Despite the buzz of Student Government Association elections at the University of Georgia, the SGA Senate met for their bi-weekly meeting on March 5.
The Senate passed the resolution to “honor and memorialize” slaves intertwined with the university's history; however, the widely-debated resolution to create an A+ grade scale classification was tabled until senators have more discussion with the UGA student body.
Here are the the details from this week's meeting:
A monument to honor enslaved people at UGA
Resolution 31-13 encourages UGA to build a monument on North Campus dedicated to the university’s history with slavery, dedicate the Chapel Bell in the name of two former slaves and join the Universities Studying Slavery project. Senate passed the resolution with an overwhelming majority.
“This resolution … seeks to represent all slaves that were used by the university in its foundation.”
— Jessica Douglas, SGA senator
The author of the legislation, Senator Jessica Douglas, compared the resolution to a similar one last year which was vetoed by former SGA President Cameron Keen on his last day in office.
“This resolution … seeks to represent all slaves that were used by the university in its foundation,” Douglas said.
Senator Jackson Williams supported the construction of a monument but said many students he spoke with did not support renaming the Chapel Bell, regardless of who it was named after. However, the legislation would not rename the bell but provide a plaque or other notice of dedication near the landmark, as brought to attention by Senator Jessica Story and clarified by Douglas.
SGA President Ammishaddai Grand-Jean supports “the spirit” of the resolution, but he asked Senators to start a conversation with their constituents about the initiative.
“... Our narrative can get lost, and we don’t know where it may go, but of course, that’s up to you to decide,” Grand-Jean said. “I think we have a great opportunity to capitalize on the moment, which is the Chapel Bell [dedication].”
Douglas plans on working with the UGA administration on the proposals outlined in her legislation.
A+ grade scale tabled
Senators postponed the vote on a resolution to encourage UGA to add an A+ classification to March 26. Senators want to wait until they have received more input from the student body.
This resolution, authored by Grand-Jean and sponsored by Senator Zion Eberhart, would allow professors to award “A+” grades on a student’s transcript. An A+ would be calculated as a 4.0 GPA to avoid “grade inflation.”
Discussion concerning this legislation lasted more than 40 minutes as Senators went back-and-forth during the question period. Most concerns stemmed from the effects of an A+ on mental health due to increased competitiveness and lack of student support. Multiple Cabinet members said they did not support the measure, while Senators expressed concern over lack of support from the general student body.
At the beginning of the meeting, Grand-Jean gave his officer report. Ramsey Student Center is currently looking into electronics charging stations similar to those in MLC, Grand-Jean said.
SGA Treasurer Destin Mizelle notified Senators he had requested $500 to be added to the SGA Small Clubs Allocations budget. Registered student organizations can apply for funding of specific events through this allocation fund. Last semester this function awarded about $4800 total to 15 registered student organizations, according to public SGA documents.
“Business is booming, y’all,” Mizelle said. “I’m so elated with how Small Clubs is going.”
The executives met with UGA Interim Provost Libby Morris and discussed a policy to allow students to reschedule any test if they have three or more tests in a 24-hour period, said SGA Vice President Charlene Marsh. In her officer report, Marsh noted the SGA administration’s work on credit expansions for International Baccalaureate and with the Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity UGA Chapter to create a safe word program for housing residents.
Aside from the previous resolutions, Senate passed a resolution authored by Senator Mennah Abdelwahab to commend UGA’s plan to install a consumer composting pilot program in Tate Student Center. A proclamation to recognize UGA College of Environment and Design’s 50th anniversary authored by Senator Braden Meadows was also passed.
Olivia Adams contributed to this article.