The Southern Utah University Student Association held a virtual meeting on Tuesday where a bill was passed to allow veterans at SUU to enroll for classes early.
Veteran Rep. Tony Ochsner proposed a bill to allow early enrollment for SUU veterans as well as those who benefit from the GI Bill, which continued a debate from the Oct. 6 senate meeting.
Granting early registration access to veterans would be “in accordance with the established course of action to fulfill the university’s mission statement,” stated Ochsner’s bill.
SUU’s mission statement describes the university as “a dynamic teaching and learning community that engages students in experiential education leading to personal growth, civic responsibility, and professional excellence.”
“This isn’t just a want,” Ochsner said. “It’s a need.”
Ochsner presented several research points, including a survey he sent to the veteran population at SUU, of which 118 out of 333 responded.
Of those who took the survey, 16% said they do not believe SUU is a veteran-friendly environment, which is “like a slap in the face” for Ochsner.
An example of why SUU’s veteran retention is important, according to Ochsner, is because of the money they bring to the school. In the 2018-2019 school year, veterans brought $10.3 million in revenue to SUU, and the year after brought $15 million.
Ochsner contacted other universities in the state such as the University of Utah and Utah State University to ask what actions they take to keep a high veteran retention rate. Ochsner found that all other major universities in Utah offer early registration for veterans, and SUU should follow in order to “keep up with rival universities.”
Ochsner also spoke with Jayci Hacker, the director of the Honors Office, to learn about early registration for honors students. Data showed there is no complication with upperclassmen getting into classes they need even with honors students registering early, and the number of honors students is greater than the number of veterans, according to Ochsner.
Members of the senate expressed their appreciation for Ochsner’s research, with Science Sen. Kamryn Burnside-Evans saying he “did an incredible job presenting these facts.” College of Engineering of Computational Sciences Sen. Chris Cox said Ochsner’s research should be used as an example for future proposals.
The senate voted on the bill, which passed unanimously. The bill will be presented to SUU President Scott Wyatt for further approval and development.
Education Sen. Madi Fristrup proposed a bill to create a Canvas course to help educate students on the mental health resources located on campus.
SUUSA has partnered with the Office of Online Teaching and Learning, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Care and Support Team to help students better manage their mental health, according to Fristrup’s bill.
The Canvas course will have a list of peers at CAPS and of faculty members that are part of CAST to provide students with resources to help “maintain healthy mental habits.”
The senate voted to pass the bill.
Greek Rep. Allison Moore opened a discussion on making an option for students to remove EDGE and certain Computer Science and Information Systems classes from their transcript.
CSIS 1000 and four EDGE classes were required courses for SUU students before recently being discontinued, and according to Moore, sometimes left a negative impact on students’ grade point averages.
Moore said she would like to provide the option for students that received a poor grade in those classes to remove it from their transcripts since the classes are no longer required. The grade would only be removed for those who would like to remove it.
The senate passed a motion to refer this proposal to a committee for further discussion.
The meeting took place over Zoom due to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s new mandate to cancel or move online all school-related events and activities for the next two weeks. The senate used the Raise Hand, Yes and No features to signify a desire to comment and vote.
SUUSA will hold senate meetings over Zoom if there is a pertinent agenda item needing to be discussed, but they will otherwise be postponed until spring.
Story by: Tori Jensen