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Grades Referendum Added to Tomorrow's UA Ballot

By A. Arif Husain
Staff Reporter

A referendum on changing the Institute grading policy was recently added to this week's Undergraduate Association election ballot.

The ballot is topped by the UA president/vice president contest, which has three candidate pairs. However, only 8 of 25 class council offices have candidates. [See box, page 13.]

Electronic voting, which was delayed due to technical difficulties, begins today. Booths will open tomorrow morning in Lobby 7, Walker Memorial, and the Student Center for regular paper voting.

The referendum is intended to provide the Committee on Academic Performance with more student input on intermediate grades, said UA Judicial Review Board Chair Albert L. Hsu '96, who sponsored the item.

The referendum lists four grading policy choices that students will rank preferentially, said Russell S. Light '98, UA Council floor leader. The first option proposes adding a plus and minus to each passing grade, with the exceptions of A+ and D-. A second option adds the grades AB, BC, and CD between corresponding grades.

There will also be an option to maintain the present grading format, and another to implement pass/fail grading, Hsu said. The proposed changes pertain only to upperclassmen grading.

The choices were added to the ballot through petitioning by UA members, Hsu said. Over 400 students signed the petition.

The referendum will be supplemented by specific questions regarding grading policy, Light said. The questions should give a better perspective on student opinion, he said.

"We're hoping to gather solid data that we can pass on to the CAP as a result of this referendum," Light said. The results should be announced at Thursday's UA Council meeting, he said.

According to Hsu, CAP will submit its recommendation on the grading change to the Faculty Policy Committee. The FPC will consider whether to send the proposal on to the full faculty for a vote.

"The student vote will become very important if the faculty vote is ambiguous," Hsu said.

Many offices unfilled

The principal contests in the elections will be for the UA president and vice president positions. The candidate pairs are John S. Hollywood '96 and Jennifer A. Pinson '98, Carrie R. Muh '96 and Erik S. Balsley '96, and Sheldon W. Myrie '95 and Jennifer K. Johnson '98.

Class council positions are also part of the ballot. Only 8 of 25 possible class offices have candidates, and many of those are uncontested. "People will be chosen for the vacant offices in some fashion, but I'm not really sure how," Light said.

Offices with more than two candidates will be voted on preferentially.

Voters must bring student IDs to the ballot boxes, Light said. Voting will end at 6 p.m. To vote electronically, students can type "add ua; vote" on any Athena workstation. Light encouraged students to vote electronically.