for all students during the Fall 2020 semester in order to reduce disease transmission risk and to reduce disruption of educational delivery in the event of worsening pandemic conditions. We emphasize that no student, faculty, or staff should be coerced into risking their health and the health of their families by working and/or learning on campus when there is a remote/online equivalent. 
    3. Make on-campus experiences and courses available for students who need access to campus residences and on-campus laboratories or other specialized facilities, while ensuring accommodations can be sought to access such resources for students with USG outlined underlying medical conditions.
    4. Provide large-scale Covid-19 testing and ensure timely contact tracing of new infections. 
    5. Adjust tuition prices, waive cancellation fees, and expand scholarship opportunities and aid to support students whose finances have been impacted by the pandemic.

    With so much uncertainty facing our student body, now is not the time for business as usual. This moment demands that the USG and Georgia Tech demonstrate steady and compassionate leadership that acts in the best interest of students, faculty, and staff. As the Fall is quickly approaching and the landscape of the semester continues to evolve we highlight the importance of transparent, timely communication to students about all decisions being discussed and made. We are counting on you to do what is right.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    In Progress and Service,

    Brielle Lonsberry
    Undergraduate Student Body President 

    Lea Harris
    Graduate Student Body President 

    Kyle Smith
    Undergraduate Executive Vice President 

    Jay McKinney
    Graduate Executive Vice President 

    References:

    1. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdjyLGfLIncWtm8fntduj3mMhZhhGtF2khGYHNJdZIXu1xBhg/viewform?fbclid=IwAR1g9SmUIpHVwoNjILY3_2SCwcsJWic-GS4DBEs3Dc6WSx-rg8d3n5C5dOU
    2. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Dvylyu2REOBh0QFT5FK1rEEwjPes8r9hZGCBDFWUsMI/edit
    3. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdzJmBzud15maXjXwJwwXPnq98kxjSptcKIg4kaMFI8TTC7Lg/viewform
  • Students Return to Classes Survey

    Students Return to Classes Survey

    Yellow Jackets, 

    I hope you are doing as well as you can be during these times. As we are in the process of returning to on-campus instruction in the Fall, it is important for us in the GT Covid-19 Recovery Task Force to gather and address concerns to better cater to students returning to campus. Our first priority is keeping our Georgia Tech community safe. 

    To gauge concerns for students planning to take courses on campus this Fall, we are providing a survey titled “Undergraduate and Graduate Student Return to Campus Survey,” that will collect feedback on the upcoming Fall instruction. Please take a few minutes to fill this out, found here, as it will be very important in making sure concerns are reported and addressed for your return to campus.

    SGA greatly values your input on how we can best advocate for you! I can’t wait until we are all united on campus once again. 

    In Progress and Service,

    Brielle Lonsberry
    Undergraduate Student Body President

  • SGA’s Response to Student Demands

    SGA’s Response to Student Demands

    1. SGA’s undergraduate and graduate Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs and Vice Presidents of Student Life are initiating conversations with the admissions office, including the Black Student Recruitment Team, to discuss further and expanded efforts to recruit more Black students to Georgia Tech and engage further with local middle and high schools as well as increase resources allocated to the Black Student Recruitment Team.
    2. Joint executive leadership has participated and will continue to engage with President Cabrera, Dean Stein, and Dr. Ervin, among others, to advocate for the hiring and retention of more black administration and faculty.
    3. Georgia Tech Campus Services has already committed to bringing additional food trucks to campus this Fall due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. SGA’s undergraduate and graduate Vice Presidents of Campus Services are meeting with Campus Services leadership this week to advocate for black-owned food trucks and the continuation of student involvement in the selection process. 
    4. Under USG Student Voting Privileges Policy, section 4.1.3, Georgia Tech is required to permit an excused absence if a student’s class schedule prevents them from voting in any federal, state, or local elections. SGA worked with the Registrar’s Office throughout the Spring of 2020 to set up the process for Tech students to request an excused absence. Due to COVID-19, the communications and promotion of these efforts have been postponed until this Fall. To request an excused absence to vote please visit https://registrar.gatech.edu/info/request-for-excused-absence-for-voting.
    5. SGA’s undergraduate and graduate Vice Presidents of Campus Services are meeting with Campus Services leadership and student organizations in upcoming weeks to discuss the treatment of campus services’ workers, specifically black workers in the dining halls and those who operate campus transportation, as well as potential changes to the food truck program on campus. 
    6. Joint executive leadership has participated and will continue to engage with President Cabrera, Dean Stein, and Dr. Ervin, among others, to advocate for an expanded ethics curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students. In the short term, joint leadership is working to expand bias-training workshop capacity across campus and diversity training for anyone involved in academic instruction (TAs, professors, staff).

