USG honors students who fixed Spirit Rock

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Fresh paint drys on the spirit rock to cover vandalism visible on the morning of Sept. 20. The vandal had spray painted over the existing “Black Lives Matter” to read “All Lives Matter.” Photo by Kevin Lindstrom/The Daily Campus.

On Wednesday, the Undergraduate Student Government at the University of Connecticut held their bi-weekly senate meeting, discussing pass/fail legislation for the 2020-21 academic year, a new proposal for the spring 2021 academic calendar and honoring the two students who fixed the defaced Spirit Rock.   

With a vote of 14-4, the senate passed legislation proposing that the school adopt a bylaw amendment to the current pass/fail policy, which is Sep. 14. The main part of the proposal includes moving the pass/fail deadline from the original extension of Nov. 20 to Dec. 28, allowing students even more time to make a decision.

Other parts of the proposal included having students consult with their advisors prior to electing to take a course pass/fail, having up to three courses taken as pass/fail (counting toward major, minor and general education requirements in all schools and colleges) and suspending the 26-credit and scholastic probation restrictions.   

“We do acknowledge that the minimum requirements of professors who teach online classes doesn’t exist, so students can have a very inconsistent education due to the academic freedom of professors,” senator Likhitadevi Athina said, when discussing the impact of the pandemic on students’ educational experience.   

The senate also voted on a new proposal for the spring 2021 semester, which includes campus move-in on Jan. 15 (with a two-week quarantine), having classes start Jan. 19 (with all classes online during quarantine period) and spring break lasting from April 11 to 17.  

This proposal was passed unanimously and will be brought before the University Senate — the legislative body that establishes UConn’s rules and regulations.   

A motion of extreme confidence was presented to Omar Gebril, a seventh-semester psychology and Islamic civilizations major, and Colt Nichols, a seventh-semester electrical and biomedical engineering major, for their role in fixing the defaced Spirit Rock when it was changed from saying “Black Lives Matter” to “All Lives Matter” last week.   

This motion was passed by unanimous consent, and both students accepted.   

“We don’t think of it as something that was that noteworthy,” Nichols said. “It was something we were glad to fix for the community.”   

USG ended the meeting with a discussion on the Spirit Rock incident, ranging from ways to hold UConn students accountable, free speech and defining the Spirit Rock’s purpose on campus going forward, a conversation which was joined by Dean of Students Elly Daugherty and Chief Diversity Officer Frank Tuitt.  

“It is a responsibility and a choice when you choose to express yourself. And when you cause harm, you’re responsible for the harm that is caused,” Daugherty said of the defacing of the rock. “I will equally protect your right to free speech, but I won’t disavow the responsibility for the harm that you cause.” 

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