A.S. Council Brief: Academic Integrity, COVID-19 Fees, Pass/No Pass Deadline

Week 9

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Associated Students held their Week 9 Council Meeting, which included a special presentation regarding the Academic Integrity Office review process, reports on Triton Dine, complications with free campus COVID tests, and a discussion on the creation of a new Senate Leadership Position.

Junior Wen Fang’s presentation brought up concerns about the lack of consideration for international students for whom English is a second language within the AIO review process. Fang explained that she had been charged with an academic integrity violation that she believes she was not at fault for.

Before entering the initial meeting with an AIO representative, Fang requested to have a translator present. She claims that her request was denied without explanation. She felt that without a translator present, she was unable to sufficiently express her arguments and provide evidence to plead her case. 

“It was [the representative’s] understanding that after the initial meeting, I wanted to take responsibility,” Fang said. “I would have to take a punishment for something I know I did not do… I was not truly able to be heard or understood…  If fairness was the goal, a translator for an international student would be encouraged.”

After the presentation, Fang was encouraged by Senator Mihir Pandya to seek help from the Office of Student Advocacy. Fang claimed that she did reach out, however, the OSA did not have a translator who spoke Fang’s language.

Following the presentation, Senator Yarenni Medina reported on a collaborative constitution she is working on with the All Campus Transfer Association.  This constitution will serve to allow for both A.S. Council and ACTA to work more efficiently together with less overlapping of the responsibilities of the two student-led groups.

The next report, made by Vice President Hannah Kreitman, covered both issues with students being charged for their COVID-19 asymptomatic tests and the Triton Dine giveaway

According to Kreitman, some students have found that their free COVID tests provided by UC San Diego left charges in their Student Accounts. She explained that if it is perceived that a student is getting tested too frequently, close to everyday, that student will be charged. The cases are evaluated individually, however. According to Kreitman, members of the Student Health Team also suggest that students should utilize the Price Center walk-up location as opposed to the drive-up because the drive-up is used by UCSD Health, not just UCSD students so “there is less likely to be issues.”

The Triton Dine giveaway received $2,000 from the AS budget and will be split up into $20 gift cards to Vons, Ralphs and the UC San Diego Bookstore. To enter into the giveaway, students will need to complete a short Google Form. To obtain a second entry, students will have to attend an asynchronous game night put on during Monday of finals week at 6 PM, or follow @asucsd on Instagram. Winners will be picked and contacted during finals week.

Next, the Legislative Committee reported approvals on items L1–L3, the appointments of AS Elections Manager, Marketing Coordinator for the Office of Local Affairs and the Office of External Affairs Campus Engagement Director. They also reported the approval of items L5–L7 which were the appointments of two Student Orgs Event Interns, as well as the appointment of the Student Organizations Event Chief of Staff.

Item L4, the resolution calling for Academic Senate to extend academic accommodations, such as extending the pass/no pass deadline for courses and the drop with a “W” deadline, for Winter and Spring Quarter of the 2020–2021 year, and item L8, enhancing communication among ASUCSD Assembly Act –– Amendment to the Standing Rules from COSTAR –– were discharged to the Senate Floor and approved.

Wrapping up the meeting, the council held a discussion on the creation of a new Senate Leadership Position. This position would have the responsibilities of being a representative of the Senate body, an advisor to senator projects, and an overseer, or ‘watchdog,’ of the senators. 

Week 10

The Week 10 Associated Students Council Meeting, held on Wednesday, Dec. 9, included a special presentation from University of California Student Association and a special presentation from the California Public Interest Research Group regarding their Students Fall Quarter Program update. 

The meeting also contained reports on the A.S. website, the creations of the Triton Transfer Coalition, the International Student Association and AS On Demand; the UC San Diego Sustainability Team, Seventh College Senators, the extension of the “Pass/No Pass” deadline, Director of International Students Program, stricter attendance policies, and updates in the Admissions Committee. The meeting wrapped up with a long discourse around the passing of a Committee Charter that supports international students experiencing human rights violations and the passing of a resolution to extend academic accommodations.

