SGA makes large leadership change

Western Carolina University’s Student Government Association is going through a large leadership change that began in January, 2015.

There were no members who were directly fired by SGA. Many of the current members of SGA could not discuss what happened because of the FERPA regulations. This makes the occurrence hard to understand with such vague information available to the public and easy for rumors.

All the changes occurred right before class started this semester leaving little time to transition and begin the hiring process for new members. SGA took the situation into consideration while building a new, strong board for the new semester.

Carolina Pierce, the new SGA president. Photo from SGA website.

Carolina Pierce, the new SGA president. Photo from SGA website.

Four executive positions, including the Student Body President, the Director of Public Relations and Marketing, the Chief Justice, and the Director of Finance were open for rehire in addition to 12 senate positions. Not all senate openings were related to the leadership change. According to new SGA President Caroline Pierce, all positions were held by intelligent, caring, and hard-working members who have spent many years of dedicating their time to this organization. The new members were given the opportunity to apply and be accepted through the current senate.

“While it is a slight disadvantage to have this large leadership change so suddenly in the middle of the year I am more than optimistic of the changes we will be seeing,” said Pierce.

Pierce heard the rumors that because this leadership change happened so suddenly, that SGA is ‘falling apart’ and wanted to reassure the students that this is not the case. As she said, the leadership change has allowed remaining members to come together, ensuring that SGA is a successful and strong organization.

“At its best, SGA as an organization is able to reflect real change at an institutional level that students are able to realize and enjoy,” said Zack Howard, former SGA member affected by the change.

WCU is not the only school undergoing such changes. ECU and UNCG have both experienced a leadership change this semester. SGA here at WCU has taken this and has worked closely alongside both as well as the 14 UNC schools to ensure the success of SGA at WCU and across the state.

Though SGA has many former members who will be missed, they are stronger now than ever says SGA Inter-Club Council Director, Emily Ranson.

“Our mission is to fight for the interests of the student body and through the care, passion, and drive our new members have already shown, there is no doubt that we will succeed in making a lasting impact,” said Ranson.

With great optimism for the changes and new members, there are some former members who feel as if the change will turn out for the good, but that the loss is a significant factor as well.

“The four executive members no longer employed had a combined decade of experience serving students’ interests. I’m sure whoever they have hired in recent weeks will do a great job but there is no substitute for years of experience in dealing with the inner workings of the university administration and bureaucracy,” said Howard.

That being said, SGA is confident in the people now hired on board and have high expectations in accomplishing the goals to come. SGA  encourages students to reach out to the organization, they are there to help and listen to what all students have to say.

“Personally I have experienced such enriching personal growth through my own experience in Student Government. I have learned how to face adversity, to stand up for what myself and others believe in, to solve impossible problems, and most importantly I have learned how fulfilling life can be when your purpose is to serve others. This is the purpose each member of SGA shares,” said Ranson.