Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Student Government Association to Hold Annual Elections

By: Rusty Hatchell and Tysheira Scribner
Georgia Gwinnett College’s Student Government Association anticipates a busy month of March with Run GGC, the SGA’s annual election campaign. Electoral campaigning begins on March 21, with elections beginning on the 23rd and running until the 25th, the date the newly elected officers will be announced.
Structured similarly to the U.S. federal government, the SGA consists of three major branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial.
The executive branch consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Senate Chairperson. These positions are available to nonfreshman students in good standing with the university who will be enrolled in nine or more credit hours, consistently hold a 2.5 GPA and have completed at least one semester of service to SGA in the past 2 years.
There are 33 senators represented in the legislative branch. Student senators represent their respective schools of study, must be enrolled in nine or more credit hours, consistently hold a 2.5 GPA and are in good standing with the university.
The Judicial Council is comprised of five student judges, and the candidates must meet the same requirements as executive branch officers.
The theme of Run GGC has been used in years past, which can cause some confusion as students may find information for the 2015 election campaign. Digital signage across campus has been directing students to the SGA GetInvolved webpage, but it is easy for students to be misguided once there.
The election campaign begins with an SGA-run town hall, in which students can voice their views on how the student body is being organized and managed.
According to Senate Chairperson Erin Lucier, on March 22 a “Meet the Candidates Forum and Debate” event will be held at 2pm in LVIS. Elections Chairman Garrison Douglass will moderate a debate among Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates.
As SGA’s role on campus has grown parallel to the growth of the campus itself, student awareness of the issues that SGA handles has increased as well. When asked whether she would vote in the upcoming election, senior biology major Ismeta Orlovic said, “my friend is running for Senate and I will be voting for her.” She also stated that she knows about SGA through her friends who are involved with the association.
“The question ‘What is SGA?’ is no longer asked during campaign season,” said Lucier, a senior business major concentrating in management. “That was our goal this year and I believe they have done an incredible job. They’ve successfully earned hundreds of followers on our social media platforms as well as provided two to three days a month that they host SGA booths around campus to introduce students to what SGA is and how to get involved.”
When asked what SGA is and what they do, Whitney Jones, senior biology major concentrating in biochemistry, said “[they] are liaisons between the students and faculty.” And fellow senior biology major James Ralston said, “[they] host a majority of events on campus.” However, when asked, many students stated that they were not planning on voting.
“I would predict that about 30-40 people are running for SGA positions,” Lucier said. She added that the President and Vice President offices are “usually competitive” but that other Executive offices as well as Judicial and Senate seats are not competitive. “Last year, [representation for] the School of Science and Technology was competitive.”
“This year, there will be opposition for me to be re-elected to my position as Senate Chairperson,” she stated in her email. “To my knowledge, [this is] the first time this has happened.”

Any complaints, concerns, questions, comments and suggestions about the goings-on of the campaign can be directed to the Elections Commission at getinvolved@ggc.edu. The official announcement of the newly elected officers will be posted outside of the RSO lounge on the 3rd floor of the Student Center on March 25.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Making a difference By Ana Bedon

On Tuesday, Aug. 14, we sat down with Ethel Ngene and Nailah Williamson of Volunteer GGC to discuss projects at play for those making a difference. Volunteer GGC is an organization that gives students the opportunity to perform community service on campus and in neighboring communities through metro Atlanta.
Mr. Allen Clarke is the coordinator of the organization since Volunteer GGC first started. Clarke — along with other GGC staff — saw that Georgia Gwinnett College needed a student learning and community engagement program that gave students the chance to grow and improve their local communities. Volunteer GGC was started, and student leaders on campus started to join. The organization now has six student assistants who help plan and coordinate service projects throughout the year.

Feeding the homeless, visiting homeless shelters and charity events are some of the many service projects Volunteer GGC has done. They assisted cleaning a new building at Rainbow Village — a homeless shelter located in Duluth — where homeless families with children can find refuge and learn to rebuild their lives with the love and support of a community-based family surrounding them.  Volunteer GGC spent three to four hours cleaning the building, and the team spirit was vibrant and caused them to be more united as a group.

“It was an amazing experience that impacted all of the students and staff that attended,” Williamson, a member of Volunteer GGC, said.

Another service project they worked on was preparing meals for patients and residents at Wishes 4 Me Foundation. Wishes 4 Me Foundation is a non-profit organization located in Lawrenceville that assists adults with disabilities to live a more active and involved lifestyle. It was founded on the belief that giving up is never an option and it ranges from age 18 and up. Volunteer GGC was privileged to socialize with the patients there by playing games, and reading books.

