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ASG’s secretary for off-campus affairs resigns

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In an Oct. 25 letter addressed to the executive cabinet of Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG), Megan Hess, ASG’s secretary for off-campus affairs, resigned from her position. Hess’ resignation will be effective Nov. 10, provided someone is elected to replace her.

In her letter, Hess cites “unexpected family circumstances” as the reason for her resignation.

“While I cannot find an opportunity I value greater than the one I have,” Hess wrote, “I cannot effectively balance my responsibilities in this position and give my personal life the necessary attention it currently needs.”

ASG will hold elections to fill the position on Nov. 10. Information on running for the position can be found here.

At ASG’s Oct. 27 meeting, Speaker of Senate Reena Murphy praised Hess for making the responsible decision to resign after realizing she didn’t have time for the position.

“I think it speaks really well of her character and her maturity to be able to make such a tough decision,” Murphy said.

Later in the meeting, ASG passed two pieces of legislation. The first was a resolution to add more flags to the display in the east wing slant walk entrance to the Armstrong Student Center.

The display features numerous flags that represent all the different countries represented by Miami students. The idea for the legislation first came about when junior Sinait Sarfino, one of the authors of the resolution, realized that her country wasn’t represented in the display, along with several African and Latin American countries.

“I was like, ‘What’s up with that? I know there are people from Ghana here, and Nigeria, why don’t I see that up there?’” Sarfino said. “So I was like, ‘Let’s do something about it.’”

To solve this lack of representation, the resolution proposed having the Armstrong Student Center Board send out a survey at the beginning of each calendar year for students to request their flag be added.

Several senators spoke out in support of the legislation during the discussion period.

“I think this is a great bit of legislation,” senator Sidra Capriolo said. “I can really tell that this is an initiative that not only is important now, but will continue to be important.”

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The resolution passed unanimously.

The second resolution, authored by on-campus senator Wes Payne, proposed requiring professors to complete a training for Proctorio, the remote proctoring service Miami uses.

According to the resolution, Miami initially required professors to be trained on Proctorio before using it in their classes when it was first implemented in 2017. But, as more and more professors have opted to use the service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training hasn’t been enforced.

Payne said this lack of training has caused many students to be unfairly flagged because professors don’t know how to adjust Proctorio’s settings to suit that particular exam. To avoid this affecting students’ final exam scores, this resolution would make professors complete the training before finals week.

While many senators expressed support for the resolution, others objected because ASG wasn’t calling for the complete removal of Proctorio from campus due to the company’s alleged poor treatment of Miami students.

“Proctorio has allegedly threatened to bring forth legal action against students at this university, and that is reprehensible,” off-campus senator Jake Kravitz said. “I can’t vote for legislation that asks for a blessing for more training with an organization of such poor character.”

Dan Bosworth, secretary of the treasury, pointed out that ASG has a limited amount of power to influence the administration, so it sometimes has to settle for smaller pieces of legislation rather than making massive changes all at once.

“There’s a power dynamic between students and administrators, and sometimes we need to take baby steps to make big changes on this campus,” Bosworth said. “I think this legislation accomplishes just that — it’s the first step in a very long process.”

Senator Jakin Wu proposed an amendment explicitly stating the resolution is not an endorsement of Proctorio. 

Ruku Pal, secretary of academic affairs and a sponsor of the resolution, said she and Payne had considered adding a clause similar to the amendment, but they decided against it to avoid pushback from the administration.

“We’ve decided to separate our short time frame from our long time frame,” Pal said, “to ensure our short-term issues are addressed in a way that can actually benefit students this semester.”

The amendment was denied, with 20 denials, 15 approvals and three abstentions.

Despite this, the resolution still passed with 34 yeses, two nos and one abstention.

ASG will not meet Nov. 3 in recognition of Election Day and will instead hold its next meeting on Nov. 10.

phabymr@miamioh.edu 




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