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USG creates Board for semester switch issues

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Students with problems relating to the semester conversion have a new place to turn to for help.
A semesters appeals board was announced in a Wednesday Undergraduate Student Government meeting. The board was created to give students an opportunity to address problems they might face as a result of the semester conversion, including damage to academic progress, delay in completing their degree and increased costs in completing their degree according to a document distributed at the meeting.
Taylor Stepp, USG president, said the board was necessary, but hopes “no one needs to use this.”
“It was something that was needed but it wasn’t something that we needed to rely on,” Stepp said. “I wanted to make sure this was put in place because there could be a lot of students with a lot of issues. There could be students who don’t graduate on time, and having this mechanism in place is very valuable.”
In contrast to the university’s “Pledge to Undergraduate Students,” which promised students the semester conversion would not harm their academic progress, the board was created so students can appeal to the board if they feel their academic advisers or individual college hasn’t helped them enough.
However, Stepp said he suggests students go to their college before applying to the board.
“It’s quicker to go to the college first, just immediately hearing things,” Stepp said. “This is the last-ditch option, but it’s something students wanted.”
Stepp also said the board “will continue until we no longer see any need for it,” and since some sophomores might become fifth-year seniors, there is potential for appeals to be made in the next three or four years.
“I’m really glad to see this done because, again, this is one of those student-driven processes,” Stepp said. “This idea was pitched to students, and the students loved this idea because it’s formal.”
Stepp said while nothing is set in stone yet, the board is likely to be made of four or five students, members of the office of academic affairs, and other staff. Who makes up the board will also likely fluctuate meeting to meeting, but how frequently the board will meet will be determined by the number of appeals.
“There will be two students that will be appointed,” Stepp said. “There’s some other places where we have other input, but the bottom line is there’s going to be two students that will be physically on the actual committee that hears this, and those are yet to be determined.”
President E. Gordon Gee spoke to the crowd of about 200 students at the Ohio Union as well, focusing on the semester conversion and other issues such as the Park-Stradley Hall situation.
“I think the issue we have is to get into a positive rhythm about semesters,” said Gee in an interview after the meeting. “That means our faculty need(s) to think through carefully the rhythm of their class work, and I think the students need to think through the rhythm of their studying and their obligations this semester, but I think it’s going fine. I haven’t heard of a lot of major complaints.”
Despite the lack of “major complaints,” some students, such as John Kostelnak, a second-year in political science and history, think the board is a necessity in part because some faculty and staff don’t know what’s going on either.
“As time goes on, there are going to be issues that come up, especially with transferring credits, making sure you’re able to graduate on time,” Kostelnak said.
USG will be hosting town hall meetings to discuss the appeals board and process on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4.

Daniel Chi contributed to this article.

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