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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New Student Senate bill aims to make job, internship interviews excused absences

A new bill recently passed by Student Senate will work toward making class absences due to job or internship interviews university excused.
The bill was proposed by Alan Hernandez, vice chairman of Student Services Committee and member of the On-Campus Caucus, and Jordan Argamany, a petroleum engineering senior and student senator, and was unanimously passed by the body.
The bill proposes a revision of Student Rule 7, which currently only allows graduate and professional students to miss class days for mandatory admission interviews which cannot be rescheduled. This bill proposes this rule also extend to undergraduate students.
“Students are here, yes, to get a degree, yes, to get educated, but ultimately, we also want to find what we are passionate about,” Hernandez said. “I think the first step in getting an idea or exposure to that is hands on experience, so jobs and internships. Joseph Hood, speaker of Senate, and I were doing some researchabout this, and we saw an article that said that 60 percent of the time, internships lead to full time job offers.”
Hernandez also hopes to clarify some confusion that has previously come up in the past where students had a mandatory interview in New York on an exam day. The students were forced to receive a zero because they could not reschedule their “super days.”
“Now that students are competing for internships with big businesses and other firms, they begin to have something called a super day where you spend a whole day with a company, often in New York,” said senator Jordan Argamany. “How are we supposed to continue to attract these companies for recruiting when students aren’t able to go to a super day because a professor may not be compliant?”
After learning about some instances of conflict regarding Rule 7, Hernandez and Argamany combined bills they were coincidentally working on at the same time that dealt with similar proposals.
“We took the best parts of our bills and combined them to create one bill that had the most effective means of addressing the issue,” Argamany said. “It was just a funny coincidence that we had written the same legislation, and we were able to take some wordage of mine and some researched facts from his to combine them to make what is bill SB 69-33.”
They also received input from many professors and administrators for different perspectives and to gather support, including Sorin Sorescu, head of the Finance Department, who has also been working on a separate rule change proposal for Rule 7. He has been helping Hernandez by providing the perspective of a faculty member.
“When you pass a rule like this, there is a trade off between doing what is right for our educational mission, which is ultimately to help our students find good jobs, and that the rule can be abused, a part of the faculty’s concerns,” Sorescu said. “Students can schedule job interviews on purpose around exams to try to avoid them. It becomes problematic on how to enforce it.”
To prevent abuse of the bill, both Hernandez and Sorescu plan on placing restrictions on when and how the bill will be used. Hernandez’s bill proposal calls for two absences per student while Sorescu’s rule change proposal calls for individual colleges to determine if the student should be granted a university excuse for interviews regardless of number.
“[You have to] think through the unintended consequences, every time you pass a rule,” Dr. Sorescu said. “There is typically some unintended consequences, so we have to think through those carefully. I expect some faculty to have some concerns over abuse, so the rule has to be very tightly written to prevent the possible extent of abuse.”
The writing for the bill can be revised throughout the process to address these exceptions before reaching A&M President Michael Young’s desk. After the unanimous Senate decision, the bill will go to the University Rules and Regulations Committee, the Faculty Senate, then Young’s office. According to Sorescu, the proposal can either be sent back for more research to be done, revised or accepted.
“The biggest part is going to be presenting it to the Faculty Senate because they have the final say in sending this to President Young’ office,” Hernandez said. “I am excited and I look forward to continuing this conversation with Faculty Senate. They are an outstanding group of professors, and I trust that they will make the right decision.”
The bill will be presented to the University Rules and Regulations Committee April 7. Hernandez, Argamany and Sorescu do not expect much controversy from the rest of the process, but they do expect revision.
“I feel confident that the university will see the need and respond because this will greatly benefit the students,” Hernandez said. “It will give the students that sense of security that they can accomplish their future career goals. We are still having a lot of conversations with administration. The bill is a way for us to communicate to the administration that ‘Hey, this is something that the students feel is important.’”
Sorescu said the bill is in the best interest of the university because it allows businesses from various states to bring their opportunities to A&M’s campus and give students flexibility in the search for jobs.
“As all of these great things are happening for our university, we have to be aware of the fact that working with out of state employers requires making certain adjustments,” Sorescu said. “We have to work with these employers based on their needs, their recruiting schedule. It is a rule change that not only helps the students, but will help the university better fulfill its education mission.”

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