    Any questions or comments are welcome at sga@gatech.edu!

  • Student Engagement Events and Listening Sessions

    Student Engagement Events and Listening Sessions

    Sponsored by the Division of Student Life

    Coffee with CARE

    The Center for Assessment, Education and Referral (CARE) is available to help you navigate resources, provide support and listen during difficult times. Coffee with CARE is a drop-in opportunity for students to learn about campus and community resources and ask questions in a non-clinical setting. We are reaching out especially to Black and African American-identified students and other communities who are impacted by current events. No question or challenge is too big or small. CARE recognizes the need to support a student in every aspect of well-being. Whether it is your emotional, social, physical, academic or financial well-being, CARE wants to make sure that you can get connected with the support you need. Each week will focus on a different topic related to maximizing your mental health and well-being.  If you have been considering coming to CARE, this is a great opportunity to get to know the CARE clinical staff before initiating services.

    Week 1:
    Are you a student who is seeking support or experiencing fatigue due to the uncertainty of the current cultural climate protests, COVID-19, 24/7 news cycle, exposure to violence?

    Join us for our discussion of self-care strategies, creating boundaries and practicing self-compassion.

    Thursday, June 11: 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
    BlueJeans Meeting ID: 423211297

    Friday, June 12: 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
    BlueJeans Meeting ID: 439868285

    Week 2:
    Do you want to explore strategies on how to support your friends? Join us in a discussion on how to have difficult conversations, practice empathy, and learn the difference between listening and giving advice.

    Monday, June 15th: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    BlueJeans Meeting ID: 565404910

    Tuesday, June 16th: 10:00 AM – 11:00
    MBlueJeans Meeting ID:  521495207

    Counseling Center: Let’s Talk Special Offerings

    The Counseling Center is available to offer support to students who want to be heard during these difficult times.  We extend a particular invitation to Black and African American-identified students and other communities who feel the impact of current events and want to be listened to, heard, and supported.

    “Let’s Talk” is a Georgia Tech Counseling Center program that provides easy access to informal, friendly, supportive, and confidential consultations with Georgia Tech counselors. Counselors will hold virtual walk-in hours throughout the week.  Most Let’s Talk sessions last about 30 minutes. 

    To sign-up for an individual time that fits your schedule please email one of our counselors for the day and time you prefer.  Days and times are listed below.  They will send you a confidential Blue Jeans link in order to protect your privacy.

    To access a counselor after hours and on weekends please call the main Counseling Center number at 404-894-2575 and follow the prompts.  To initiate formal counseling services please contact GT CARE at 404-894-3498.

    Community Listening Circles and Special Events

    These various community listening circles center black students. Staff from each Center will be available to offer support and resources. We invite all students who may need/want this space to join us for community and virtual healing.

