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SGA talks CASA, admissions reforms in first summer meeting


SGA met for the first time since April on Wednesday to discuss bills to pass for the upcoming year. Courtesy of Dailey Hubbard

In their first meeting of the summer on Wednesday, the Student Government Association relayed potential changes to testing, admissions and a draft finalized in April on the University’s grade replacement policy.

Senator Edwin Mascorro, representative for the college of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, began the debate by chronicling how he had waited in line for 30 minutes after a test-scheduling mess at the CASA testing center.

“It’s affected every single student,” Mascorro said. “There needs to be something critical done about CASA. It’s detrimental to the student’s ability to perform on tests, not because they don’t (have) the knowledge. It’s an environment where the student is not set up to be successful.”

Mascorro suggested that the center continue its tutoring services while retracting the tests. This maneuver, he said, would put testing power in the hands the professors, while still allotting a place for CASA in the University’s tutoring services.

This would also limit the cheating that occurs, Mascorro said, when students sign up for later tests to get the answers from people who take them at an earlier time.

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Mascorro said that the system was ineffective, and other senators, like Matthew Wiltshire for CLASS, agreed.

“CASA has made some pretty ginormous screw-ups,” Wiltshire said.

A chemistry test mix-up on Wednesday, which forced students to choose between attending class and taking the test, also affected Wiltshire. He felt equally disheartened by the mistake’s resolution.

“They had to cancel all of the people who signed up and reset the exams,” Wiltshire said. “It took 30 minutes to sign in at the beginning of CASA’s exams today.”

SGA discussions proceeded in the absence of President Shaun Theriot-Smith, who was traveling for work during the meeting.

SGA also brought forth their April draft for a change to the grade replacement policy. Currently, UH does not allow grades to be replaced when retaking a class. Based on policies at other leading universities like Texas A&M and the University of Texas at Austin, the senate hopes to allow grades to be replaced in the future. They are awaiting administrative support of the proposition.

Clint Kirchhoff, a Cullen College of Engineering senator, mentioned an admissions reform he wants to enact by the end of his term, which, he said, would create a “more selective, holistic process.” Deeming it the “Building the Powerhouse Act,” the bill will modify standards and, he hopes, raise graduation rates.

“It takes a more strategic approach with student admissions, in terms of building our university the way we want it to be,” Kirchhoff said.

The senate agreed to consider the bill further in committees.

SGA meetings are open to the public. The next meeting is set for July 8.

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