Online Students at Georgia Perimeter College should have representation in SGA
By Ashley N Baker, Philosophy Major
“The Student Government Association SGA is the Voice of the Student Body at GPC.” This is how the first line of the GPC Student Government Association homepage reads. This statement is true for most of the student body, but online students have no voice. Online students are not allowed to run for student government positions, even though GPC offers an online degree in political science. Under the GPC Online section titled “Online Student Life”, future students are encouraged to “experience the college life beyond coursework. Be involved by becoming a part of the clubs and organizations offered on-campus and online at GPC. Open yourself to experiencing new horizons.”
I was personally told I could not run for a position in student government, citing the fact that online students do not pay an activity fee. Also, the SGA Constitution states that students must apply for SGA positions at the campus where they attend class. There is no SGA for online students, therefore there is obviously a limit to how involved an online student can be. After being turned away, I began to wonder who represents me in SGA. Any online student knows that our experience is very different from an on-campus student. Where would I go if I have a grievance or wanted to start a club? What if conduct charges were brought against me for improper netiquette? Would on-campus students be knowledgeable in this area?
With no representation, we are silent members of the student body. I would compare this isolation of GPC’s online students to that of US territories from states. The five physical campuses/states have their own SGA, operating in the interests of its students. The online campus has no government but is subject to the sovereign SGA Constitution. However, unlike GPC’s online students, even territories have non-voting delegates representing them in Congress. I think it is time for a change. Like the US Constitution the SGA Constitution is an open-ended document, which has a provision for amendments. I would like to propose the following:
· The Student Government Association should provide opportunity for an online chapter of SGA, consisting of at least but not limited to two senators, one chief justice, one treasurer, and one secretary.
Let’s give GPC’s online students the same opportunities as on-campus students.