“The experience was emotional, educational and very satisfying” Ngene, a member of Volunteer GGC, said.

The GGC Community Garden is one of Volunteer GGC’s signature events. The Community Garden is in collaboration with the Lawrenceville community as their produce is donated to the Lawrenceville co-op to feed those in need. This program allows students to have the experience of sowing, watering, fertilizing and reaping the produce of the Garden. They are also allowed to participate in the donating the produce and to see the impact they are having on their community. They volunteer two to three times each semester, and this will be one of the service learning programs here at GGC this Fall Semester.

Volunteer GGC, the office of Student Involvement and the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) are also hosting a Back to School Drive to donate school supplies to Rainbow Village and Graves Elementary School located in Norcross.  

There are two locations you can drop off your donations. One is at the Student Center, 2nd floor, and also in A building in front of Chick Fil A. They will deliver all donations the first week of October.

Why should we care? When I asked members of Volunteer GGC why they care about volunteering, Williamson replied, “Because we enjoy helping out and giving back to our community.”
Ngene also stated, “I enjoy helping others, and I would like for more students to get involved and join Volunteer GGC.”

One of Georgia Gwinnett College’s four pillars is Service, and this organization knows exactly how to represent it. All of their events are open to GGC students and staff and are usually on Fridays or Saturdays. As members of the Georgia Gwinnett College community, we should all make time out of our busy schedules and get involved with our local community.

If you are a new student, welcome to Georgia Gwinnett College, and please know there are many ways you can get involved. Volunteer GGC is one of many organizations you can join on campus that will help you gain and develop your leadership skills and help you make a difference in your community. Remember, “Don’t make excuses, make a difference!”

Supreme Court Says “I Do” to Marriage Equality By: Tyler Vining


On June 26, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples in a historic victory for the LGBT rights movement. In Obergefell vs Hodges, the Justices ruled 5 to 4 that the denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples violated the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The movement for marriage equality, which is only one part of the LGBT rights movement, began in the 1970s but didn’t begin gaining headlines until 1993 when the Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled that the prohibition of marriage equality was unconstitutional. This ruling led several states and the federal government legislating that marriage was solely between one man and one woman, including the enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In recent years, not only did DOMA get repealed, but many states’ bans on marriage equality were ruled unconstitutional and the restriction of gay and lesbian persons in the military, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” was lifted, leading many LGBT people to celebrate this shift in the tide.
Celebrations even took place in Gwinnett County with GGC students sharing their happiness through Pride Alliance, GGC’s LGBT organization. Here’s what the officers of Pride Alliance had to say:
"Ever since I first came to terms with my sexuality, the idea of marriage seemed far off, and more of an idea for later generations. Now, though, that dream is able to become a reality, and it's comforting to know that marriage is available to me one day should I choose it," Morgan Woody said.
"It took me a long time to accept myself as gay and part of that was because I knew it would be long time, if ever, before I could have the right to marry someone I love. The Supreme Court ruling has provided a significant step towards equal rights for the gay community," Nehemiah Hester said.
I'm excited that the day has finally come that all families are equal in the eyes of the law. However, we can't forget the many struggles still faced by members of the LGBTQ community. Almost half of all homeless youth are LGBTQ. In almost 30 states it's still legal to be fired for being LGBTQ. A victory has been won. A war yet remains,” Jory Alexander said.
While many LGBTQ people and their heterosexual allies remain ecstatic that progress has been made, many remain vigilant that there’s still a long road ahead for complete equality not only for LGBTQ people, but for people of color and women, as social issues are severely intersectional.
Social conservatives were disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling and many still ask their representative to do something on this issue. It remains to be seen whether their efforts will be fruitful.   
What are your thoughts on marriage equality? How does the ruling impact you personally? Email me at tvining@ggc.edu

“A same-sex marriage supporter near the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.”

