USG senate pushes for academic forgiveness

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On February 24th, the UConn USG Senate unanimously voted to offer academic forgiveness for students who change their majors along with the movement to add more students to the UConn Board of Trustees. Photo by Avery Bikerman/The Daily Campus

On Wednesday night, the University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government Senate unanimously voted (with one abstention) on a policy which would offer academic forgiveness for students who change their majors. 

USG Senator Gaston Neville, a sixth-semester environmental studies and urban and community studies double major, and co-author of this legislation, said this policy would allow students who change their majors to drop up to two courses related to their previous majors and replace the grade on their transcript with a letter marker, similar to a pass/fail option. Meanwhile, credits for these dropped courses would remain on the student’s transcript. 

The inspiration, Neville said, was the idea that there are a large number of students who come into UConn as a certain major, accumulate a bad GPA in these majors, and then feel trapped when they realize it’s not for them. 

“This is just giving flexibility for students who are in that situation and just like, letting them know if you do change, here’s the flexibility, you can actually remove up to two of those classes, so you’re not like, in the gutter,” Neville said. “It’ll inspire them hopefully to change to the major that they actually want to do.” 

USG State Affairs Coordinator Mitchel Kvedar, a sixth-semester environmental studies and political science double major, called this legislation “a no-brainer.” 

Kvedar, who changed majors himself, said that his struggles in two chemistry courses factored into his decision to switch. He said it would’ve been nice to have the option to take these courses off his transcript. 

“it’ll inspire them hopefully to change to the major that they actually want to do.”

USG Senator Gaston Neville

One point of contention about this piece of legislation was whether or not there should be a grade cap which would prevent students from dropping major-specific courses in which they earned high grades. After some debate, an amendment was added which would forfeit any such grade cap. 

Another piece of legislation, which proposed to add more students to the University of Connecticut Board of Trustees, passed through the USG senate with unanimous consent.  

USG Senator Benjamin Keilty, a second-semester mathematics major and author of this legislation, explained that the board of trustees is “a 21-member board which is the ultimate governing board of UConn.” The board of trustees controls UConn’s entire budget, including the health center, and appoints new presidents, Keilty said. 

“Currently, of those 21 members, 12 are appointed directly by the governor, three are the heads of state agencies, and one is the governor himself,” Keilty said. Essentially, more than three-quarters of the board owe some sort of allegiance to Ned Lamont. 

“Meanwhile, there is one graduate student and one undergraduate student,” Keilty said.  

UConn got this undergraduate seat back in 1975, Keilty said. “Since then, the undergraduate population has nearly doubled, the size of the board has increased by 33 percent, and we have not seen an increase in membership over the last 46 years,” he said. 

“This is part of a push to get more student representation on campus,” Keilty said. 

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