MC Senate Discusses Revamp of Academic Integrity Policy & More

Senate Meetings take place in Kelly Commons room 4.03 and are open to all students. MANHATTAN.EDU/COURTESY

By Grace Cardinal, Asst. News Editor

The Manhattan College Senate gathered for their first meeting of the spring semester to discuss a revamped academic integrity policy, new mental health resources on campus and an upcoming name change for the School of Education and Health. 

The meeting began with a short report from speaker Richard Gustavson, Ph.D. regarding the election of a new second deputy speaker and the expectations of the Senate moving forward. 

“The Senate held a virtual election meeting to elect a new second deputy speaker, Jesse Riley,” Gustavson said. “I’d like all senators to continue to report on the actions of the Senate to their constituencies.” 

One of the most major items discussed at the meeting regarded changes to the college’s academic integrity policy. ChatGBT and OpenAI are both chatbots that can be used by students to create essays and complete other assignments. The academic integrity policy currently covers unauthorized use of these chatbots on a general scope, but the Senate hopes to add specific wording to the policies regarding these bots specifically. 

William Clyde, member of the educational affairs committee, spoke about changing the wording of the academic integrity policy to include specifics against chatbots for academic purposes. 

“Our academic integrity policy already does cover unauthorized use of ChatGBT to complete an assignment because it already has language that is general enough that covers it,” Clyde said. “We are going to specifically look at our academic integrity policy and probably add some specific wording, calling out some of the new technologies that are available to make it crystal clear and add to the overall education of everybody.” 

The college is also considering changing the name of the School of Education and Health to the School of Health Professions as a way to encompass more programs, some of which may be coming in the near future. The education program will remain in the school, despite its new name.

“It’s our plan to change the name to signal a place where we are making a lot more investment and growing programs in the health professions area,” Clyde said. “We’re talking about adding nursing. We’ve got a great exercise science and kinesiology area that flows into physical therapy pretty easily. There are a lot of the graduates from that program who go into PT programs, and there are other areas that we’re exploring as possibilities, and they will be taking place in this building.”

Wider access to mental health resources will be provided to all students. Currently, a variety of student groups have created a QR code that is being distributed around campus. The code links students to many on and off campus resources for mental health and well-being. A major step in making these resources accessible to every student is coming in the fall of 2023 through the addition of prevention hotlines on the back of every student’s ID.

Esmilda Abreu-Hornbostel, member of the campus life commission, clarified the details of the hotline numbers for the new semester. 

“The other thing that it [the QR code] does is makes sure that they [students] have the suicide prevention number, the national number, as well as our campus safety and the sexual assault number should students need it,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. 

MC is working to enhance security to support the safety of every student on campus, especially those dorming. Chrysostom and Jasper halls will gain new security desks in the fall of 2023 and will be staffed at all times, just as the safety desks in Horan and Lee. 

“We [the Campus Life Commission] were able to meet briefly and got a chance to discuss residence life and some of the new wellness and safety needs that we noticed we had,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. “Chrysostom and Jasper are going to be receiving a public safety desk in the fall, there will be public safety present. And that’s important…we wanted to make sure that everyone’s feeling safe.”

In the spirit of Ash Wednesday and Lent beginning, the Dining Committee has been working closely with Aramark to ensure there are enough appropriate foods available for everyone’s religious needs. 

“The Dining Committee has been tasked to look for halal meals on campus as well as appropriate and enough options for Lent,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. “Aramark confirmed that more options and appropriate meals will be provided for every Friday in March as well as Ash Wednesday. Halal foods and kosher foods should be, if they’re needed, flagged and you’d have to be able to tell dining services that meat is there and then they can have pre packed meals.”

Jasper Wellness Day was another main topic of discussion at the meeting. The event is to take place on March 22 and all students are encouraged to take part in it. This is the second annual wellness day being sponsored by the Wellness and Flourishing Council; however, new changes this year include classes being canceled from 10am to 3pm. 

“The unique quality of this year is that the Provost and the faculty have agreed to allow for class classes to be canceled from 10am to 3pm on that day. Supplemental instruction will be available during that time so that students can participate in the day’s events,” Abreu-Hornbostel said. 

The day will include activities such as wellness walks, music, yoga, and more. Students can expect an email with more information about the day to come out early this week.