SGA targets several new projects

Life around campus could soon be changing for students.

The Student Government Association addressed a full agenda at their last meeting that, if passed, would change several things on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.

SGA discussed providing midterm grades to all students instead of just freshmen, requesting the Student Union provide a location to hang fliers on the second floor, upgrading the workout facilities in Norse Commons, expanding W. Frank Steely Library’s operating hours to provide 24-hour service cycles during important academic times and changing the policy for outside speakers on campus.

Up for vote next week is the request to upgrade the Norse Commons workout facilities. The proposed policy says the Campus Recreation Center does not provide adequate space for the number of students enrolled at NKU.

According to the National Intramural Recreation Sports Association, the national average of square footage of indoor recreation per student is 9.86, the proposed policy says. Campus Recreation provides 4.48 square feet per student.

“The current spacing is crowded and overburdened,” SGA Senator Josh Moermond said. “Students don’t use the workout facility in the Norse Commons because of the quality of the equipment and because the atmosphere is not inviting.”

SGA would also like to extend the operating hours of the library during important periods, such as finals week. The Steely Library currently provides no 24-hour service cycles for students.

SGA is creating a survey for students to find out the potential need for the library to offer 24-hour service cycles for students. The survey is set to be distributed this spring and is under revision.

Members of the SGA also discussed that they feel a need for the university to distribute midterm grades to all students, not just freshmen. Members felt that all students are in danger of performing below the university’s expectations and that receiving midterm grades may increase students’ class performances but honestly portraying how they have done so far.

The SGA hopes that providing midterm grades to all students will increase retention rates for all students. They noted that many professors already provide midterm grades to upperclassmen, whether requested or through Blackboard, and felt that requiring midterm grades for all students would not be burdensome.

SGA will also vote to request the Student Union provide new locations on the first and second floors to post fliers because they are some of the most high-traffic areas on campus.

SGA members said they felt the current third floor location for students to post fliers is inadequate. Since Jan. 7, more than 2,700 fliers have been approved to be posted in the Student Union.

The Student Government Association is also ready to put certain procedures in effect to keep track of who is speaking on campus and when. The proposed policy has received national attention about the legalities surrounding the restrictions of allowing free speech on campus.

In “SGA doesn’t want to hear it,” published Jan. 26, The Northerner quoted Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple as saying, “Although that speech may be offensive to some listeners, the speaker is probably entitled to say it, and the university cannot usually engage in censoring the content of a visitor’s speech.”

This comment from Waple received a response from Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a free speech advocacy group whose mission is to “defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.” The group said “it would be wonderful if more public university administrators would acknowledge such a responsibility to regulate speech in a viewpoint-neutral way.”

SGA President Kevin Golden said he likes the national attention NKU is receiving.

“I think that the extra attention makes people really look at the proposal to make sure it is right for NKU,” Golden said.

The proposed policy will require all potential speakers to register with the university before they are permitted to speak, placing a time, place and manner restriction on them.

“You have to accept everybody, and the policy does that,” Golden said. “The policy just creates a process for outside speakers to go through for the university to be aware of who’s on campus.”

The resolution states that SGA believes the proposed policy “in no way acts to ‘police content,’” and “does not infringe on any free speech rights, but rather puts into place procedures for further protecting such rights.” (Click here to read The Northerner’s opposite take on what the effects and purpose of the proposed policy change.)

The current policy regarding outside speakers on campus has not been updated since 1981. The resolution to support the proposed policy goes to a vote at the next SGA meeting.

SGA also recognized the Norse men’s soccer team for their victory in the NCAA Division II national championship game.

Students who would like to address their opinions about these topics can attend the SGA meeting at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 in the Governance Ballroom in the Student Union.
Story by Matthew Brewer