By Jacob Solis
Two senators appointed to fill out senate for final weeks of 83rd session
John Urquidi, of the College of Engineering, and Brennan Jordan, of the Division of Health Sciences, were each appointed to fill two of three vacancies in the senate on Wednesday. There remains one open seat in the College of Education, though that seat is set to be filled at the next senate meeting.
Both Urquidi and Jordan were the only people to apply for the open jobs and both were candidates for the upcoming 84th session. On top of this, both were running unopposed, and were officially elected to the 84th session just one day after the meeting.
Most of the senate liked both Urquidi and Jordan, praising their initiative in applying for a seat despite the fact that they were each guaranteed a seat in the upcoming session. Even so, the vote was not unanimous, as Sen. Sam Bruketta, of the College of Engineering, felt that voting for candidates currently running for office constituted a tacit endorsement of said candidates by the senate. This criticism was dismissed by Speaker of the Senate Nick Andrew, but Bruketta stuck to his “no” vote.
The 83rd session comes to a close at the end of this month.
Two resolutions face stiff opposition on senate floor
While four bills were up for debate on Wednesday, two of them stole most of the discussion. The first was a resolution in favor of UNR adopting the Common Application, a single college application used by roughly 60 universities nationwide.
Concerns were raised by Sen. Sebastian Atienza, College of Business, over the fact that university administrators and some on the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents are against the resolution. To that point, Sen. Larissa Gloutak, Interdisciplinary Programs, noted that the Associated Students of the University of Nevada represent the student body, not the administration.
Some other senators were worried that moving to the Common App might reduce the amount of money that the Admissions and Records Office receives from application fees. If UNR were to switch, $7 from every application would go to the Common App. Gloutak did say that, though their budget was not all too clear, it is unlikely that Admissions and Records would have to downsize at all if a change was made.
The resolution passed 13-7.
Things got a little more testy with the second resolution, which aimed to support a raise in university admissions requirements. As things stand now, a high school student needs a 3.0 weighted grade point average or higher in order to be automatically accepted at the University of Nevada, Reno. The resolution was in favor of raising that to bar a GPA of 3.25.
Kicking the discussion off was a memo from ASUN President Caden Fabbi, who strongly opposed the bill. Fabbi was worried that a raise in admissions standards may stem growth of the university prematurely, as well as disproportionately and negatively affect minority applicants as well as non-traditional students.
Sens. Ashley Loera, College of Liberal Arts, and Mikayla Ragnone, College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, both took issue with his stance on minorities, saying that being Hispanic or black does not preclude a low GPA or the inability to get into college without help.
Adding to the voices in favor, Gloutak, who authored the resolution, reiterated that the change would only be in GPA requirements and not in any testing standards. Currently, students with a combined SAT score of 1040 in critical reading and math or an ACT score of 22 can still be accepted regardless of GPA.
Fabbi, and later Director of the Center for Student Engagement Sandra Rodriguez, both noted that test scores were not necessarily indicative of college success and that minority students were still likely to be underrepresented, as there are direct correlations between family wealth and success on standardized tests.
The resolution passed 14-6.
Jacob Solis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.