Campus issues addressed to empty chairs

This year’s first Free Speech Alley Forum addressed the concerns of students on various topics such as inefficient course advising, parking and building maintenance.

A panel consisting of current Student Government Association (SGA) President Luke Holloway, President-elect Branden Summers and Chief Justice-elect Kayla Turner answered questions collected from students earlier that day. SGA Associate Chief Justice Jacy Carpenter mediated the discussion.

“Free Speech Alley is an opportunity for students to voice their concerns, issues and opinions about Southeastern’s campus,” said Carpenter. “It can include positive things and negative things. As long as it’s appropriate, they really don’t have to limit themselves about what they say. Anything they have a concern about, they can voice it either on our T-shirts or on the huge poster that will be downstairs in the Union.”

The forum was held Tuesday, March 27 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ball room. Before then, a tent was set up in the War Memorial Student Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where students could write any question about any issue on campus. A total of 39 questions were collected, 20 of which would be answered at the forum.

The audience was mostly SGA members and only a small group of students, learning about the forum by chance. Junior criminal justice major Cal Broussard was one of those students and he had something to say about the audience or rather the lack thereof.

“Communication on this campus really sucks,” said Broussard. “I think that students not openly voicing their opinions stems from staff, like teachers and campus cops, not treating them like customers. They should take a hint from the food staff, who are always very friendly, and they get talked to when they’re not.”

Both Summers and Holloway were also troubled by the low turn out.

“If they want to start seeing change, they need to speak up,” said Summers. “The SGA can only do so much. We’re the image of the student body, and we can’t do anything without them backing us. When the students step up, we will too.”

Holloway agreed with Summers.

“For a student government to be successful it needs its students to back them up,” Holloway said. “Earlier we had students writing their complaints on the poster down in the union, but none of them showed up to talk. That’s a problem.”