Guest Column: Articles not reflective of GSU

Patrice Buckner

This letter is in response to the opinion pieces, “EIP, don’t ruin your chances” and “Don’t sweat it EIP students, this semester is easier than it seems”.  I understand every writer is entitled to his or her opinion, however, I believe that these two pieces are not in line with our Georgia Southern V.A.L.U.E.S.  I feel compelled to correct some misinformation provided through the articles named above.

First, the articles seem to suggest that the Eagle Incentive Program is a remedial program.  On the contrary, the Eagle Incentive Program offers a challenging curriculum to incoming students who have the grade point averages, leadership experience, and work ethic it takes to be a successful Georgia Southern student.  Faculty members are hand selected to challenge and support these students as they transition into Georgia Southern University.  The courses offered are of the same academic rigor as the courses offered to students admitted on a non-provisional basis.

Next, the article by Jackie Gutknecht claims that Georgia Southern University is “one of the biggest party schools in the state.”  Considering statistics gathered from our annual crime statistics report, less than one percent of Georgia Southern students are arrested for alcohol violations annually and less than two percent are referred to the Office of Student Conduct for similar violations.  The statistics do not support Ms. Gutknecht’s claim.

Ms. Martin suggested that EIP students should “live it up when you aren’t taking classes that actually matter.”  These courses matter more than others, as they will determine if EIP students will be granted full admission to the university.  She further encouraged irresponsible decisions by telling EIP students to “raise a glass and get crazy off of one drink.”  The majority of students admitted to the EIP program are between the ages of 17 and 18.  I am disappointed that a student leader would encourage underage students to break the law and the rules of the Student Conduct Code.  EIP students have been removed from the program due to misconduct, which eliminates their chances of being admitted to Georgia Southern University in the fall.  The consequences of irresponsible behavior are too critical to take such a gamble.

According to our Georgia Southern V.A.L.U.E.S., “everyone has the right to be heard, and every word must be spoken with respect.”  These articles were not an accurate representation of our community.   Yes, people are talking, however, I would hope our goal in Student Media is to produce reputable journalism as opposed to a standard likened to that of a tabloid.  It is inconsiderate to jeopardize the reputation of this great university for the sole purpose of attracting readers.  There was nothing meaningful gained in sharing these opinions with our community.

In conclusion, I challenge the staff of The George-Anne to consider all facts and think about potential consequences of their work at all times.  Who is affected?  What are the effects?  Is it worth it?  Opinion pieces from student leaders carry weight and have influence in our community.  Also, I challenge students participating in the Eagle Incentive Program to give your very best in class and to make responsible decisions this summer.  I look forward to having all of you back in August!

Sincerely,

Patrice Buckner Jackson

Dean of Students