Photo Credit : Drew Angerer /Getty Images

Student leader arrested in golf cart incident

Students are questioning the arrest of Michael Masha, a Junior and Resident Assistant (RA), for driving a golf cart on campus that had previously been used for the move-in event that began on Thursday and continued into the weekend. He was arrested Monday evening, August 17 for disorderly conduct based on “unauthorized use of government property,” which was stated on his written citation along with the comment “golf cart belongs to GGC.”
“I feel like he was singled out because he wasn’t very well known” Akeia Lyles, SGA Chief of Staff, said.
“Something I do want to make very clear is Michael did not get arrested because he’s black but something just as important is that if he wasn’t, he would not have been arrested” commented Chase Goodwin, SGA President, who further explained that as a white male he has been able to circumvent many campus procedures such as signing in at the residence halls.
“Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, all student leaders involved in move in … were all using different facilities and different items like the golf cart,” Erin Lucier, a Senior RA explained, and added that the keys were constantly traded around.
Masha explained that he was given the key by Esteban Gonzalez — SGA Vice President — in order to “help facilitate getting people during move in from housing to the student center or to anywhere, just people who needed transportation or had disabilities.”
With the busy days of moving in hundreds of students, Lucier explained that “at the end of each day, I really had no idea who had the key and I don’t think anyone who had originated with the key had any idea where it went. There was no sort of check out process,” Lucier added.
On Monday afternoon, members of the Office of Student Involvement noticed that their golf cart was missing and with no knowledge of who had the cart, they reported the missing property to Public Safety. Dr. Lumpkin explained that calling Public Safety is standard procedure anytime an item is missing.
Chief of Police Terrance Schneider explained that the officers go out and look for the golf cart with the only information they have. “We are pulling police resources out of parking lots and other investigations that they are working on … to find a golf cart that was reported stolen,” Chief Schneider said. “We don’t know if somebody off campus has come and grabbed it and took off with it.”
After pulling surveillance footage from the 1000 building and identifying Masha, Officer Borders contacted him about the golf cart.
“I had no idea there was going to be an arrest,” Masha explained. “We met in front of the 1000 building on campus and there were about four or five police officers just waiting for me out there.”
“They were really quick to jump to it, there was no discussion, no anything like that,” Masha added. The police report, written by arresting officer and GGC graduate, Ashley Still, reported that “when [Masha was] asked why he still had the key he told [police] he didn’t know and wasn’t sure who he was supposed to give the key back to. When we asked if he had used the cart [Monday] he said he had used it twice today to ‘not get rained on.’”
The report also stated that Esteban Gonzalez gave a written statement explaining that he had not given the key to Masha, nor had he given him permission to use the golf cart. Gonzalez declined to comment on the situation.
Dr. Maria Lumpkin called a meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 19 in order to open the lines of communication with students who expressed racial concerns surrounding the arrest. Officers were invited to represent organizations such as the Organization of Latin American Students, African Voice, Black Student Union, Asian Student Association, Gentlemen of Distinction, Pride, and Greenlight.
“It is our goal at GGC to create an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for all students,” Dr. Lumpkin explained. “Communication is paramount to the success of any community and recent events on campus have challenged us to strengthen our communication. It is my hope that we can move beyond this incident together as a community and move towards substantive dialogue about our various concerns.”
Masha and other students also raised concerns about false information that could damage his credibility. “I heard rumors that Chief Schneider said that [Masha] was arrested for being belligerent,” President Goodwin explained. Various representatives in the meeting echoed Goodwin’s concerns that the narrative had shifted to another black male arrested for being belligerent, rather than a simple miscommunication.
Chief Schneider declined to comment on whether or not Masha was arrested for being belligerent as he was not present, but noted that there are multiple ways to define belligerence. He explained that “the officer has certain discretions that they can affect and it’s up to the officer to decide whether or not to make that arrest.”
When we asked Masha to address the rumor, he said, “I was in front of the 1000 building, in front of where I reside. I live there. There’s people everywhere and it’s the first day of school and the last thing I want to do is embarrass myself and put on a show.”
Chief Schneider explained that “the officer arrested in good faith based upon the information that they had at the time” and it is now up to the legal system to ensure that the case is handled fairly. 
“I hope it’s an eye-opening situation not just for us as student leaders but for everyone on this campus and even faculty members …to not always jump to conclusions when you see something out of the ordinary,” Lyles said.
When asked what his plans are now, Masha laughed.

“My first day of school was pretty rough but I’m gonna stay focused on my classes and get my GPA much higher than it is, continue my RA duties and make better connections with my residents, try to impact people’s lives … It’s a great day to be a Grizzly.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

GGC10: Looking Back with Senator Balfour by: Laura Walsh

In honor of GGC’s 10 year anniversary, Senator Don Balfour visited the college to discuss the history and process of GGCs creation. While we are celebrating our 10 year anniversary, Balfour explained that “the process started much sooner than 2005.”

 “Gwinnett County was the largest populated county east of the Mississippi without a four year college and Gwinnett students were travelling to other counties to receive their education” Balfour explained, “that was what motivated the creation of a convenient alternative for Gwinnett residents.”

The Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce had a study committee in the early 90's to research whether Gwinnett should try to get their own four year college.  Glen White was the head of the Chamber that year and later served on the Board of Regents.  The Gwinnett County commission took a leap of faith when Tommy Hughes and Renee Unterman approved buying the land that would become the school.  Showing that the County had “skin in the game”.  The then Democrat governors had leaders in the community discussing the need for a four year school; Wayne Mason, Virgil Williams, John D Stephens - to name a few. 

