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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Academic Senate covers student government elections, academic probation policy

The Associated Students Organization at Pierce College opened Monday’s Academic Senate meeting with a reminder that elections for student government positions will begin next week.

ASO President Alex Oloo spoke about the upcoming elections slated for April 21 to 23. For the first time, voting will be conducted electronically and students who wish to vote must do so through their Los Angeles Community College District email.

“I’m requesting that you remind the students to check their LACCD emails and to please vote,” Oloo said in his address to the senate. “This is the time for [the students] to exercise their rights and vote.”

Although voting in the ASO election will be exclusively online, the LACCD student trustee election will still use paper ballots. Students must vote on campus at a booth located on the Mall.

The ASO will host a debate between candidates on Thursday, April 16 at the ASO office under the Library / Learning Crossroads from noon to 2 p.m. Snacks will be provided for those who attend the debate.

After Oloo’s address, the senate moved on to a report by the Curriculum Committee that was presented by Constance Moffatt. Moffatt spoke about the new Board Rule 8200, which requires that all LACCD students who do not make academic progress in two consecutive semesters will lose their Board of Governors Fee Waiver.

According to Moffatt, if a student remains on academic probation for two consecutive semesters, his or her fee waiver will be rescinded during the student’s first registration opportunity. Moffatt said there is an appeals process, and that BOG fee waivers may be reinstated by an eligible GPA.

“The part that is affecting students right now is that if they’re not making progress toward graduation, they’re basically just taking money,” Moffatt said. “They have to show that they are making some progress, otherwise it gets eliminated.”

Students who are disqualified from the waiver must be notified 30 days after the end of the semester. The college provides counseling to help students improve their GPA and prevent a loss of the BOG waiver. Current and former foster youths are exempt from this rule.

A distance education item tabled at the senate’s previous meeting met with considerable discussion this week. The item, Notice Motion Proposal S15-5, was presented by Distance Education Coordinator Wendy Bass. NMP S15-5 must be approved by the district in order to move forward.

NMP S15-5 is an update to the Distance Education Course Outline Addendum, which lists course objectives and their application in online and hybrid classes. It also requires instructors to indicate what method of distance education they intend to use.

The proposed changes were questioned by several senators in attendance. Professor of computer science information technology David Schamus suggested ways the form could be made simpler.

“I basically tried to make the form a little bit easier to use and a bit more cohesive,” Schamus said. “The way the form is designed now is that if we want to offer an online class or a hybrid class we have to submit the form in twice. The form does not really handle the fact that a hybrid course could have a huge variety between the time online and the time on campus.”

The Academic Senate will meet again on April 27 at 2:15 p.m. in the Great Hall, and is open to all students, faculty and staff.

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