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Monday, September 25, 2023


CLASS senators meet with students

The senators of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences stirred up student opinion at their first town hall meeting of the semester Tuesday.

Issues discussed included graduation restrictions, Proposition 4 and textbook costs.

‘ ‘The meeting is for students to enjoy the information that we know,’ CLASS Sen. Mila Clarke said. ‘As senators, we get a lot of information that students necessarily don’t get, and our rule for these meetings is to allow students to come hear what’s going on.’

The restriction of graduation tickets to four per person was addressed at the meeting.’

Due to an inadequate amount of CLASS students who appeared at graduation, Director of Academic Affairs Janie Graham says the administration considered ticketing to save space.

‘All CLASS students who can apply for graduation are available to walk,’ Graham said. ‘However, there are usually 700 students who apply that do not show up.”

For the fall commencement, Hotel and Restaurant Management will combine with CLASS for a total of approximately 750 graduates.’

SGA President Kenneth Fomunung said Provost John Antel has designated 500 to 600 reserved seats for students, with an extra 1,000 behind the commencement curtain. With the limited space, students with large families are concerned about a possible ticket restriction.

Fomunung said that he understands where the idea for ticketing came from, but as a student he does not agree with restricting a moment like this in a student’s life. Fomunung believes that an RSVP system will help guarantee tickets for larger families.

‘We are not traditional graduate students. Most of us have more than four family members. One thing I would recommend is (an) RSVP system of some sort,’ Fomunung said. ‘A lot of students already have a view of how many family members will be coming to graduation. If we do the RSVP system starting now, those students can let their respective colleges know.’

Interim Dean of CLASS Joseph Pratt said one of the reasons for ticketing was because in the past, CLASS had never been able to fill every graduation seat. However, he does agree with Fomunung that an RSVP system might be a good idea.

‘One of the glories of the UH system was to see 10 to 12 of your family members experiencing a moment of your life,’ Pratt said.’ ‘We are trying to protect that; this is an experiment. I think (an) RSVP system might warn us that we are wrong.”

The SGA would like to make available six to eight tickets per person. The possibility of an overflow commencement ceremony is also being discussed, CLASS Senator Mary Martin said.’

With the Nov. 3 vote for Proposition 4 drawing closer, CLASS senators briefly discussed the plans for UH’s future as a flagship university.

‘ ‘Our upper administration did really well in Austin this past spring,’ Pratt said.’ ‘We have a push to realize that if we are able to be a tier one university, we need to improve dramatically our undergraduate student success rate. I think we deserve to be treated on par with Texas and (Texas) A&M. One really good thing that our president has done is to pull our university together collectively, and she has done that with this tier one motivation.’

Clarke said that shuttles will be available to transport students to nearby voting polls on Nov. 3.

‘ Senior political science major Will Barrett argued about the steep prices of textbooks. Barrett believes that students should have more affordable options for textbooks, but discouraged using Web sites such as CourseCompass because they charge stealthy fees that can help ‘line the pockets of professors.’

Pratt agreed that book prices are a major issue and would like the SGA to continue to address this concern to the UH administration.

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