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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/news/html/bad_draw.html

Forum Draws Few Students Despite Relevant Topics

Proposed plus/minus grading system, course repeat policy and textbook prices dominate discussion

by Garret Felder

Issue date: 10/3/06 Section: Campus News

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Photo Credit: Allyssa Hill

MSSA Vice President Chris Frederick (above) and MSU President Richard Davenport (left) answered questions at Thursday's open forum on the MSU Mall.

Maybe the free hot dogs and Minnesota State President Richard Davenport just weren't enough. Or maybe the array of faculty members present and the wind blowing the fountain waters into the podium diminished attendance. Either way, few students sat in at the university open forum Thursday where three important issues were discussed and many others remained unsaid.

While Davenport, MSSA President Gabe Afolayan, MSSA Vice President Chris Frederick and other faculty and administrators fielded questions about a new grading system, a new course repeat policy and textbook prices, the student body did not take the opportunity to share its feelings with the university.

"It's one of the places where you can actually talk to Davenport who's going to be with open arms and open ears," said accounting junior Jason Schilling. "It's a good place for students to hear the opinions of other students on campus. It's basically a good place that creates communication between administration and students."

Although Schilling may have thought it was an important event, the rest of the student body apparently did not as the crowd was mostly made up by administrators, faculty and students required by their professors to attend and enjoy the free food.

"I think the big issue was the [plus/minus] grading policy," Schilling said. "I think a lot of people don't realize this will affect them directly. And I think people should realize that the administration looks like they want to go full-steam ahead and do the plus/minus system."

Besides introducing the new grading system that would "raise the academic standard" as Davenport said, the panelists also explained the proposal for a new course repeat policy that would only allow a student to retake a course two times.

"The current course repeat policy was one area that the national accrediting body said '[this policy] is bad news,' we don't know of many institutions that have a policy like that, which basically allows you to repeat a course about as many times as you want," Davenport said. "It really lowers the academic standards of our institution, it lowers the status, and guess what, it raises grade inflation too."

After numerous scenarios were described for the proposed course retake policy, the open forum was later closed with an elongated discussion about textbook prices between students, faculty and the campus bookstore.

Garret Felder is a Reporter staff writer