AS Senate Kills Bill to Lower GPA Requirement for AS Executives

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Ethan Edward Coston / The Triton

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Associated Students of UC San Diego (ASUCSD) voted to indefinitely table the AS Accessibility and Opportunity Act of 2019 last Wednesday, effectively killing the bill. AS Senate voted 20-3 with two abstaining after a lengthy debate.

The bill, sponsored by Transfer Senator Joey Giltner, would have lowered the GPA requirement for AS executives from 2.5 to 2.25. UCSD students need a 2.0 GPA to be eligible for graduation. Had the bill passed, the AS President, VP External Affairs, VP Campus Affairs, and Financial Controller positions would have become accessible to students with lower GPAs.

“I believe that their GPA is NOT an indicator on how well someone can lead an organization. It is also no secret that many CEOs and leaders across the nation did not finish college, or had different avenues to reach their success,” Giltner said in a statement emailed to The Triton. “I think it is wrong for A.S. to limit those who individually believe they have the leadership qualities in order to run an organization.”

In comparison to ASUCSD’s GPA minimum, AS University of California (ASUC), UC Berkeley’s Associated Students, does not have a GPA requirement for any members.

“When looking at the numbers when it came to graduation classes, more students on average who represented marginalized communities made up more of the population of students who had a GPA between 2.0-2.49,” Giltner said, citing GPA data from the UC Office of the President.

Giltner said that when he was a senator in 2014he left UCSD for three years and came back in Fall 2018he and other senators introduced a bill to lower the GPA requirement to 2.0, but that bill faced significant opposition and did not pass.

“This amendment [that created the GPA requirement] was passed in 2009, according to research I have done from past Councils,” Giltner explained. “With this being prior to the 2010 Compton Cookout, you could probably imagine the campus climate…of the time. Political moves to keep people out of running for A.S. were imposed in the A.S. Constitution and were passed.”

Giltner introduced his new bill lowering the GPA requirement to 2.25 during the Week 3 Senate meeting on Wednesday, January 23. After discussion, AS Senate decided to delay the vote for a week so that they could gather constituent input.

“Students for the most part agreed that because this GPA requirement was for the executive members of AS…it makes sense for student leaders in these positions to be held to a standard when it comes to academics,” Marshall College Senator Melina Reynoso told The Triton.

Muir College Senator Eleanor Grudin reported similar sentiments from her constituents as her reason for voting against the bill.

Warren College Senator Nikhil Pothuru did not mention constituent input, but also opposed the bill. “Are we giving [ASUCSD executives] justice by bringing down that GPA requirement?” he said during debate. “At the end of the day, if they can’t focus on being a student, it’s going to be hard for them to get to the graduation goal that they set for themselves.”

Ethan Edward Coston is an Assistant News Editor for The Triton. You can follow him @Ethan4Books.

This article was updated on February 5, 2019 at 12:30 p.m. to reflect that Giltner is a Transfer Senator and not an Off-Campus Senator, as had been incorrectly stated on the AS Senate roster.