In their last meeting of the semester, the University of Michigan Central Student Government discussed a new resolution for all classes to have audio transcriptions available for students. The Assembly also held a presentation about the Student Organization Funding Committee for new Assembly members.
LSA junior John Pasquella, who introduced the audio transcriptions resolution, said the intended audience is both non-native English speakers and anyone who feels they would benefit from having a class transcript available.
“With lectures online, it seems prudent that you’d be able to access transcripts afterward,” Pasquella said.
Public Health junior Nithya Arun, a CSG policy adviser, endorsed the resolution. While the resolution focuses on access to class transcriptions, Arun said this resolution is most important for its impact on the academic well-being of non-native English speaking students.
“I think the idea of using transcription services for accommodations is something that all of us would like to see and would like to work on in the future, but it’s not necessarily the goal of this resolution,” Arun said. “This resolution is more to increase accessibility to classes for non-native English speakers and other individuals who might have problems.”
LSA junior Eman Naga, a CSG policy adviser, discussed her experience with the Non-Traditional Students Commission, a group appointed by CSG to focus on issues involving non-traditional students. She said many international students had a hard time with virtual courses this semester based on the speaking style of their instructors.
“It is a helpful tool for a lot of students,” Naga said. “I lead the commission on non-traditional students and a lot (of international students) were saying they were having a hard time picking up things because the professors were speaking either too fast, or they’re not used to, say, chemistry language –– they weren’t taught that when they were being taught English.”
An assembly member asked how the mandate to have transcriptions would be enforced. LSA junior Annie Mintun clarified that the transcription tool is already available to professors and said it would be optional for classes discussing sensitive material.
“The language and the resolution is in situations where the professor or student feels content discussed is sensitive or should otherwise not have the ability to be shared,” Mintun said. “It is at (the professor’s) discretion to turn off these services.”
The Assembly referred the resolution to the communications committee.
Later in the meeting, LSA senior Taylor Lansey, chair of SOFC, gave a report on the SOFC Summer 2020 data, and Rackham student Hayden Jackson discussed the funding schedule.
Due to the virtual semester, funding requests to SOFC have decreased significantly compared to previous years. SOFC granted less than half of their requests, with $86,487.46 funds granted out of $218,977.69 requested for the Fall semester.
Rackham student Austin Glass, CSG student general counsel, proposed to amend the report to add one more week before the SOFC funding deadline, saying he thinks it should extend to the end of the semester.
“My concern is that the final application deadline for the final wave in this schedule is March 31, when classes and exams extend until the end of the month of April in next semester’s calendar,” Glass said. “It feels awkward to me and uncomfortable to me, and I hope that you will amend the schedule.”
The Assembly did not approve the amendment.
Jackson said he preferred to pass the funding schedule as originally written, due to concerns about the deadline overlapping with final exams. The receipt deadline is the last date to be able to postmark any receipts used for funding projects.
“There’s a problem if you push forward (the application) deadline, but don’t push forward the receipt deadline,” Jackson said. “Then that leaves organizations only a week to submit receipts when they normally have two weeks to submit receipts (or) … moves the receipt deadline into finals week.”
SOFC funding schedule, criteria and membership questions were approved. Funding for the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs to use towards the Black History Month speakers was also approved.
LSA senior Soneida Rodriguez was also appointed to the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Survivor Empowerment Commission.
Daily News Editor Jasmin Lee can be reached at email@example.com.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown challenges at all of us — including The Michigan Daily — but that hasn’t stopped our staff. We’re committed to reporting on the issues that matter most to the community where we live, learn and work. Your donations keep our journalism free and independent. You can support our work here.
For a weekly roundup of the best stories from The Michigan Daily, sign up for our newsletter here.