Savannah State Students Lead Peaceful Protest
From Division I to II, merger with Armstrong University, to smaller graduation venue. What more could you ask for from students? Savannah State University (SSU) students are frustrated about not being aware of the changes going on within the university. The athletic department and student-athletes were recently told on April 12th about the transition to Division II. This will affect high school athletes decision to attend Savannah State and ultimately affect enrollment numbers. Savannah State being the only public historically black college and university (HBCU) with a Division I athletic program. Is this a step to decreasing the value of another HBCU? Students took action by leading a peaceful protest last week about the several changes that will directly affect the students.
Earlier this year, Savannah State University Marching Band, the Coastal Empire Sound Explosion (C.E.S.E.) lead a protest about not receiving their stipends. Some students in the marching band use the stipend to pay for tuition, textbooks, etc. The band members are receiving notices from the dorm and their professors about insufficient funds. Without the financial stability from the stipends, band students will have to quit and ultimately leave the university. Now with the merger of Armstrong University and graduation held in smaller venues, this is another chance for the students to be heard.
Georgia Southern will become the only division I college in Savannah and other areas in Georgia. Major degree courses will be held at Georgia Southern after the merge decreasing the historic value and overall enrollment of SSU. There is a trend of larger state universities like Georgia Southern and Penn State merging with HBCUs due to the unstable financial conditions.
SSU’s made history in 2015 by graduating 400 students, the largest class in the university’s history at the usual Wright Stadium location. The university is moving graduation ceremonies to the Tiger Arena, a smaller venue, and only allow 8 tickets for family and friends per students. One student is upset because they have to “make last-minute changes and downsize who can come and support me on my big day. It is frustrating and emotionally stressful to have to explain this to my family.”
As an HBCU community, there’s a need for alumni involvement including donations to keep the doors open of our colleges and universities. It’s hard to see graduating students have to deal with hardships that’s added to the stress of last minute exams and ultimately receiving that diploma. The students are showing they care about their university, can they get a resolution?
Amber Peters41 Posts
Amber Peters is a current MBA candidate and full-time Accountant. She is a proud Alumna of Texas Southern University. “Faith without work means nothing”