SGA reflects on registration

Desteny MaraghReporter

At this past Student Government Association weekly body meeting, the new class of 2024 representatives were sworn in.

SGA President Sarah Gossman lead the meeting and told each new representative to hold up their right hand while they repeated after her.

The new SGA representatives at large include Zainab Seyal, Andrenia Barajas, Kyle Mashia-Thaxton and Michelle Morales.

For the class of 2024, the president is Britny Gildersleeve, Vice president will be Joshua Saliva and treasurer will be Daphne Ciarcia.

Each representative spoke simultaneously: “I hereby solemnly offer to fill strictly and consciously the duties that have been bestowed upon me by the undergrad student body of Southern Connecticut State University, in accordance with Student Government; with the respect for student rights.”

New representatives said they ran for a variety of reasons; to give a voice to low-income first-generation students; or to represent persons of color and the Muslim community.

After the swearing-in, the meeting’s focus shifted to updates from each representative and what they have been doing to meet goals and make a difference for students.

While reflecting on last week’s meeting on registration with the university’s president, Gossman said “we’re kind of at the point where we know the policy is not going to change and although that is very frustrating to hear that we didn’t get what we wanted, I want us to recognize that we made tremendous strides.”

Last week during the SGA meeting, President Joe Bertolino made comments pertaining the new registration prioritization issue.

“We were looking for ways to incentivize our resident students. I don’t think Julie and I anticipated the response that was received. There’s lessons [we’re] learning and there were mistakes made,” he said.

Julie Edstrom, vice president of Enrollment Management, said they tried to make changes with students in mind.

“We tried to adjust registration based on the recommendations we heard. We want to make sure seniors get the classes they need, we made sure all seniors have first priority as they normally do,” she said. “Somebody loses in whatever kind of registration priority scenario we put together.”

SGA spoke this week, on just how much their voices matter and how important it is that they continue to be involved in major decisions affecting the student body as a whole.

“I think it’s important to note that if SGA completely did not step in, there would be definite consequences,” said Gossman.

For example, if SGA failed to bring awareness to some flaws in the registration change, there would be a first-year freshman on-campus student who would have registration privilege over a commuting junior.

“I think where student government needs to act now, is advocating the waitlist,” said Gossman.

Last week, Gossman brought up a registration solution of using the waitlist feature already there to calculate how many students need certain classes, as a tool for adding needed sections.

For example, if PHY 100 had 100 students who are registering and there’s only 2 sections open. Instead of telling 40 students they are on a waitlist, they should use the data from the list to offer more classes.

Bertolino and Edstrom apologized and took accountability for their lack of student involvement in the registration and also offered to speak with SGA directly regarding any future projects.

“It’s our job to ensure students are getting the classes they need because this registration problem brought a lot of ongoing issues that the university has and the registration issue kind of exposed underlying issues,” said Gossman. “What they did was unacceptable, but it is our responsibly to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Last week, Bertolino said he can use students’ help in two ways: deciding if more on-ground classes are needed and what classes students need.

SGA said they will be working to ensure the needs of everyone are met.

Soon, SGA representatives said they will also be advocating for the student experience to be the best that it can.

“Something we are pushing for will be more on-ground classes to faculty,” said Gossman.

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