Engagement Council replaces SGA
By Eric Rose
This has been a challenging year for the Student Government
Association according to John Spranza, Georgia Highlands College director of Student
It is also their last, due to a trend of declining SGA participation.
Starting in the fall an alternative leadership program called the Student
Engagement Council will be implemented.
The SEC will consist of representatives of the student body called “Students
at Large,” representatives of the various student organizations
and representatives of the faculty/staff and administration.
The SEC will vote on issues that affect student activities and will also
serve as the budget committee for student activities at the end of the
The decision to replace the SGA with an alternative organization was researched
and approved by Spranza and the current SGA.
Spranza said the decision to look at alternate forms of student government
was made because of a lack of student participation in the current SGA.
“Participation was nonexistent,” said Spranza. He said that
the level of student involvement was “not fulfilling the intent
of the constitution when it was changed two years ago.”
Spranza said another problem that plagued the SGA was the provision for
two senator positions from every campus, which it had been unable to fill,
commenting that the SGA was “too large for what FC was equipped
to deal with.”
Spranza said that SGA elections were another setback. He said that registration
for SGA elections this year was dismal.
“There were only two applications for the three (paid) offices.
Both people applied for the same office of vice president,” he explained.
The new student government would not be elected directly by the students.
The club members will elect their presidents who will serve as council
The student-at-large candidates will go through an application interview
process, but unlike the current SGA, none of the positions will be paid
as part of the SEC.
Since the SGA’s constitution required only its own approval for
the change, the change was voted on and then passed to Georgia Highlands College president,
Dr. Randy Pierce.
A new constitution was drafted by Spranza with help from the current SGA
and others. The new document is entitled “The Constitution of the
Student Body of Georgia Highlands College.”
The model for the new student government program came from Dalton State
College’s program, which is successfully completing its first year.
“I took what they created and adapted it to Floyd,” said Spranza.
The largest body of the SEC will be the Presidents’ Leadership Council.
The PLC will consist of the presidents of all the student organizations
as well as two student-at-large representatives from the main campus and
one from each of the satellite campuses.
The “Students at Large” will not be affiliated with any clubs
or organizations and will represent the student body.
Along with the PLC, the SEC will also contain the director of student
life, the vice president of student development, the vice president of
finance and two faculty members nominated by the vice president of academic
The SEC will convene to discuss and vote on issues that affect student
activities. It also has the power to approve the forming of new student
organizations and the functions of all FC clubs. There will be three main
committees for the planning and execution of student activities--one for
publicity, one for entertainment and one for cultural arts. Spranza said
other committees can be added as needed.
In order to serve on the SEC, students must have at least a 2.25 GPA.
The PLC elects the chairperson from its own membership; the chairperson
holds the deciding vote in a tie. PLC members can be removed from the
SEC by a unanimous vote of the membership, but only for just cause.
PLC members must attend at least 51 percent of the meetings held in their
term of office to be able to vote during the budget hearings at the end
of the academic year.
In order to institute a change to SEC policy, such as the addition of
an amendment, the SEC must be presented a proposal that has the signatures
of 50 Georgia Highlands College students.
“If anyone wants to make a change to this constitution, they can
bring it to the SEC along with a show of student support,” Spranza
said. The SEC must then consider a proposal for two meetings prior to
calling a vote.
Commenting about the SEC, current SGA president Amit Patel said, “It
looks good. It should work.”