    • LGBTQIA Resource Center, Student Diversity Programs, Veteran’s Resource Center, Women’s Resource Center
      • Wednesday, June 10th: 2pm-3pm EST
      • BlueJeans Meeting ID 878 991 611
      • Join staff from the LGBTQIA Resource Center, Student Diversity Programs, the Veteran’s Resource Center, and the Women’s Resource Center for a community listening circle that centers Black Georgia Tech students. Staff from the Centers will be available to offer support, resources, and opportunity for healing.
    • LGBTQIA Resource Center: Black LGBTQIA Community Listening Circle
      • Friday, June 5th: 4pm-5pm EST
      • BlueJeans Meeting ID 590 510 148
      • Join staff from the LGBTQIA Resource Center for a community listening circle that centers Black LGBTQIA students. Staff from the Center will be available to offer support and resources. We invite all LGBTQIA students to join us for community and virtual healing.
    • Women’s Resource Center: Black Women’s Community Listening Circle
      • Friday, June 5th: 12pm-1pm EST
      • BlueJeans Meeting ID 805 290 111
      • Join staff from the Women’s Resource Center for a community listening circle centering on Black women. WRC staff will be available to offer support, resources, and a dedicated space for student processing and healing.
    • Veteran’s Resource Center
      • Friday, June 12th: 12pm-1pm EST
      • BlueJeans Meeting ID 772 185 774
    Information for Registered Student Organizations

    Student Organizations and groups looking to have conversations, listening sessions, or taking actions towards creating more equitable and inclusive communities are encouraged to connect with staff from the Collective for Inclusion, Advocacy, and Support Centers:

    Grand Challenges Action through Education Workshop

    Saturday, June 6 from 3:00 – 4:30 PM

    Guided by the MSW @USC Diversity Toolkit, we will discuss identity, privilege, race, gender and sexuality

    Office of the Arts

    Belonging and Community: A Conversation on Atlanta, Art & Connections with Bill T. Jones

    Thursday, June 25 (Time TBA)
    Georgia Tech Arts in partnership with WABE & ATL PBA present a virtual town hall discussion with renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones that explores the importance of community when facing the sense of isolation and divisiveness present in society today. Jones will be joined by Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera, with the conversation moderated by Lois Reitzes, host of WABE’s “City Lights.” Together, they will examine questions probing the ways in which we all have felt isolated before and during this pandemic; how we can come together and create a sense of community, of belonging; and how art can help us to imagine a new future of connections. This event is free and open to all.Long before the pandemic, Jones was exploring this concept of community while developing a new work titled What Problem? that is inspired by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the character of Pip from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. It is an adaptation of Deep Blue Sea made for a proscenium performance. Georgia Tech Arts will present What Problem? at the Ferst Center for the Arts in October, and it will also include opportunities for professional and novice performers from the Atlanta community to participate in the production along with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company members. Visit https://arts.gatech.edu/content/what-problem to learn more.

    Staff Development

    “I’m Not Okay”- A Conversation with Black Staff in the Division of Student Life

    With everything going on in the world, it’s okay to not be okay. Join us in a conversation as we check-in with each other and build community and support during these challenging times. The conversation will be facilitated by Stephanie Ray, Joi Alexander, and LaRonda Hollis

    When: June 10, 2020
    Time: 3-4:30 pm
    Location: Blue Jeans Link: https://bluejeans.com/825187432/9230?src=calendarLink

  • SGA’s Joint Call for Solidarity with the GT Community

    SGA’s Joint Call for Solidarity with the GT Community

    A Letter from Undergraduate and Graduate SGA

    Fellow Yellow Jackets,

    In light of the recent protests over the tragic loss of far too many Black lives, we join in solidarity with those calling for justice. At this pivotal moment, we cannot remain silent because our silence would make us complicit in the violence and oppression aimed at Black communities. We want to assure you that the Georgia Tech Student Government Association believes that Black lives matter and that we hold the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery in our thoughts and prayers. These most recent incidents have represented an all-out assault on the Black community and illustrate that our justice system is fundamentally broken. So many members of our community, particularly those in the Black community, have been traumatized, angered, and saddened by the manifestation of systemic racism seen in these events. We hear and share your pain. We urge you to continue to exercise your rights, remain civically engaged, and take care of your emotional and mental health during this time. SGA has created a guidebook (attached below)  with some of these resources. We want you to know that we stand with you and will continue to utilize our roles to ensure that Georgia Tech upholds equity as we move forward.

    Over the past few days, the Student Government Association has been reaching out to Black student leaders and other stakeholders across campus to first listen, and secondly, develop a plan to move forward, address the concerns raised by the student body, and advocate for meaningful reforms. This topic is important — you are important — and because we wanted to provide substantive updates and resources for students, we recognize that our response has not been as quick as we would have preferred. To create a campus culture centered on equity and inclusion, we must dedicate the necessary time to focus on solutions not just for the short term but for the incoming generations of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. While we continue to develop a comprehensive plan, we have identified and are pursuing steps to ensure that we protect each and every Georgia Tech student. We need your feedback to help us do so.

