Thursday, February 14, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 93



SGA appoints commissioner

By Tim Williams
Senior Staff Writer

Student Government Association senators approved finance senior John Martinez' appointment to Election Commissioner for this spring's student government elections and passed legislation aimed at increasing student access to faculty evaluations in its Wednesday night meeting.

Martinez will join economics senior and assistant election commissioner Maceo Smedly in forming the election commission, which is charged with running the election and resolving any complaints filed during the approximately two-month process.

Both served in the same positions last year.

The election code stipulates that there should be an election commissioner and two assistants for a total of three members, but SGA President James Robertson Jr. has made no indication that he will appoint a third member.

Martinez acknowledged that the commission is two weeks behind on making an election proposal to senators but that students interested in running for an office can informally inquire about positions by calling the SGA office at (713) 743-5220 and leaving a message for him.

The election proposal contains information on when students can file to run, when the general election is to be held and other important dates on the election calendar. According to the election code, the calendar was due at SGA's last meeting.

"We're running behind, but we were behind last year and things turned out OK," Martinez said. "The election is going to have to be after Spring Break."

The election code stipulates that the general election is to be held between Feb. 15 and March 15 and that "filing for office shall begin at least twenty-five (25) days before the general election."

Such a tight window to conduct an election means any delays place commissioners in a bind to finish before March 15.

"Everyone running will be given due time," Robertson said. "I have enormous faith in John Martinez."

Before passing a measure intended to place student evaluations of instructors into a "computerized form," senators engaged in a spirited debate over how precisely they should word the bill. The Scantron forms, filled out by students toward the end of each semester, are available on the third floor of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library in paper form only.

The forms, intended to aid students in selecting preferable instructors, are complex and hard for students to navigate, said April Spreeman-Harter, a College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences senator.

UH staff responsible for implementing such a measure prefer wording that allows them flexibility in deciding how to post the evaluations electronically, Spreeman-Harter said of the bill's intended vagueness. The ultimate goal is to have evaluations placed on-line for student access at home, she said.

UH President Arthur K. Smith is going to ask questions about this bill's ambiguity, Robertson said. "I want a bullet-proof argument ready."

Senators also heard the first reading of a bill aimed at the creation of a "grade replacement" option for students who perform poorly in a class. 

"Classes repeated no more than twice shall have the highest grade count towards the GPA and the other lesser grades shall not appear on the transcript," the bill states.

Similar options exist at other universities and aid undergraduates in obtaining good jobs and placement in graduate programs, the bill's author, College of Business Sen. Jeff Hill, said.

The next SGA meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in the University Center.

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