ASUC Senate discusses class scheduling issues, passes 6 bills

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During its Wednesday meeting, the ASUC Senate convened in Eshleman Hall to discuss several bills aimed at improving student life and class scheduling conflicts including grading options and the semester-out rule.

The meeting covered several topics, including guest speaker announcements and the introduction of several new senate resolutions. Guest speaker Robert Jacobsen, campus dean of the College of Letter and Sciences, discussed student scheduling conflicts, including the campus’s semester-out rule and the pass/no pass grading option.

According to Jacobsen, the current hard deadline of five weeks to add, drop or change the grading option for a class is inconvenient for students, especially given the extensive process of appealing the deadline. Jacobsen said advisers should instead implement a set of rules regarding schedule changes after the deadline and enforce them.

“Why is it such a big deal that students want to change their class to pass/no pass?” said ASUC Senator Miranda Hernandez. “The faculty and those that sit on these committees have nothing to lose by letting the students pass/no pass, but the students themselves have something to lose.”

Hernandez also raised concerns about the campus’s allegedly “terrible” grade deflation. According to Jacobsen, however, the campus has also experienced grade inflation, but in comparison to other schools, UC Berkeley’s grade inflation isn’t as noticeable.

“Harvard gives 94 percent (of its students) A’s, and Berkeley does not,” Jacobsen said. “Your problem is not about (UC) Berkeley’s grades it’s about everybody else’s grades.”

According to Jacobsen, advising in the College of Letters and Sciences is poor and needs to be improved to provide students with more sensitive advice. The main issue, he said, is that most advisers see 55 to 65 students per week and have difficulties accommodating all students seeking advising.

In response, Senator Alaa Aissi suggested that Letters and Sciences be broken up into smaller subdivisions to reduce the student-to-adviser ratio.

During the executive office reports, ASUC President William Morrow described his collaboration with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer to create an undergraduate student budget oversight committee. If approved, the committee will be a space where students can “directly engage on the budget priorities of the campus,” said Morrow, and would give students an opportunity to have a direct say in the allocation of funds.

The ASUC Senate also convened to discuss six senate resolutions, all of which were passed unanimously.

One of the bills, SR-076, which was sponsored by ASUC Senator Rigel Robinson, supports better federal student aid. The senate resolution calls for the restoration of year-round Pell Grants and increasing the maximum award amount.

SR-078, sponsored by ASUC Senator Alyssa Liu, highlights issues that menstruating students face and aims to alleviate them by providing free menstrual products in the Tang Center and the ASUC Student Union.

Contact Amber Tang at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ambertang_dc.