    Our next steps:

    • Cabinet members from both the Undergraduate and Graduate SGA are meeting with senior leadership and training officers from the Georgia Tech Police Department to thoroughly review department policies and officer training protocols, address student concerns of implicit bias and use of force, and set the foundation for continued student input on this topic. 
    • Joint SGA leadership is meeting with Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President of Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Georgia Tech. As part of this meeting, we will relay student sentiment and concerns to establish additional ways Georgia Tech can foster equity and inclusion for minority groups of students. 
    • Student leaders and members of Georgia Tech’s Black Student Organizations will be invited to meet with SGA leadership to formally express their views and work with SGA on initiatives moving forward. 
    • Joint SGA cabinets will work with the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED) to expand and communicate resources and support for minority students during this time. 

    To help guide SGA in our efforts to advocate for you, we encourage you to click here to answer the following question: “What would help you feel safer as a member of the Georgia Tech community?” Your responses will help us better understand what our next steps should be to thoroughly address the concerns of the student body. Thank you in advance for your open and honest responses. 

    While we continue to reach out to stakeholders across Georgia Tech’s campus, we have compiled a comprehensive list of resources available to students in Atlanta and across the nation. As we navigate these difficult times together, please view these resources and if you know of additional resources and would like to share with others, please email us and we will add them to the page.

    We are here for you, now and always. As an organization, we remain committed to standing up for your voices, especially those in our historically underserved and marginalized populations, and ensuring that each and every Georgia Tech student has the opportunity to succeed. If we can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at sga@gatech.edu. To learn more about our response and access to additional resources, click here to see our news update.

    From the Undergraduate and Graduate Student Government Association Executive Cabinets,

    In Progress and Service,

    Brielle Lonsberry, Undergraduate Student Body President
    Kyle Smith, Undergraduate Executive Vice President
    Lea Harris, Graduate Student Body President
    Jay McKinney, Graduate Executive Vice President

    Available Resources

    Comprehensive Resource Guide

    The Student Government Association External Affairs team put together a comprehensive guide of all of the resources listed below. You can click below to download the guide and access all of these resources in one place.

    How to Speak Out
    NameContact Information
    Your City’s Chief of PoliceVaries by Location
    Your County’s SheriffVaries by Location
    Your State Patrol HeadquartersVaries by Location
    Your MayorVaries by Location
    Your GovernorVaries by Location
    Local Accountability/Human Rights OfficeVaries by Location
    Chief Erika Shields (Atlanta Police)(404) 546-6900
    Sheriff Ted Jackson (Fulton County Sheriff)(404) 612-5100
    Georgia Department of Public Safety(404) 624-7477

