New semester, new challenges

Taylor Gravett

On behalf of the Student Government Association, we are so excited to welcome you all back for the spring semester. There are numerous events and projects happening around campus that are going to make this semester one of the best yet.
In just a few months, ground will be broken for the planned renovations at Overman Student Center. Pittsburg State’s new state-of-the-art indoor-event facility plans will also see the start of construction.
These projects will continue to set Pitt State apart from other institutions in our region and nation.
This semester, SGA and the administration will be lobbying in Topeka for an increase in higher education funding. Higher ed plays a major role in workforce participation, employment and one’s own personal advancement.
The legislature needs to realize that in order for Kansas to thrive, and to prevent people from moving away, a well-balanced, well-funded education system ought to be a cornerstone of the state’s public services.
We are confident that our message is going to be resonant with lawmakers. Hopefully, we can get higher ed funding back on the right path.
Aside from helping the administration with its projects, SGA has been working hard on its own projects as well. We are so happy to announce that the Axe Library is extending its hours after nearly two years of work toward that goal.
This is major news, and is only the first step in what we hope will eventually become a 24/7-access library. The leadership from those in SGA and the library really made this project a reality.
Every semester at Pitt State seems to be better than the last, and this semester is sure to be no different. Go Gorillas!

Taylor Gravett is the SGA president. He may be contacted at SGA’s office in the lower level of Overman Student Center; by phone at 620-235-4811; and by email at sgapresident@pittstate.edu.

Tadd Lucian

One of my job duties as legislative affairs director of the Student Government Association (SGA) is to be the liaison between students here on campus and our elected officials at the local and state levels.
I want to take this time to share with students an attempted new change in the social media policy for Kansas public universities.
In September, a professor at the University of Kansas was put on indefinite leave for posting a controversial tweet in response to the Washington Navy Yard shootings that claimed 13 lives.
Three months later, the Kansas Board of Regents last month unanimously passed a policy that allows university leaders the right to fire employees for making an inappropriate social media post.
I had not even made it back to Pittsburg from Topeka, where I observed the session of the regents where this policy was adopted, before the decision had sparked national debate.
Many university employees expressed concern about their rights to free speech under the First Amendment.
They wonder, why did the regents do this without giving much notice and without university input? This has now led the regents to decide to revisit the newly approved policy; they’ve formed a workgroup with representatives from each university.
Now that we know what is going on, where do we go from here?
Should university employees be monitored on social media? Should their rights to free speech be taken away from them for the well-being of the university?
The answer is no. While I understand the concept behind this policy, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. The thought of policing university employees for their social media usage blows my mind.
If the entire reason for this policy is the greater good of the university, what stops the regents from targeting students for their social media posts, which may do just as much damage if not more than the posts of a university employee?
The debate over this policy is far from over. I am very eager to see what will happen in the upcoming months. If you have any questions or concerns, please stop by the SGA office and visit with me.

Tadd Lucian is the SGA legislative affairs director; he is also a senior in communication.

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