Attendance low at first SGA rally

It didn’t take long at all. Students started complaining as soon as they arrived about the things that were going on at Grambling State University. In turn, the Student Government Association decided to hold a rally to hear students voice their concerns. Expecting a rowdy crowd, police officers were present to maintain order. However, only around 30 students showed up for the rally. “Why is this room not full?” said SGA President Alexier Barbour. “It’s more at GSU than SGA.” Most of the 30 students were members of the SGA. The students present voiced their concerns and asked questions about the tribulations at GSU. One of the main concerns was financial aid. Barbour said that the university recognized financial aid as a problem, and President Judson said the “Spring 2007 process should be painless.” “In Spring 2007, we are expecting drastic changes,” Barbour said. Students also asked about refunds not being transferred to their GSU Chase E-Funds card. Barbour said that if students registered by Aug. 1, then their refund should have been placed on the card by Sept. 1. Barbour encouraged any students who didn’t have their refunds and have proof they were registered by that date to see her. An issue that was also addressed was the delay of refunds being placed on cards. One student brought up a point saying that at other schools, students automatically received their refunds on the day that they registered. “Students have a history of withdrawing from the university after they receive their refunds,” Barbour said. “This leaves Grambling to pay for the federal funds. “The university will be held responsible, and the federal government will want their money,” she continued. One of the big announcements from the rally was that students can expect radical changes to on-campus cable. Last year, The Gramblinite ran a story reported Leon Sanders, senior associate vice president of university operations, confirming that expanded cable would be available this semester. However, over the summer, the contractor for the expanded cable folded, explained Barbour. The university quickly moved to fill that hole acquiring a new contractor. The new contract “will have 150 channels by Spring 2007” for on-campus students. Visitation was also brought up. Barbour said that she and Shakira Hardison had a long phone conversation that involved visitation. Hardison said that she is hoping to have visitation in place by October. Barbour also announced that the SGA will play an active role in campus beautification. Later in the year, the SGA will place more trash cans around campus to help inspire campus beautification. No GSU administrators were present because they weren’t invited, Barbour informed. Barbour said that there will be another rally held for the administrators to respond to the concerns. “We (SGA) are going to make this administration accountable for their actions,” she said. If students wish, they can now meet with President Judson, as he is enforcing an open-door policy. According to Barbour, Judson has an open-door policy every Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Judson’s office will be open only if he doesn’t have any university business. After the rally, students seemed to be at ease, but a little disappointed. “I wish more people had come here,” said Stella-Marie Akindayomi, a sophomore. “She actually answered questions very thoroughly.” Barbour was also disappointed by the lack of student participation. However, it did not deter her. “I don’t think students are aware of what SGA does,” said Barbour. “That lets me know that we have to better communicate with them.”