Semester in review

Tandra Smith

From Grant Spencer to #BringBackGUS, fall semester has been packed with events happening in Statesboro to right here on Georgia Southern’s campus.

Here is just a few of the most popular stories this semester.

Hebert’s first semester

This fall semester marked Jaimie Hebert’s first semester as president of Georgia Southern University, after assuming the position on July 1.

During Hebert’s first 100 days, he welcomed feedback, comments and questions from faculty, staff and students about what they liked about Georgia Southern and what they thought could be improved.

Hebert’s first State of the University was filled with questions about financial aid, building expansions and race. He took turns with other university officials answering questions about these topics and more.

The president’s first semester wasn’t filled with all ups, however. During the semester, Hebert had to deal with Eagle Alert complaints, flooding back in his hometown, handling Hurricane Matthew and more.

As the semester draws to a close and though next semester will likely bring new challenges, Hebert’s future here at GS seems to be bright.


“I would prefer to err on the conservative side to ensure safety of our students.” – Hebert on Eagle Alerts

“They’re strong people and they are going to survive.” – Hebert on Louisiana flooding

“I couldn’t be prouder of the way that our staff, our students and our faculty responded in this situation.” – Hebert on Hurricane Matthew.

Rape kits sent to GBI

In early September, Georgia Southern’s Office of Public Safety sent 10 untested rape kits to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), due to a new act signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal.

The kits that were sent came between the years of 2011 and 2015. Most of the kits weren’t going to be prosecuted.

Currently the GBI’s State Crime Lab is dealing with a backlog of rape kits and it’s likely that GS’ won’t be seen for at least a year and a half or two years. Under normal circumstances, the crime lab would usually take anywhere from 90 to 120 days.

Grant Spencer gets sentenced

In October, Grant Spencer, the bouncer who killed Michael Gatto outside of a bar in 2014, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter.

Originally charged with a count of felony murder and one count of aggravated assault, the state prosecutor and Spencer’s attorneys reached a plea deal, changing the assault charge to voluntary manslaughter.

As a result of this incident, various laws have been passed, including Michael’s law, a law that controls the way bars and restaurants sell alcohol.

High program rankings

This past semester, Georgia Southern University has received a lot of praise for many of its programs and colleges on campus.

GS’ online MBA program ranks number one for accredited colleges in Georgia, according to, beating out the University of Georgia and the University of West Georgia, among others.

The program has graduated over 70,000 individuals since 2001 and Gordon Smith, Ph.D., director of graduate programs for the College of Business, cites work ethic and dedication as the reason why the program was so highly ranked.

In addition to the MBA program, Georgia Southern’s physical science department is ranked number four in the United States for African-American graduates, according to the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Twenty one men and women graduated from the department in 2015.

GS has been on the list for the last four or five years and is expected to be on it again next year.