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Brown administration makes history with school's first SGA inauguration

By Demetrius Dillard
On October 24, 2015

(From left) Vice President of External Affairs, Da’Cor Wiggins; Vice President of
Internal Affairs, Eric Johnson; and President, Kyle Brown during the first Student
Government Association Inauguration Sept. 28 in K.R. Williams Auditorium.

Photo courtesy of Darby’s & Bowden’s Instagram; WSSU website

The Student Government Association of Winston-Salem State had an official inauguration for the first time in university history, according to a university staff member.

Heather Davis – the primary adviser of SGA – serves as the director of University Student Activities and Engagement.

She believed the ceremony served a meaningful purpose, and encouraged the WSSU community to attend Sept. 28.

“First and foremost, I think it gets to properly acknowledge the Student Government Association president,” said Davis, a WSSU alumna.

“The thought behind it was, ‘Why not have a celebration and an acknowledgement of who the Student Government Association president is so that it brings more awareness to the campus as a whole?”

Davis said that conversations about holding an SGA inauguration began over the summer, and was mainly among the SGA president, Kyle Brown, Orlando Mitchell, the assistant director of USAE, and several members of SGA’s executive board.

According to Davis, Brown was one of the main people.

“I joined SGA mainly because it was my outlet of helping people,” said Brown, a member of WSSU’s Board of Trustees.

“I always have a passion for helping others, and helping someone see a vision that they didn’t see.”

Brown said he felt like it was time to have an inauguration because he believed “there may have been a disconnect from SGA and the average student on campus.”

“The programming of it and planning of it is that is on our school’s Founder’s Day,” Brown said.

“My past three years here, we’ve always overlooked Sept. 28 as our Founder’s Day, so I figured this would be a wonderful time to have an inauguration.”

A Founder’s Day ball will immediately follow the inaugural ceremony in DJR.

Brown said, most the funds came from the chancellor’s office – where there’s a budget allotted to the SGA president – and the remaining funds will come from security fees in the SGA budget. Brown estimated the cost to be “no more than $2,000.”

In the past, SGA officers have been sworn in at the coronation ceremony, which recognizes WSSU’s Royal Court.

With an exclusive event recognizing the SGA members, Davis said the intention is for more students to understand the importance and relevance of SGA, which – according to Davis – is the “student voice” advocating for progress and change to higher legislative authorities.

 Davis expects a large showing from Kinston, N.C., Brown’s hometown, and a gift to be given back to the university as well.

 “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” said Davis, when asked about those who may believe an inauguration is a bogus waste of time and money.

 “I would challenge them to actually insert themselves into the work that is being done by the Student Government Association.”

Davis encourages naysayers to have a conversation with Brown and other members of his administration, and to make a thorough assessment of the SGA rather than resort to making vain assumptions.

 “Know what you are talking about before you make the statement,” she said.

 Another major change that has taken place within the SGA this academic year – along with the advent of the inauguration – is there’s another paid position on the staff: the attorney general, who is Mona Zahir.

“The reason why that change was actually made is because of the workload that has taken on that position,” Davis said.

 The four SGA paid positions, which are the president, vice president of internal affairs, vice president of external affairs and the attorney general, receive monthly stipends from the SGA budget which is comprised partly of student fees in tuition.

 Davis said it is the intention of the SGA and USAE for the inauguration to continue, but they must first properly assess the impact it has on the campus community and see what outcome it yields to know what adjustments and changes to make in the future.


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