To begin the meeting, UCSA President Aidan Arasasingham conducted a special presentation on the history, mission, and 2020–2021 goals of UCSA in honor of its 50th anniversary. Arasasingham’s presentation was followed by a special presentation from the UCSD CALPIRG Chapter to provide their fall update. 

These presentations were followed by several reports from Senators. Senator Tommy Jung reported that he will be completing the “About Us” and Landing Page of the A.S. website over the weekend. Senator Michael Zarucki is working on a Triton Transfer Coalition. This coalition will be a body of representatives from groups who serve transfer students. It will meet frequently to talk and collaborate on ideas as to how they can best help transfer students in need. 

Senator Zaruchi’s report was followed by a report from Senator Dakshh Saraf on the newly created International Student Association. This project, based on Instagram, replicates the Instagram page “Humans of New York,” but instead of showcasing the diversity of the residents of New York City, it will showcase the “diversity that each and every International student brings along with [them],” Saraf said.

Vice President Hannah Kreitman then reported on her meeting with the UCSD Sustainability Team, who said UCSD won a few awards recently for its level of sustainability and are beginning Earth Month preparations. Kreitman also reported that she has started work on A.S. On Demand, “the idea of a formatter website where student groups can request an A.S. member to go into their organization and talk about a specific topic with an A.S. [member].” The A.S. member will then be able to bring back feedback to the A.S. council. Lastly, Kreitman reported that new senators for Seventh College have been picked and will be added to the Council shortly.

President Kimberly Giangtran reported that the pass/no pass deadline has been pushed. Students can now retroactively make a course P/NP after seeing their final grade in the course. However, it is suggested that students “check out how it’ll affect their specific situation and make sure they do that research before clicking that button,” Giangtran said. 

Giangtran also had an update on the Director of International Students Program. The policies in place for Fall are expected to be the same for the Winter Quarter. 

“Students entering the U.S. and coming to UCSD for the first time are going to be required to be enrolled in at least one hybrid class to enter the U.S.,” Giangtran said.

Next, Senator Mihir Pandya gave an update on the Admissions Committee, stating that UC Admissions will no longer be using the SAT/ACT. To replace this testing metric the UC system will consider using the California Smarter Balance statewide standardized tests in the future.  It also considered removing the statewide admissions guarantee to California high schoolers who are in the top 9 percent of their class. Instead, the UC system is thinking about increasing outreach to tribal communities and increasing accommodations to disabled students.  

The Council Meeting began wrapping up with discussions and the passing of two proposals. The first was a Committee Charter, sponsored by Senator Corliss Lam, that was created to delegate a whole committee to aiding international students who are subject to human rights violations. The committee will help these students get accommodations by having a student representative meet with them to understand what they need, and then direct said student to the best resources available. 

“Just ask them what they need because this committee will have more direct communication with these students,” Lam said. “The problem right now is that resolutions are the only things we’re putting out when there are human rights violations and it’s because there is no committee for us to focus on these issues and to do more.”

However, some senators were opposed to this Committee Charter.

“It’s very hard to make this a non-political thing,” Senator Adam Tyler said. “Talking about these issues is inevitably going to become political and is going to piss off certain students at UCSD. That is my concern for this.” 

Despite opposition, the Charter was passed with a roll call vote of 17 in favor, one opposed, and nine abstained.

The final proposal discussed was the updated resolution introduced in the Week 9 Council Meeting regarding academic accommodations. The resolution called to block the change in attendance policies for next quarter that would make certain in-person classes mandatory. The resolution aims to block that change because these classes will be impossible for students who live outside of San Diego and even outside of the country to attend.

In opposition of the proposal, President Giangtran recognized a member of the public, Associate Vice President David Hickman, to speak.

 “This is a change that has resulted from the physical accommodations our campus has been able to make,” Hickman explained. “Originally we had the classrooms at 25 percent capacity… We have extended our physical accommodations to include the outside learning areas and the classroom tents.”

The resolution passed with a roll call vote of 18 in favor, zero opposed, and nine abstained.A.S. Council meetings take place every week and are open to the public. Students can be a part of these meetings by joining with the Zoom link posted on the A.S. website.

Artwork courtesy of Yui Kita for The UCSD Guardian.

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