    How to Protest Safely
    General Information
    • Only attend protests with transparent leadership linked to legitimate community/activism organizations
    • If you are an international student, be aware that if you get arrested, you could potentially lose your visa
    • We are still in the midst of a pandemic, so remember to wear a mask, socially distance if you are able, and try to quarantine after going to a protest
    • Under the 4th Amendment, you do not have to give your passwords to your devices to the police. Facial recognition passwords are not protected.
    • You only have to identify yourself by Name and DOB, hold your responses, and wait to speak to your attorney. Do not volunteer any information
    • Always stay with your group. Some police tactics are to separate people.
    • Plan your transportation. Usually, roads are cut off for a protest and/or march. Consider carpooling and using public transportation.
    • Let your family and/or close friends know that you are protesting so that they can support you and know where you are. 
    How to Act
    • Act Boldly
    • Follow Protest Leaders
    • Participate in chants
    What to Wear
    • Clothing:
      • Nondescriptive
      • Comfortable
      • Fitted clothing that is hard to grab
    • Face masks, and bring extra if possible
    • Thick sneakers or boots
    • Goggles (including heat resistant goggles)
    • Emergency contacts on your arms
      • Atlanta Jail Support: (404) 689-1519
      • Your Local Jail Support: Varies by Location
    • Pull your hair back
    What to Bring
    • Water
    • Cash
    • ID
    • Snacks
    • First aid
    • Protest signs
    • A cell-phone (fully-charged) in airplane mode with a passcode lock
    • A backpack or fanny pack to carry your items
    What to Do if You Get Hit With Tear Gas
    • Remain calm and take the following steps:
    • Avoid using oils/lotions because they can trap chemicals and prolong exposure
    • Breathe slowly, blow your nose, rinse your mouth, cough, and spit
    • If possible, shut your eyes
    • Quickly move away from the tear gas canister
    • Remove your contacts, or have someone with clean hands remove your contacts and through them away, or wash your glasses
    • Wash your hands and rinse your eyes
      • If possible, use a solution of half antacid/half water, or use milk
    • Get home, air out your clothes, wash your clothes, and shower
    Advocacy/Donations
    NameWebsite
    Georgia NAACP (or local NAACP chapter)Click Here
    George Floyd Memorial FundClick Here
    Reclaim the BlockClick Here
    Black Lives MatterClick Here
    Campaign ZeroClick Here
    Black Visions CollectiveClick Here
    ATL Solidarity FundClick Here
    Black Youth Project 100Click Here
    Color of ChangeClick Here
    National NAACP OrganizationClick Here
    Southern Center for Human RightsClick Here
    The King CenterClick Here
    National Center for Civil and Human RightsClick Here
    Georgia Tech Resources
    NameWebsite
    Office of Minority EducationClick Here
    Center for Student Diversity and InclusionClick Here
    Center for Engineering Education and DiversityClick Here
    Health InitiativesClick Here
    Women’s Resource CenterClick Here
    LGBTQIA Resource CenterClick Here
    GT Counseling CenterClick Here
    SGA Legal AdvisingClick Here
    Mental Health Resources
    NameWebsite
    The Steve FundClick Here
    (or text STEVE to 741741)
    Therapy for Black GirlsClick Here
    Therapy for Black MenClick Here
    Black Emotional and Mental HealthClick Here
    Silence the ShameClick Here
    The Boris Lawrence Henson FoundationClick Here
    BetterHelpClick Here
    The Trevor ProjectClick Here
    National Suicide Prevention Line1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    Black Student Organizations (BSO)
    NameWebsite
    African American Student UnionClick Here
    African Student AssociationClick Here
    Black Graduate Student AssociationClick Here
    Black Student Recruitment TeamClick Here
    Caribbean Student AssociationClick Here
    GT National Pan-Hellenic CouncilClick Here
    GT Society of Black EngineersClick Here

    Education Tools

    BOOKS (AVAILABLE FROM THE GT LIBRARY)

    TitleAuthor
    I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsMaya Angelou
    Just MercyBryan Stevenson
    The Fire Next TimeJames Baldwin
    The New Jim CrowMichelle Alexander
    The Warmth of Other SunsIsabel Wilkerson
    Their Eyes Were Watching GodZora Neale Hurston

    MOVIES

    TitleSource
    13thNetflix
    American SonNetflix
    Dear White PeopleNetflix
    See You YesterdayNetflix
    When They See UsNetflix
    If Beale Street Could TalkHulu
    The Hate U GiveHulu
    The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975For Rent
    ClemencyFor Rent
    Fruitvale StationFor Rent
    I Am Not Your NegroFor Rent

    Feedback

    To help guide SGA in our efforts to advocate for you, we encourage you to click below to answer the following question: “What would help you feel safer as a member of the Georgia Tech community?” Your responses will help us better understand what our next steps should be to thoroughly address the concerns of the student body.

    Steps Moving Forward

    Georgia Tech Police Department

    Cabinet members from both the Undergraduate and Graduate SGA are meeting with senior leadership and training officers from the Georgia Tech Police Department to thoroughly review department policies and officer training protocols, address student concerns of implicit bias and use of force, and set the foundation for continued student input on this topic. 

