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Thursday, September 20, 2018

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Senators speak against Fields’ platform for presidency


Three senators passionately argued against part of Student Government Association presidential candidate John Fields’ platform.

Fields’ presidential platform focuses on five key aspects, one of them being an enactment of grade replacement.

For SGA senator David Gratvol, he became infuriated when he heard, what seemed to be Fields taking credit of this bill and all the work done by other senators including Gratvol himself.

“John Fields is saying his administration is going to implement grade replacement, and that’s what set me off,” Gratvol said.

The bill aims to install a new policy that enables students to petition to have their first attempt of a course attempted more than once removed from their cumulative GPA calculations.

Senators David Gratvol, Paul O’Brien and Laurel Rawley have worked on this bill during the 52nd administration while Clint Kirchhoff grandfathered it back in the 51st.

“Our contingent is with John coming up here and saying that ‘we’re doing grade replacement, that’s out platform’. No, that’s our issue,” O’Brien said.

In response to these allegations, Fields defended and gave ownership to the senators that drafted and worked endlessly on this bill.

“Grade replacement has been worked on by a lot of people over the course of the years: Senator Kirchhoff, Senator O’Brien (and) Senator Gratvol have done some amazing work on it this past year,” Fields said. “Any indication that I took credit for any of the work they did was totally a mistake. I have a lot of respect and (am) appreciative of all the work the three of them did to make grade replacement a reality.”

Fields said his intention was to make sure the topic of grade replacement is not buried under the several tasks on a president’s agenda during his term. He wanted this bill to be at the forefront of the conversation in hopes to possibly have it enacted sometime soon.

“Over the course of two years at SGA, I’ve seen that in order for something to be enacted, especially something students are pushing for, you need constant pressure on University administration to make it happen,” Fields said.

“When I talk about it on my platform, I’m not trying to take credit for it, because I realize that I did very little work regarding grade replacement up to this point. I’m just making sure it’s something that’s at the forefront of the conversation so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of transitioning administrations in SGA.”

Professor and chair of the undergraduate committee in the Faculty Senate Simon Bott stated this bill has a much longer history.

“This has been the sixth or seventh attempt at a grade replacement bill in the last how ever many years,” Bott said.

Bott has been a part of this committee since the committee was its own separate entity from the Faculty Senate and called the Undergrad Council. After serving for 17 years in this committee, Bott has witnessed previous senators attempt to draft and legislate a grade replacement bill before. However, Bott said none have been as well-crafted as this one.

As the bill prepares to formally face the undergraduate committee, senators Gratvol, O’Brien, Rawley and potentially Fields hope to see positive results and a step closer for this bill in becoming policy for UH.

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