Southeast Missouri State University student publication

SGA update: Oct. 16, 2017 meeting

Monday, October 16, 2017

Treasurer Luke LeGrand reported an additional $1.7 million the university needs and does not have at Monday evening’s Student Government Association meeting.

SGA Senate participated in a survey this week to share thoughts on the effectiveness of the organization.

Student Representative to the University Foundation’s Board of Directors Insley Smith gave a report from the board meeting. Smith said $4.2 million has been raised through donations and they were able to award two “We are one” scholarships for $5,000 each.

Smith also summarized President Carlos Vargas’ speech to the board, in which he said Southeast’s student retention rate has risen significantly but there has been a 4 percent decline in enrollment. Additionally the university has lost around 250 international students.

In regard to the state of the budget and department restructuring, Vargas reportedly referred to “painful conversations” that will need to be had soon. He said there will be significant changes but “we can come out of this stronger.” Smith said Vargas hopes to improve faculty and staff retention and student enrollment.

Smith also reported Southeast’s dance program has received accreditation.

Guest speaker Andre Parker, who serves on the executive board of the not-for-profit organization Old Town Cape, spoke to the Senate about the initiative titled Vote Your Main Street.

He said Cape Girardeau is one of 24 cities, including New Orleans, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, in contention to receive a national grant for $100,000 for the preservation and revitalization of the city.

Parker said if Cape Girardeau wins, Old Town Cape plans to use the money to improve Ivers Square, the location of Tunes at Twilight. He said Ivers Square is named for James Ivers, a Cape Girardeau resident who was born a slave, gained his freedom and died fighting for the Union Army in the Civil War.

Next week, SGA will welcome its first ever Regional Campus Representative, Jessye Griffin, as a non-voting representative for Southeast’s satellite campuses.

Chief of Staff Breanne Bleichroth said part of her responsibility is to act as liaison between the city of Cape Girardeau and SGA. She updated the Senate about some things going on in city meetings. The Safe House for Women is looking to expand, having so far met 50 percent of its fundraising goal. The Humane Society of Southeast Missouri also is hoping to expand its facilities.

Bleichroth said she hopes to invite mayoral candidates to a meeting of the SGA Senate to hear their stance on issues that affect the Southeast community.

Bleichroth said the City of Cape Girardeau signed a grant for body cameras for police officers. The cameras should be available to officers by the beginning of next year.

SGA will be getting a count on recycling garbage cans around campus and considering what ways the system can be improved.

Faculty representative to SGA Jim McGill said Faculty Senate will meet this week. He said the expected point of interest is implementation of new student evaluation systems to be introduced from here on out.

The Southeast Arrow was allocated funds to attend a conference in Dallas where they are in contention for a Pinnacle Award. The Historic Preservation Association was allocated funds to attend the Past Forward conference in Chicago.

Eight organizations were approved by the Senate this week, including “eat.drink.belong...on campus” and “Best Buddies,” a program that facilitates friendships among peers with disabilities.