    Office Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Joint SGA leadership is meeting with Dr. Archie Ervin, Vice President of Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Georgia Tech. As part of this meeting, we will relay student sentiment and concerns to establish additional ways Georgia Tech can foster equity and inclusion for minority groups of students. 

    Black Student Organizations

    Student leaders and members of Georgia Tech’s Black Student Organizations will be invited to meet with SGA leadership to formally express their views and work with SGA on initiatives moving forward.

    Office of Minority Educational Development

    Joint SGA cabinets will work with the Office of Minority Educational Development (OMED) to expand and communicate resources and support for minority students during this time. 

  • Georgia Tech Summer Health Initiatives

    Georgia Tech Summer Health Initiatives

    With campus life disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Tech Student Government Association is committed to continuing to provide resources for students. As part of this commitment, SGA has worked with Georgia Tech Health Initiatives to obtain a list of resources available to students during the summer months.

    A Message from Georgia Tech Health Initiatives

    Georgia Tech Health Initiatives is continuing to follow guidance from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health to limit personal contact to reduce the risk of exposure of COVID-19. Yet, we have not forgotten about the health and well-being of Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff and are ready and willing to meet your needs virtually!

    Check out our virtual offerings for the summer below!

    Well Being Weekly

    Join us for Well-Being Weekly all summer long!

    • Mindful Mondays – 4:00 p.m. Mindfulness meditation practices to start your week
    • TEDx Talk Tuesdays – 12:00 p.m. A Ted Talk and discussion over lunch
    • Well-Being Wednesdays – 2:00 p.m. Wellness trivia on a variety of health and wellbeing topics
    • VOICE Message Thursdays – 1:00 p.m. Information on supporting survivors, 10 signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships, and virtual harassment topics
    • Flavorful Fridays- 12:00 p.m. Join our Dietitians on Instagram Live (@gthealthinitiatives) for recipe ideas and/or spicy nutrition conversation

    Register here to get access to the Blue Jeans links! Open to faculty, staff and students

    Fit to Thrive

    Join us for a 6-week lunch and learn style series designed to teach faculty, staff, and students how to incorporate the dimensions of well-being into their daily lives. Wednesdays 12-1pm

    To Register click here
    May 13 – June 17

    For Questions Contact:
    Amber Johnson
    amber.johnson@health.gatech.edu

    Jackets Journal Journey

    What do Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Frederick Douglass all have in common? Each of these famous figures kept a journal to record their experiences, thoughts, or feelings. Journaling promotes self-care, enhances our immune system functioning and has been proven to reduce stress. Join Health Initiatives’ Jacket Journal Journey for a weekly journal prompt every Monday on Facebook and Instagram (@GTHealthInitiatives) to help you get started.  

    Mindfulness Book Club

    Join the Georgia Tech community in reading and discussing the book “Mindfulness Meditation: Your Guide to Achieving a Life of Peace by Reducing Stress and Anxiety through Mindfulness Meditation” by Daniel K. Barton, while also learning simple mindfulness exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

    The sessions are open to faculty, staff and students and will be held over the course of 4 weeks throughout the month of June using BlueJeans conferencing.

    There are two days/times to choose from: 
    Wednesdays: 10am – 11am
    Thursdays: 3pm – 4pm 

    To Register Click Here

    Virtual Wellness Coaching

    Wellness coaching is now VIRTUAL! Wellness coaches will help you achieve your goals by guiding you through discussion and reflection. You can explore fitness, sleep, stress, relationships, future plans, and more.

    For More Information: 
    https://healthinitiatives.gatech.edu/support-services/wellness-coaching

    To register click here

    Open to undergraduate and graduate students only!

    Nutrition Consults Go Virtual

    All students can meet with our dietitians to receive individual counseling via BlueJeans. Each initial visit includes a one-hour appointment, an analysis of your current eating plan, and an action plan addressing your individual goals. Our dietitians see students who want to address disordered eating habits, change their eating habits, manage a medical diagnosis or concern, or learn how to stay nourished while following specific food restrictions or allergies. Our dietitians are also members of Georgia Tech’s multidisciplinary Eating Disorder Treatment Team.

