SGA senate body officially suspended

Dr. Eddie Howard announced SGA senate body will be suspended until further notice

March 23, 2021

Dr. Eddie Howard, vice president for student affairs, announced Tuesday afternoon in a campus-wide email that the Student Government Association’s senate body will be suspended until further notice.  

“At Monday’s meeting, I was unsuccessful in getting the SGA executive officers and SGA senate body to work together. As a result of the internal disagreements among the senate body, the executive leadership and the SGA president, there does not seem to be a path forward to conduct the business of our students the remainder of this semester. Therefore, as Vice President for Student Affairs– I am suspending all activities of the Student Government Association senate body until further notice,” Howard wrote in the email. 

Howard referenced part of SGA’s constitution in the email, writing that the role of SGA is to, “Better coordinate relations among and between the Board of Regents, Administration, Faculty, Staff, and the student body; to ensure collegial governance based on mutual respect of each party; to promote the integrity of Northern Kentucky University; we, the students of Northern Kentucky University, recognizing our rights as members of the University, hereby establish this Student Government Association and its Constitution.”

Howard said that he did not see this type of behavior at Monday’s meeting or on other occasions.

Howard said in the email that as his role of VPSA, he will work with the new SGA administration and will set new precedents for SGA senators.

“As your Vice President, I will not and cannot allow inactivity to determine the direction for all students. We have an SGA election on Wednesday. Once the results are finalized, I plan to work with current administration and the newly elected administration to ensure that respectful, collegial and constructive dialogue is the norm going forward. We will require that future SGA senators and leaders participate in meaningful conflict resolution, mediation, diversity and inclusion training so that they exemplify these values for the entire student body,” Howard wrote.

Howard said discussions will be had in the coming weeks regarding SGA and its structure.

“The student voice is important, and it is the institution’s responsibility to provide a mechanism for this voice to be heard.  A true democracy doesn’t always mean everyone gets their way; there must be an opportunity for give-and-take and mutual respect for each other and the opportunity for civil discourse,” Howard wrote.

Howard ended the email by saying that he encourages student participation in these discussions in the future.

Read the full email below: 

Dear Students,

I believe your Student Government Association plays an essential role in our university. It is the soul of student representation at Northern Kentucky University. Students are duly elected and/or appointed to serve as a liaison to the Board of Regents, and we must hold sacred the responsibility that comes with these offices.   

Being new to NKU, I have the opportunity to see things with a fresh perspective, and I have been observing the interactions in the SGA and among our student groups. There appeared to be friction between the groups that came to a head yesterday. At Monday’s meeting, I was unsuccessful in getting the SGA executive officers and SGA senate body to work together. As a result of the internal disagreements among the senate body, the executive leadership and the SGA president, there does not seem to be a path forward to conduct the business of our students the remainder of this semester. Therefore, as Vice President for Student Affairs– I am suspending all activities of the Student Government Association senate body until further notice. 

The SGA constitution clearly states in its’ preamble, that the role of SGA is to “To better coordinate relations among and between the Board of Regents, Administration, Faculty, Staff, and the student body; to ensure collegial governance based on mutual respect of each party; to promote the integrity of Northern Kentucky University; we, the students of Northern Kentucky University, recognizing our rights as members of the University, hereby establish this Student Government Association and its Constitution.” I am sorry to say I didn’t see this type of behavior taking place in yesterday’s meeting or on other occasions.  Furthermore, the constitution outlines my role as one of the advisors, is to, “Ensure that university regulations, institutional policies, federal, state laws, and the SGA Constitution and By-Laws are upheld and adhered to by the SGA and shall take any reasonable or prudent steps necessary to ensure compliance and protect SGA, students and the institution.”

 Since the student senate is unwilling to work with their duly elected president, I believe all activities of the student senate should be suspended until a new course of action can be determined.   As your Vice President, I will not and cannot allow inactivity to determine the direction for all students.   We have an SGA election on Wednesday. Once the results are finalized, I plan to work with current administration and the newly elected administration to ensure that respectful, collegial and constructive dialogue is the norm going forward. We will require that future SGA senators and leaders participate in meaningful conflict resolution, mediation, diversity and inclusion training so that they exemplify these values for the entire student body. 

 In the coming weeks, we will begin to have dialogue about the role of a student government association and its structure. The student voice is important, and it is the institution’s responsibility to provide a mechanism for this voice to be heard.  A true democracy doesn’t always mean everyone gets their way; there must be an opportunity for give-and-take and mutual respect for each other and the opportunity for civil discourse. These are the hallmarks of what we try to teach our students at NKU. I welcome your participation in these discussion in the future.

Thanks in advance for your support and cooperation,

Dr. Eddie Howard, Jr.

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