A.S. Council Brief: Uncertainty Around Commencement; Remote Learning Commitment to Incoming Freshmen


Niloufar Shahbandi

Associated Students Senate held their weekly meeting to discuss COVID-19 accomodations for the incoming class of 2024, give an update on the possible situations for the class of 2020 commencement ceremony, lowering the voter threshold for the upcoming Counseling and Psychological Services fee referendum, and discussing a pass/no pass grading option for the 2020 Summer Sessions on Wednesday, April 15.

A.S. President Eleanor Grudin shared new policies for the incoming class of 2024 that will include a guarantee to non-resident freshmen that if they accept their offer to UC San Diego, they will be able to study remotely. This guarantee was made to accommodate international students who may experience difficulties with traveling to San Diego due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.  

A Senator from the All Campus Commencement Committee gave updates for the 2020 commencement ceremony. The Senator reported that commencement will most likely not take place in June or during the summer since Summer Sessions will also be remote. Some of the suggested dates for class of 2020 commencement include the end of the upcoming Fall or Winter Quarters or combining the commencement ceremony with the one for the class of 2021.

The senate also debated dropping the threshold percentage for the upcoming Election and Referenda Questions. A.S. Senators discussed lowering the referendum threshold percentage from the required 20 percent following the low voter turnout in the college council elections. They addressed the difficulties in getting students to vote without being able to physically campaign like previous years.

The CAPS fee referendum will be held from May 18 to May 22 on TritonLink. The referendum will ask students if they approve of increasing the CAPS and Student Mental Health Fee “of $20.71 per student per quarter effective fall 2020 (fall, winter, spring), increasing to $28.21 per student per quarter effective fall 2021, and increasing to $35.71 per quarter effective fall 2022?” 

While the Senate did not agree on a certain percentage, a poll held by Grudin indicated that most senators are in favor of lowering the threshold to 10 percent. 

Other items for debate included the issue of pass/no pass grading options for Summer Sessions. Grudin, shared the Academic Senate Undergraduate Council’s discussion regarding grading options for Summer Sessions. While the council has not reached a decision yet, they are looking to proceed with normal grading standards for Summer Sessions which will not include the pass/no pass grading option that they provided for the Spring Quarter. 

Grudin explained that the decision to include the pass/no pass grading option for Spring Quarter was to aid faculty in adjusting to remote classes. However, many Senators opposed this outlook by stating that remote classes are difficult for students in different living conditions and having the pass/no pass grading option helps students to cope with this new method of learning. 

Financial Controller Ethan Christensen also discussed changes to the Safe Rides Program. The A.S. Senate has restructured the program to include 10 free rides per student at $2 off per ride. This new system helps accommodate students living on-campus to get rides to the grocery store and other essential locations. 

Artwork by Allyson Llacuna for the UCSD Guardian.