Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia
DePaul’s Student Government Association (SGA) passed three resolutions regarding registration for commuter students, commencement planning for the Class of 2021 and the university’s reversal to its regular grading policies, respectively, during its first general body meeting of the quarter on Thursday.
The first resolution advocates for commuter students to have an earlier enrollment period when registering for classes.
Under the “Resolution Concerning Earlier Registration for Commuter Students,” earlier enrollment dates for commuter students would be divided into time-based brackets. These brackets would correspond with the student’s regular enrollment time and date. Students commuting more than two hours to campus would be given first priority while students with a 30-minute commute or less would fall into the fourth bracket.
“I’ve been very adamant on putting an earlier course cart enrollment [date] for commuter students,” said Cindy Rocha, SGA’s senator for commuter students.
The other resolution that passed, the “Resolution Concerning Graduation 2021 Ad Hoc Committee,” will create an ad hoc committee to help plan and create ways to “celebrate the class of 2021,” while taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic according to the resolution. John Milas, the senator for fourth and fifth-year students, will serve as the committee chair.
The last resolution, the “Resolution Concerning the Pass/D/Fail Option,” calls to reinstate the Pass/D/Fail grading policy utilized in spring and fall quarters allowing students to utilize this grading system for any of their courses.
Earlier this week, the university returned to its standard policies regarding the grading option, which gives students with at least sophomore standing and not on academic probation the ability to opt into a pass/fail grade for one class.
Wesley Janicki, SGA’s executive vice president of facility operations, expressed his support for reinstating the pass/fail grading policies of spring and fall quarter, citing the negative effects online learning has had on students’ mental health and the ongoing pandemic.
“This is not just something we’re making up as students,” Janicki said. “It is literally impacting our mental health.”
After passing the resolutions, SGA moved on to other items on its agenda.
Student Engagement in College of Communication
Gema Tinoco, SGA’s senator for the College of Communication, said she met with the college’s student engagement committee which is interested in the level of student engagement within the college and looking for ways to get students more involved in campus activities.
“My impression was that most of the activities that are hosted haven’t been getting a lot of attendance,” Tinoco said.
Courtney James, one of SGA’s advisors and the director of the Office of Student Involvement, said student engagement across grade levels is down this year.
“Everything’s down,” James said. “We’ve interacted with 21 percent of undergraduate students this year.”
James added that engagement with first-year students is particularly lower this year compared to previous years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The problem with this year is that there’s this huge disconnect,” James said. “We aren’t physically seeing the freshmen.”
SGA President Alyssa Isberto will record her president’s report outside of SGA’s general body meetings that will be posted on Fridays.
In her report this week, she delivered a recap of the resolutions SGA passed and discussed an initiative by DePaul Athletics in providing students quarantining in dorms with mental health breaks.
During Thursday’s meeting, Isberto also discussed the BUILD Initiative meant to enhance students’ understanding of social justice and inclusion.
Vice President’s Report
SGA’s Vice President Watfae Zayed talked about SGA’s ad hoc committee to support students with disabilities and the need for a chair for the committee.
In addition, Zayed said SGA is working to change the university’s hate speech guidelines and that she is looking into adding “Middle Eastern” as an ethnicity category when students apply to DePaul.
Jane Pallos, SGA’s elections coordinator, said SGA is looking to fill four vacant senator positions: transfer students, College of Law, veteran’s affairs and graduate students. Pallos added that any student interested in applying for the position must submit their resume and cover letter to Isberto by Jan. 25 at 5 p.m.