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Saturday, June 25, 2022

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SGA passes bill, talks grade replacement in first meeting


kayla fischer

The SGA senate voted to appoint Kayla Fischer as chair of Academic Affairs. | Trey Strange/The Cougar

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Winni Zhang authored the CLASSmates bill.

In their first meeting of the summer Wednesday, SGA senators passed a bill expanding the CLASSmates program and confirmed that the Undergraduate Committee of the Faculty Senate passed the grade placement policy earlier in the day.

“It only helps 20 percent of the people we wanted it to,” said Clint Kirchoff, the former chair of Academic Affairs. “But 20 percent is better than no one.”

Kirchoff, who will graduate with a degree in chemical engineering later this week, played an active role in forming the grade replacement policy over his two years in Academic Affairs.

Currently, the University’s policy allows for students to re-take classes and the two grades are averaged together. Kirchoff advocated for the new policy to allow students in to replace grades from their first 60 hours, but opposition whittled that to amount to 30 hours.

Next, the Office of the Provost will have to approve the policy. Kirchoff could not say whether the provost would think favorably to the policy.

“But I’m optimistic,” Kirchoff said.

Newly elected senator Leen Basharat authored the first bill of the new administration with the support from Deputy Chief of Staff Winni Zhang. It will increase the CLASSmates program, which links 250 students in 1000-level political science and history classes together in order to help them make friends in their first year of college, to a full year.

“(The bill) has a lot of good intentions and with the current strides it has made, I cannot imagine what future improvements it will provide both incoming CLASS students and CLASS itself,” Basharat said.

The senators also voted in a new chair of Academic Affairs, Kayla Fischer. Fischer, previously a senator for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said she wanted to increase engagement between SGA and the student body.

“SGA and the students are really separated,” Fischer said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Although he didn’t voice support for or against Fischer, Kirchoff, her predecessor, came to the meeting to see the appointment. Now that the grade replacement policy is nearly passed, he advised her to take the Academic Affairs committee in a new direction.

“Make sure to focus really hard on graduation rates,” he said.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Leen Basharat has recently left her job as assistant news editor to pursue a position in the SGA Senate. Her words and opinions do not reflect the ideas of The Cougar or the Editorial Board in any way. 

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