Student Senate gathers student surveys

Truman State’s Student Senate sent a survey to students March 19 regarding current issues up for debate in the Senate and the Board of Governors. The survey consisted of questions about specific issues followed by a comment section where students could voice their specific concerns regarding each issue.

Senior Katherine Scheidt, Student Senate Vice President and co-author of the survey questions, said Senate thought creating a survey of issues relevant to students would give them insight into what students want from the governing body.

She said the Senate will use the outcome of these surveys to gauge student opinion and see which issues are worth addressing. Scheidt said the Senate received more 600 responses, which is about 10 percent of Truman’s student population.

Some of the main issues in the survey regarded the consideration of the plus/minus grading system, the gender identity non-discrimination policy and an increase of the maximum credit hours to 18.

Last month, the Undergraduate Council supported a resolution to change the grading system to a plus/minus grading scale. Scheidt said the plus/minus grading system was particularly relevant because Truman’s Faculty Senate will discuss it for the first time during a meeting March 27, meaning it will be on University President Troy Paino’s desk during the next month.

One topic students offered their opinions about was the possible implementation of the plus/minus grading system. According to the survey results, about 75 percent of respondents are opposed to the proposed system.

Scheidt said the majority of Student Senators who have expressed their opinion have been opposed to plus/minus grading, and “as from our preliminary polling, the majority of Truman students have been opposed”. Scheidt also said the Senate will present a resolution opposing the system.

“It’s important for students to voice their opinions because it is going to directly affect all of our grades, all of our scholarships and even admittance to grad school,” said sophomore Amanda Trosen, Student Senator and Academic Affairs committee member, said.

Another pressing issue expressed in the survey was gender identity being included in Truman’s non-discrimination policy. Freshman Chade Shorten, Co-Chair of the Student Senate’s External Affairs Committee, said she was pleased this question was in the survey.

“It’s one a lot of people don’t really understand completely and it’s one we wanted to get out there,” Shorten said.

Shorten said the gender identity resolution recently was passed the Senate and passed to the Board of Governors.

Scheidt said it might take a couple years for the Board of Governors to accept gender identity into the non-discrimination policy. She said after the board changed the non-discrimination policy last year to include the LGBT community, they had some reservations about it becoming a slippery slope where they would have to add more protections every few years. Scheidt said they were asking if the protections are necessary to be specifically mentioned.

Another topic discussed in the survey was raising the maximum credit hours a student can attempt in a semester to 18. Scheidt said this is a topic that has been previously discussed by the Senate, and one Academic Affairs committee chair  Erin Schroeder wanted to start working toward again. Scheidt said with the current rule, students only can take 17 credit hours before they have to get approval and pay extra tuition.