Amplify won the 2018 Student Government Association elections Feb. 27. The slate which is made of Isaac Mitchell, president; Matt Hinkleman, vice president; Kyleigh Snavely, secretary; Jalen Jones, treasurer; and Jalen Jones, secretary, ran unopposed. Liz Rieth, DN Photo
SGA, BSA forum to cover diversity, inclusivity and racial relations at Ball State
After the Ball State Board of Trustees voted to remove John Schnatter's name from the university Thursday, Student Government Association (SGA) and Black Student Association (BSA) will host a forum to discuss diversity, inclusivity and racial relations at Ball State.
"Hear Our Stories: A Student Forum" is open to the community and part of it will focus on the “Papa John” situation that’s been going on, said SGA President Isaac Mitchell.
In the days following the board's statement on Schnatter and his admitted use of the N-word during a conference call, Big 4 organizations, along with SGA, released statements condemning the board’s actions.
"Hear Our Stories: A Student Forum" will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in Cardinal Hall. The space has seating for up to 200 people.
The organizations said they were disappointed and disagreed with the board’s decision, but student organizations leaders agreed they had to do something beyond publishing statements, which led to the forum.
The same day the board released its statement, Mitchell and BSA President KeAyra Williams were on the phone, planning the forum for the week students return to campus, Mitchell said.
“We’re not looking to have this be a negative forum. The end goal of this forum is to get the student input to see what we need to do with the administration to make Ball State better,” he said. “What’s happened in the past has happened and all we can do now is work together to try and make things better in the future and make sure we don’t have another Papa John incident come up.”
Mitchell said students reached out to SGA following the board’s statement, sharing their own opinions and those of university faculty members.
“I think we proved that the Ball State students have their minds and their hearts in the right place,” Mitchell said. “The amount of people that cared and took action to write letters and get on social media and it led to a change, obviously, as we saw on Thursday.”
More than anything, the forum is to create a community-driven conversation to look toward the future to see how students can partner with faculty, administration and alumni to make sure issues like the Schnatter scenario stop happening, Mitchell said.
Williams agreed, and said she thinks it is important for students' voices to be heard, while also creating a constructive plan to answer questions like: “What can we do next?”
“I’m hoping that we’ll really get a general sense of what students and body members want from their university,” Williams said. “We’ll be able to get all of those ideas, combine them in some sort of way and come together with a list of things that we can actually accomplish as far as this school year and the future and the years to come.”