      To make an appointment, email nutrition@gatech.edu 

    Open to undergraduate and graduate students only!

    The Body Positive

    Through the generous allotment from JAC, Health Initiatives is bringing The Body Positive to campus.  The mission of The Body Positive program is, “To teach people how to develop balanced, joyful self-care and a relationship with their whole selves that is guided by love, forgiveness, and humor so they can focus on the things in life that really matter.” Research completed in 2014 at Stanford University demonstrated that the Be Body Positive model is strongly associated with self-compassion, healthy eating and exercise, more satisfying relationships, emotional wellbeing, and lower levels of anxiety.  We hope to bring this mindset to Georgia Tech to create a culture where positive body image, healthful eating, and self-care are the expected norms.

    Health Initiatives is able to offer the following opportunities through this program:

    1. You can be trained to be a Body Positive Facilitator at Tech
    2. You can access an online course to transform your own relationship with your body
      • Be Body Positive FundamentalsA deeper dive into the 5 Competencies for personal exploration. You’ll have access to videos, guided meditations, and worksheets where you can do your own self-exploration with the course material.
      • Body Positive Health – This course is an abridged version of the full fundamentals course. Not sure if you’re ready for the full course? This is a great place to start! You can decide to complete the fundamentals course after learning more.
      • Interested in the online courses or becoming a Body Positive facilitator? Email us at nutrition@gatech.edu These opportunities are open to students, faculty, and staff.
    Georgia Tech Collegiate Recovery Program

    Weekly All Recovery Meeting

    Begins May 6, 2020
    Wednesdays at 3 pm
    BlueJeans Link: TBD

    Hosted by the Georgia Tech Collegiate Recovery Program, the All Recovery Meeting, is for any student who is struggling with substance use, has questions about their substance use, or is concerned about themselves or a friend. All students are welcome to attend! This is a safe and supportive environment to openly discuss issues with alcohol and other drug use and the challenges that come in a time of social isolation. It’s important to stay healthy both mentally and physically during these stressful and uncertain times and this meeting is here to provide support to anyone who needs it.

    For more information and to receive the Blue Jeans Link, contact
    Christina Owens at christina.owens@studentlife.gatech.edu

    VOICE at Georgia Tech

    As Georgia Tech takes measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, VOICE wants to remind you that we are here for you 24/7. Whether you are on or off campus, VOICE is continuing to provide confidential services to those impacted by sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking.  Here is how to access VOICE: 

    If you need immediate support call GTPD at 404-894-2500 and ask for the on-call VOICE Advocate. You do not need to make a police report and you only need to provide a phone number in order to reach an Advocate.

    For non-urgent support, VOICE Advocates are available to speak with students by phone, to meet either via video conferencing or face-to-face, and to accompany them to seek other needed services. To schedule an appointment, call Amanda Planchard at 404-385-4451 or Jennifer Gagen 404-385-4464. Leave a message and the Advocate will call you back promptly during business hours.Be aware that isolation can create safety risks and trigger trauma for survivors. During social distancing or quarantines, it’s normal to feel uncertain, trapped, socially isolated or like you don’t have control. For people who have survived traumatic experiences, these feelings and experiences can trigger trauma symptoms to resurface or increase. They also may exacerbate underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. We know that as students are advised to move away from campus, many are moving to off-campus living quarters with their significant others, family, or returning to their childhood homes. Students who live in environments where abuse has occurred face additional barriers to accessing support and an increase in abusive tactics like verbal and physical abuse and interference with academic work. VOICE Advocates are here to support you and explore options and strategies to increase your safety. VOICE will work with you to find a safe and confidential means to have a discussion. Remember, being a proactive bystander means checking in on friends, finding ways to connect virtually, and recognizing when someone may be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship. 

    Contact a VOICE Advocate to access support or to learn more about how you can help.

  • Graduate SGA Response to the Death of Ahmaud Arbery

    Graduate SGA Response to the Death of Ahmaud Arbery

  • Undergraduate SGA Response to the Death of Ahmaud Arbery

    Undergraduate SGA Response to the Death of Ahmaud Arbery