Chants by the student-led campaign Students Against Sonny were heard across downtown Athens Tuesday. This protest followed the University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ recent pause in its search for a new chancellor, after controversy broke out regarding the board’s consideration of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue.
The group met at the Arch with signs calling for change and transparency from the Board of Regents. One of the organizers, Layla Contreras, a sophomore marketing major at the University of Georgia, alongside students from other Georgia universities, helped start the campaign about two weeks ago.
“We came together to use our resources and our networks to make sure we get this word out,” Contreras said.
Students Against Sonny’s effort has resulted in a petition with over 1,300 signatures opposing Perdue’s consideration. The petition outlines the group’s four demands: no Sonny Perdue, transparency, experience and for the Board of Regents to pay attention to student values and voices.
“We need the Board of Regents to be listening to all stakeholders as we search through somebody who’s actually qualified to hold this important role,” said Joseph Fu, a mathematics professor at UGA.
While protesting, the group was met by other Athenians stopping to hear more about their movement and their demands for the Board of Regents.
“It’s not like there’s not many qualified people,” said junior political science major Quin Thomas. “So in this process of delaying it, what are they doing?”
The group calls for politics to be removed as a factor when deciding a new chancellor and to appoint someone who has experience in education.
“This is not a partisan issue, this is a people issue,” said sophomore political science and international affairs major Patrick Mosley.
During this protest, other members of Students Against Sonny met at the Board of Regents office in Atlanta.