Student rally protests grading change

Lindsey Reed

“Plus, minus, kiss my hinus,” they shouted.

As the students protested his controversial proposal, economics professor Brian Strow stood nearby and looked on.

“I want to hear what they have to say,” he said. “I’m not trying to punish students. I want to reward students for their knowledge and achievement in class.”

At least 80 students gathered Thursday on the Garrett Ballroom walkway and protested the proposed plus/minus grading system.

The rally was sponsored by the Student Government Association.

Jackson junior Josh Collins, a student senate member, said that it was up to the students to fight the proposal.

“This university is our house and it’s our duty to take care of it – not only for us, but for the students that come after us,” he said. “We want the faculty senate to not work just for the faculty, but work for the students and everybody.”

Louisville senior Troy Ransdell, a student senate member, said the rally would send a strong message across campus.

SGA President John Bradley said student opinion was not considered in the proposal.

“I think the most telling part of the story is that the person who proposed this didn’t ask students to begin with,” he said during the rally.

Bradley said upper-level administrators have told him that they do not favor the proposal.

“Plus/minus grading is not good for the students, it’s not good for Western and it’s not good for the community as a whole,” he said.

Leitchfield freshman Melissa Constant said she participated in the rally because she thinks the proposal would hurt more students than help.

“I bust my butt for every grade I get, regardless of what it is,” she said.

Elizabethtown freshman Rebecca Grover said it was important for her to come to the rally because she didn’t want to complain without coming to participate.

The rally showed senators that there are many students against the proposal, she said.

“It’s more than just hearsay, it’s actually seeing the people,” Grover said.

Radcliff junior Rachel Shook said she didn’t think there was any way to change the current proposal to make it more fair.

“Whether you get bad or good grades, it’s a negative system,” she said.

Shook said she didn’t think the rally alone would make a big difference in the way senators voted, but SGA’s support would make a difference.

Louisville senior Thomas Bizzell said he came to support other students, even though he wouldn’t be affected by the grading system.

“There is no chance for people without super study skills to get a 4.0,” he said. “Getting good grades would be that much more difficult.”

Louisville junior Lori Frey said she came to the rally because she was worried about how the proposal could hurt her GPA and her chance of getting into law school.

“If the plus/minus system is approved, my GPA could go down the one point I need to get in,” she said.

Justin Grieves, a junior from Portland, Tenn., said he was impressed with the rally’s turnout.

“It’s a small percentage of the student body, but it’s one of the biggest turnouts I’ve ever seen for anything,” he said.

Richard Douglas, a senior from Hendersonville, Tenn., made up his own slogan at the rally.

“Why plus/minus now? What are you thinking, Dr. Strow?” Douglas chanted.

He said he questions Strow’s intentions with the system.

Strow said he was surprised that the speakers did not ask if anyone would want to speak in favor of the proposal.

Students on the borderline of getting a higher grade could benefit from the proposal, he said.

“It’s an injustice that needs to be corrected,” he said.

Eric Reed, an assistant professor in history and senate member, said he thought it was healthy for students to express their feelings.

“I think they should state their views as clearly as they can,” he said. “I wish they could be engaged in more issues than just plus/minus grading.”

Reach Lindsey Reed at [email protected]