The Spur

Students Divided Over Student Athlete Priority Registration Issue

Katie Kaiser, Staff Writer

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As registration rolled around for the Fall 2016 semester, student athletes had the opportunity to register early.

Freshmen were registering before graduating seniors. More specifically, student athletes got to register roughly three hours prior to other students and about sixty percent of that body took advantage of it.

This procedure change has supposedly been in discussion for about three years. During the SMSU Senate meeting on Apr. 7, 2016, Scott Crowell, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, noted the representation.

“It came from all across the university,” Crowell said. “It came as a university-wide stance.”

As the meeting went on, it was discovered that only three students were included in the committee: two of them student athletes.

Very few faculty, staff, and students were aware of the issue prior. Since the alteration was a procedure change and not a policy change to registration, the administration believed there was no requirement to seek input from the student body or faculty and staff. However, the procedure change affects the entire student body and faculty.

This is an example of poor communication and hopefully poor representation of the university. Still, Ashanti Payne, SMSU student body president, remained encouraging during the meeting.

“It’s a learning point for the university in terms of communication,” Payne said.

While student athletes do have issues with scheduling, the question remains as to whether they should get priority over other students.

Faculty was informed through an e-mail explaining the reasoning.

“The University is providing student-athletes with priority registration privileges to enhance their ability to represent the University in competitive opportunities,” it said.

So what about the students who devote long hours to their clubs and organizations? What about the students that comprise the casts of campus theater and music performances? What about the students who constantly fight uncontrollable obstacles to achieve academic success? Those students matter, too. They represent SMSU, too.

Since the news spread around campus, several are upset about the issue.

Student Senator Shane Vogt voiced his concerns during the meeting.

“An athlete’s sport is their job while my job is going to work,” Vogt said. “So why is their job taking precedent over my job?”

Some student senators agreed that no evidence was given as to whether this procedural change would be effective or even worth implementing. Those individuals inquired about the retention rate or average credit counts per semester of student athletes and other students in order to better assess the situation.

Nonetheless, every school craves to have high levels of school spirit and camaraderie on their campuses. If students believe that the university ranks student athletes over other students, a divide between groups will inevitably form. Students may not want to cheer on their peers officially deemed a higher priority by their university. They may not even want to participate in activities if it means being considered a lesser representative. Prospective students may view our university in a negative light. One procedural change could drive this university’s culture and future in a negative direction.

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Students Divided Over Student Athlete Priority Registration Issue