Faith Monahan ’24
Student Government Association (SGA) discussed student transcript privacy, gender categorization in course evaluations, and its upcoming meeting with the COVID-19 Steering Committee during its virtual meeting on Sunday, Oct. 31.
The Academic Affairs Committee began an ongoing discussion with the College on the privacy of student transcripts. Currently, all professors have access to any student’s transcript, including their course history and grades. Some students have expressed discomfort with the level of access given to professors, and the conversation was prompted by concerns of potential bias when students are removed from waitlists for classes. Because professors have access to a student’s transcript, a professor has the ability to pick and choose who is added to their class based off of grades. Alternatively, some students noted that access to a student’s transcript can have other important academic effects, and a professor may utilize this information to assist a student in their academic affairs. The conversation remains ongoing still, but an opt-out policy or a policy permitting access to only professors relevant to a student’s major may provide potential solutions for students uncomfortable with professors accessing their grades.
The Curriculum Committee discussed the question of gender in course evaluation sheets completed by students at the end of the term. Currently, the form contains a question asking for students to select their gender from three options, “male, female, and transgender.” The Curriculum Committee suggested a “fill-in-the-blank” style of questioning that would allow students to self-identify their gender rather than pick one of the three options from a drop-down menu. The college collects gender-based data to evaluate gender dynamics in classrooms, but some students have expressed concerns of privacy and anonymity over professors reviewing this data in the course feedback received by students. The SGA members serving on the curriculum committee — Jason Farrell Jr. ’23, Joshua Jacoves ’23, and Maja Peszko ’23 — encouraged students to contact them if they are interested in sharing their thoughts on the matter.
Following up on discussions which took place at SGA’s prior meeting, the SGA executive board and Greek Life student leaders will meet with the COVID-19 Steering Committee on Tuesday, Nov. 2 during common hour to discuss COVID restrictions for the upcoming winter months. One main concern is the issue of heating and making sure students can have events while staying warm. SGA hopes that they can achieve an appropriate solution that may allowed for more detailed planning and understanding of COVID restrictions for student events in the future. There was also a discussion of potential student happiness reports that would seek to gather data on the happiness of Trinity students and potentially use this data in comparison to NESCAC schools. By understanding where we rank in comparison, Trinity’s community will be able to utilize this data to improve student quality of life.
There are currently openings to the whole student body to participate in the Multicultural Affairs Committee, the Communications Committee, and the Student Quality of Life Committee. The deadline to sign up is Wednesday, Nov. 3. SGA President Jederick Estrella ’22 remarked on the value of incorporating students from the larger Trinity community outside of just SGA. He expressed the sentiment that these students add value to these committees as “more bodies in an army that are fighting for the quality of life of students is never a bad thing.”