ASUC Senate discusses summer sessions, accommodations in light of COVID-19 pandemic

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The ASUC Senate met virtually Wednesday to discuss steps being taken by campus to better accommodate students and staff during the coronavirus pandemic, in addition to addressing concerns over summer sessions.

The meeting began with the first and only guest speaker of the night, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton, who discussed what current and future steps are being taken in response to the pandemic. These include increased financial aid support for students, the continuation of student services over a virtual platform, the consolidation of students still living in on-campus housing, academic accommodations and the postponement of commencement, among others.

Sutton also emphasized the updated cleaning protocols established on campus in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. These protocols include the usage of higher-grade disinfectants and the increase in dedication to staff safety, as well as an hourly wipe down of high-touch areas.

“This is something that is important to me, that we continue to try to provide as much support as we can for students. We’re truly trying to offer as much help as we possibly can,” Sutton said during the meeting. “Our goal is to get as much information out as we possibly can to what’s happening on campus and be very open and transparent.”

During the meeting, ASUC Senator Rocky Gerosa raised his concerns over whether the pass/no pass default grading system would be extended into the summer and if that change would impact students negatively.

Sutton responded that the grading format for summer sessions has not yet been determined but made it clear that students would not be harmed by opting for a pass/no pass scale, regardless of their decisions.

Following Gerosa, ASUC Senator Nicole Anyanwu voiced her concerns regarding the minority of students who are still living in on-campus housing and what the future will look like for them. She also said she is not supportive of the consolidation process to move students into different units and would like the possibility offered for students to stay where they are currently living for the summer.

Sutton responded that campus administration wants to be “as flexible as possible” and provide as many accommodations as possible in order to put less stress on students. Regarding the consolidation, Sutton responded that the goal is to not move people around too much because of a potential hassle it may bring and added that campus administration will follow up on answering questions surrounding summer housing.

The ASUC Senate passed six resolutions during the meeting, including bills waiving the requirement for textbooks bought under the ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Textbook Scholarship to be purchased from the Cal Student Store, forming a senate committee to fill the vacant executive vice president seat and reestablishing the active status of the ASUC Diversity Affairs Commission.

Audry Jeong is a student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @audryjng_dc.