SGA tackling evaluations

Ashlee Clark

With the plus/minus grading debate handed over to an ad hoc committee, the Student Government Association is prepared to continue addressing issues – both new and old.

SGA will hold its first Congress meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

One issue that SGA plans to readdress this semester is allowing students to see parts of professor evaluations.

“We’re at a point now where SGA feels that students should have access to something,” SGA President John Bradley said.

Bradley said students should be able to see summary data for certain sections of professor evaluations. Those would help answer questions about the instructor, like whether or not the instructor is actively helpful or if the faculty member knows the course topics well.

Currently, the results of the evaluations students fill out each semester are not available for viewing.

A proposed constitution and bylaws will also be voted on by the student body this semester. Changes from the existing constitution include adding a chief of staff position and having 35 Congress members elected to serve one-year terms, as opposed to 75.

“We’re really going to try to promote this,” said Robert Watkins, chair of the legislative research committee and author of the new constitution.

The chief of staff position would be a coordinator within the executive branch.

SGA still plans to stay focused on the plus/minus grading issue by lobbying on behalf of the students to the ad hoc committee created to address academic quality, Bradley said.

The ad hoc committee will make its recommendations on plus/minus grading by March.

No definite members have been chosen yet, said Jim Berger, University Senate vice chairman.

A personal project that Bradley is working on is the creation of a student emergency fund.

The endowment would be created for students in need of immediate aid. The money would not have to be repaid and would be gained through fundraising, Bradley said.

“My hope is that we could generate within a year at least a couple of thousand dollars,” he said.

SGA will also address plans to help students who are facing the process of appealing a grade, Bradley said.

He said SGA is weighing the possibility of adding ombudsmen to aid students contesting a grade.

“It’s an intimidating process,” Bradley said.

The ombudsmen, who would have experience with the appealing process, would be supportive of the student during the appeal, although the person would not actually represent the student.

Bradley said people could volunteer for the ombudsmen positions.

Bradley plans to rally in Frankfort on Feb. 5 with other student governments across the state concerning funding for higher education.

“We have some major issues with funding right now,” Bradley said.

But SGA’s budget has not become a concern to the organization right now, Bradley said.

SGA Parliamentarian Mason Stevenson said he hopes a forum for Greeks and non-Greeks will be created this spring.

The possibility of an outlet that would have allowed discussion between the two groups was put on the back burner last semester due to the effort of opposing plus/minus grading, Stevenson said.

“I would be really interested in seeing things come through this semester,” he said.

Another new topic to be discussed this semester is the possibility of adding a Service One Credit Union Automatic Teller Machine near the Downing University Center.

An additional Service One ATM would be useful at Western since a large number of students use the business, Bradley said. He said it can be inconvenient for students to walk to the Service One at the top of the Hill.

“I think it should be more accessible to students,” Bradley said.

Reach Ashlee Clark [email protected].