The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, passed a bill that would hold a budget orientation for all candidates running for the General Assembly and representatives raised concerns about proposed changes to the add/drop policy at MSU at their General Assembly meeting Thursday.
Associate Provost Mark Largent made an appearance to give a presentation about on-campus housing, credit loads and the add/drop period at the university.
Largent discussed MSU's plan to change the current add/drop period to a system that would incentivize students to drop classes within the first six days of the semester to allow for faster seat turnover.
Currently, students can drop classes with a full refund up to six days until the quarter term and can drop with no refund, but without effect on their GPA, until a quarter to the midterm.
The proposed plan would keep the current rules, but students who drop after six days will receive a “W” on their transcript, standing for "withdrew." This change is meant to encourage students to drop classes within six days of the class starting in order to avoid having a mark on their transcripts, Largent said.
"We do know that people want to keep that transcript cleaner, and we think this is a very light incentive," Largent said.
Though the plan is meant to play into students’ fears that a mark on their transcript will affect their chances of getting into graduate school or get a job, Largent said that "W's" on his transcript have had “no impact whatsoever” on his life.
According to Largent, there is no evidence that these marks have any real effect on how employers and graduate admissions offices view students.
Despite this, many ASMSU representatives voiced strong concern for the proposed policy, saying that it does not allow students enough time to make a decision about whether class is right for them.
James Madison representative Abii-Tah Chungong Bih, an international student, said that the plan is especially unfair to students who come with language and cultural barriers and might need more time to settle into a class.
“I see a big problem here," Bih said. "People come with language problems — they don’t even understand English — so they don’t know if it’s the teacher and English that is problematic, or if it is the class that is problematic. People come in with all of these different problems and we are assuming that in six days, someone can make that decision whether to stay in a class or leave that class."
ASMSU stated it is not in support of the proposed policy. Largent said the decision will be made by Nov. 22, and he plans to take ASMSU’s stance into consideration.
Another bill that was passed at the meeting was a bill to allocate $2,400 to hire a web developer and information technology (IT) support specialist for ASMSU’s IT department.
The bill will require all candidates to attend an information session, or orientation, to inform them of ASMSU’s budget and financial processes. This is intended to insure that prospective representatives are educated on all aspects of budget policy so that they are prepared to vote on such policies after being elected.
ASMSU also passed a bill to allocate $3,000 to replace outdated staff desktops.