Savannah State students 'sit-in' to demand a culture change

Students discuss their concerns with provost Michael Laney (Photo: Ian Dembling)

At least 50 Savannah State University students walked into the James A. Colston Administration Building on campus Friday in an effort to show unity and demand change from the university.

Students want faculty and staff to know that they feel professors aren't taking the students who want to learn seriously, and they are being disrespectful to them.

"I've been called stupid in the classroom by a teacher, I've been called a liar in the classroom by a teacher," said Chinere Aniagoh, a global logistics and international business major. "I've been attacked culturally by a teacher. He said my African name was too difficult to pronounce in front of the whole class and that he would call me whatever he wanted to call me."

"They don't really teach us with much passion. They don't teach us saying, 'I want them to get something out of this.' They're there for the check," said Erica Jackson, a junior at Savannah State. "Increase either the GPA, the test scores, something to make less students come to this school and barely want to be in school and and then graduate and not give back the tuition".

The provost, who has only been at the job for four months addressed the students and promised action.

"This is a systemic problem, I get that. We are going to address it. I want to hear those complaints. We are going to investigate them," he said.

Some say the meeting went well, while others are still concerned. The graduation rate is only at 27.7 percent at Savannah state based on the latest numbers. Only 58 percent of students stayed past their freshman year, according to the latest numbers on the school's website.

The school released a statement Friday saying: “Savannah State University administrators welcome the opportunity to dialogue with students who wish to express concerns, desires and feedback regarding their education. The university is pleased to be a guiding factor in their lives and is always ready to work with the student body.”

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