Assembly Talks Transfer Credits, Wi-Fi at Third Meeting

The Manhattan College Student Government Assembly met Wednesday for its third open meeting of the academic year.

The meeting, which was notable for its absences among Assembly members, was called to order shortly after noon in Kelly 4B by President Micaela Bishop.

The floor went first to Vice President for Club Administration Patrick Maurer, who discussed his plans to review club proposals starting this week.

The floor then passed to Ryan Quattromani of the Neighborhood Relations Committee. Quattromani described his committee’s cooperation with the event services department on a venture to open Kelly Commons to local Riverdale residents for movie nights.

Event Services Coordinator Devin Keast described his department’s vision for the program.

“On behalf of the events department, we’d like to show off these rooms a little more… while including the neighborhood and perhaps even strengthening our community ties by showing classic films… films that kids and perhaps even their parents haven’t seen on the big screen,” Keast said.

Keast cited such films as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” and the “Harry Potter” series as examples of what the college would offer to locals.

Event Services, looking for funding for the films and possibly concessions, reached out to Quattromani’s committee. Keast also mentioned that Hayden Greene of the Multicultural Center was interested in becoming involved.

Following this, Vice President for Residential Affairs Partick Estanbouli took over the floor to discuss his work with the Resident Student Association (RSA).

The RSA is planning to circulate a petition to repair elevators in Horan and Jasper Halls. The ultimate goal of this petition is total replacement of the chronically broken elevator systems in those buildings.

The RSA’s petition follows a Horan Hall work order workshop, which, according to Estanbouli, resulted in a flood of hundreds of elevator-related work orders descending on Physical Plant.

Estanbouli then went on to discuss internet access both inside and outside of the residence halls.

Student Government will be piloting an ethernet-cable giveaway program to lessen the burden on the college’s Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Estanbouli urged students with gaming consoles, desktop computers or stationary laptops to make the switch to ethernet.

“A lot of students are not using their ethernet cords for things that should be in ethernet cords,” Estanbouli said. “People who are sitting down watching HBOGo shouldn’t really be watching off the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi should really be for the students who are trying to do homework.”

For Estanbouli, improving Wi-Fi is a top priority. Estanbouli wants to push Wi-Fi improvements, which he says are currently located at the end of Residence Life’s ten year plan, to the top of the priorities list.

Following the discussion about residence halls was the topic of commuter students. In Vice President for Commuter Affairs Margaret Flores’ absence, Executive Vice President Phillip Mourikes spoke on the matter.

“The goal that they’ve been working on for years is finding a space for commuters,” Mourikes said. “Ideally we want it Kelly Commons.”

The Assembly then discussed an upcoming commuter talent show, which, according to Commuter Representative Anna Rosario, is scheduled to be held in November.

The final, broad discussion of the meeting centered on the business of the Educational Affairs Commission (EAC), of which Vice President for Academic Affairs Kaitlyn von Runnen.

The EAC is currently working on changes to the transfer credit policy.

“You have to have off campus courses be equivalent to a course that’s offered at Manhattan College,” von Runnen said. “And it has to be approved.”

While the policy is not yet finalized, von Runnen said she expects that students will be required to seek approval from the chair of the equivalent course’s department, and the dean of that department’s school.

The college is also tightening its restrictions on courses that it will accept transfer credit for from other institutions. Students applying for transfer credit will now be required to have a reason to take a course off campus.

“They are going to be stricter on allowing [transfer courses],” von Runnen said. “So it’s going to be more geared towards students who either had to drop a class, medical leave of absence, failed a course, things like that.”

Von Runnen also reiterated that all faculty members are required to give midterm grades to all students, and that that grade must be an accurate reflection of the student’s performance. This policy contradicts an email sent to faculty earlier this semester.

“The email that was sent to faculty said that they only had to give grades if it was a D or an F,” von Runnen said. “So, they’re resending an email. You should all have midterm grades for all of your courses.”

Von Runnen concluded with a discussion of the college’s macroscopic academic plans for the future.

Manhattan plans to revamp its first year experience programs, bringing them into all five undergraduate schools by next fall. The EAC is also looking to offer more experiential learning opportunities, including service learning, study abroad, research, internships and capstone projects.

Student Government is looking to increase participation in its committees and in the Assembly.

The meeting had several notable absences, including newly elected Freshman Vice Presidents Jack Kornutik and Grace Owens.

Mourikes emphasized the importance of participation in the Assembly and expressed his frustration with the meeting’s limited attendance.

“We try to do things, and we can only do so much. Our eyes and our ears are only in so many places,” Mourikes said. “That’s why we have an assembly of 35, 40 people. And yet we have half attendance.”

Bishop is looking to prime the participation pump, arguing that active and engaged students and representatives are fundamentally important to the operations of the Student Government.

“We just need representatives to at least be part of one committee,” Bishop said. “People need to show up at those committee meetings as well.”

“This isn’t a group of students that you come to every other week to sit in a meeting,” Bishop said. “This is a place where you come with your comments and your concerns and you are a voice for the people that you’re supposed to be representing.”

The next Assembly meeting will meet on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Kelly Commons Room 5A at noon.

CORRECTION (Oct. 11, 2017, 5:24 p.m.) A previous version of this article called this the second meeting, not the third.