SGA discusses fall sports and Hurricane Laura relief


Photo by: Jessica Mouton

The Nicholls State University Student Government Association held its third weekly meeting in LeBijou Theater in the student union. 

The meeting opened with a few statements from University President Jay Clune. One of the topics Clune addressed was what the university is doing to aid McNeese University students whose campus is currently uninhabitable due to intense damage from Hurricane Laura. 

He revealed that Nicholls will be offering shelter in one of their residential halls to students whose on-campus living quarters were destroyed in the storm. Clune also strongly expressed his sympathy for McNeese and the entire Lake Charles area.

“We could’ve very easily been McNeese,” Clune said.

The next topic of discussion was prompted by a senator’s question about what would trigger a campus shutdown. Clune explains that the current plan in place is to shut down if the percentage of student infections rises to 10 percent of the student population, which would be roughly 600 students. 

However, the Louisiana Department of Health is moving towards lowering the shutdown-level percentage to five percent, which would be around 300 Nicholls students. Should the LDH push this transition further, and the number of students infected rises to 300, the university would go remote, leaving residence halls, the cafeteria and other campus facilities open.

Dr. Clune also took a moment to address an issue that is very controversial within the Nicholls community right now: athletics. All Louisiana schools have moved fall sports to the spring semester for a number of reasons, including health and safety issues, liability issues and cost issues.

Clune confirms that COVID-19 testing for all student athletes would cost between $250,000 and $300,000. Another controversy that has emerged due to the postponing of fall sports is the athletic fees included in student fees. Clune shared his insight on this pressing topic.

“Athletic fees fund scholarships, they fund the infrastructure, they fund the trainers, they fund the healthcare, they fund coaches. So, when someone says, ‘Oh, we don’t have games this semester. I’m not going to be able to get in with my card,’ or ‘Why don’t I get my student fees back?’, and SGA voted these athletic fees a long time ago for a very good reason. They sustain a program, because you can’t pull scholarships and let your staff go and let your facilities fall apart every time there’s not a season,” Clune said. 

President Ethan Naquin shared his plan to aid those impacted by the storm later in the meeting.

“SGA will be putting together a supply drive for the victims of Hurricane Laura over the next few weeks, prioritizing students and faculty directly impacted, as well as any Mcneese students who might be sheltering on campus and having the rest go to the Southwest Louisiana region,” Naquin said.

Naquin explains that the collection site for donations will be located at the entrance of the student union.