Senator Balfour served as Chairman of the powerful Rules Committee in the legislature, which put him in the position of being an influential ally to the cause of creating a new institution and the funding needed to both start the school and have many of the buildings placed on campus.  
When asked about the amendments he found on the bill, Balfour laughed. “Right before I went to the floor to present the bill for the college I saw amendments and looked around wondering who messed with my bill!” Looking closer, the amendments articulated that the school should be named ‘Balfour University’ and that the mascot should be the Green Tree Frog. Senator Preston Smith had run a great campaign to bring awareness to the Green Tree Frog and elevate its status to that of Georgia States Amphibian which was successfully established in 2005. The amendments were just for fun and were quickly removed, but many in the Capital still lovingly refer to GGC as ‘Balfour University.’

After the bill was approved, there was a great push to find the right leadership. Dr. Kauffman and Dr. Preczewski were excellent choices as they are forward thinking and worked incredibly quickly to establish GGC. Balfour explained that Kauffman’s push for accreditation was so efficient that it was completed in record time.

Senator Balfour remains committed to the success of Georgia Gwinnett College and is excited to see what GGC achieves next! 
"Senator Balfour with staff members of The Globe"
(Photo Credit: Laura Walsh)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Valar Morghulis

*May contain minor spoilers*

“Valar Morghulis - All men must die” is a saying that has become part of everyday speech between me and my friends this past month in anticipation of Season 5 of Game of Thrones on HBO and the premiere did not disappoint! In “The Wars to Come”, viewers are immediately thrown back into Westeros and Essos, a setting full of violence, death, sex, and politics. Queen and Khaleesi Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen continues to learn the difficulties of the throne of Meereen when troubles with the Unsullied ensue and she begins to question her identity as the Mother of Dragons. Jon Snow, the bastard son of the deceased Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell is put at odds with Stannis Baratheon at the Wall and that’s putting it lightly. Cersei and Jaime Lannister, the incestuos twins, learn to move along after the death of their father. Tyrion Lannister begins his life in exile in Pentos and discusses the future of Westeros with the Spider. It's pretty much a set-up for the rest of the season.

Most but not all characters are shown and when winter is supposed to be coming, the white walkers sure are missing - but I bet not for long! All in all, the premiere was great but it didn’t give too much away about the future of the season which leaves me wanting more and even though the first four episodes have been leaked, I won’t give in! In the spirit of “Valar Dohaeris - All men must serve”, this has been your T.V. at the Globe, here to keep you abreast of the news, whether delightful or grizzly.

Monday, March 30, 2015

SGA Election Results!

March 30, 2015

Winners are highlighted in yellow.

For President/Vice-President                                                                    Votes
                Chase Goodwin/Esteban Gonzalez                                          466
                Joshua Sims/Keiota Jones                                                        264
Senate Chairperson                                                                                      Votes
                Erin Lucier                                                                                        634
Treasurer                                                                                                            Votes
                Austen Nahass                                                                                  628
Secretary                                                                                                             Votes
                Esmerelda Trevino                                                                          656
School of Business Senators (6 positions)                                            Votes
                Ana Bedon                                                                                          54
                Dreyvis Perez                                                                                    48
                Sergio Ballesteros                                                                           38
                Aizaz Shaikh                                                                                       29
                Terrell Dudley                                                                                   28
                Marsean Lumzy                                                                                24
School of Education Senators (4 positions)                                          Votes
                Crystal Serrato                                                                                  24
                Brandon Denson                                                                              14
                Marrius Brown                                                                                  8
School of Health Sciences Senators (4 positions)                                              Votes
                Mychaela Garner                                                                             34
                Akeia Lyles                                                                                         24
                Tammy Lu                                                                                           23
School of Liberal Arts/Undeclared Senators (7 pos.)                        Votes
                Flurim Aliu                                                                                         96
                Usama Lakhani                                                                                  72
                Tuyen Chau                                                                                        66
School of Science and Technology Senators (6 pos.)                        Votes
                Obu Obu                                                                                              101
                Fethi Basha                                                                                        85
                Ivan Magana                                                                                      65
                Syeda Kazmi                                                                                      63
                Ann Abraham                                                                                    62
                K.C. Okebalama                                                                                   52
                Ahla Ko                                                                                                49
Judicial Council (5 positions)                                                                      Votes
                Monica Sandoval                                                                             353
                Roshan Joseph                                                                                  242
                Rachel Patti                                                                                        221
                Dejan Cavic                                                                                        207
                Cassie Spell                                                                                        153

                Rodica Kajanovic                                                                              130