UT senate supports interviewing FIG mentor applicants

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Photo Credit: Ravi Teja | Daily Texan Staff

The UT Senate of College Councils passed resolutions Thursday to encourage colleges to interview their respective first-year interest group mentors and considered a proposal of a financial aid student handbook that compiles information on University aid.

 “The position of FIG mentor is very important and has a lot of responsibilities,” said David Jenkins, Senate academic policy co-chair and English sophomore. “Having an interview process beyond just the application would present an immediate professional precedent with both the applicant and the interviewer.”

 Some colleges interview their FIG mentor applicants, but it is not mandatory. A Senate member asked the resolution’s authors if a standard interviewing procedure would make the hiring process fair across all colleges, but Katherine Horstman, academic policy co-chair, said expectations and visions differ based on the nature of the college.

“Logistically, it’s just difficult to require to standard from each college when the main problem that we’re facing is that it’s not standard the different resources and number of applicants that each college is receiving,” economics sophomore Horstman said. “While I agree with what you’re saying, I think it just makes this more complicated implementation process.” 

Grace Zhang, Fine Arts Council financial director, said she opposed the resolution because adding interviews would slow the hiring process. Zhang, an art history senior, said fine art students are especially busy and would be intimidated by an interview.

“[Fine arts] FIGs already have such a hard time trying to find a [mentor] for the next year,” Zhang said. “Even though it’s a paid position, it’s really hard for students in college to find the time outside of their rehearsals … to devote their time to be a FIG mentor as well. To add another layer of admissions to it would deter even more students.”

Additional resolutions were proposed at this week’s meeting and will be voted on next week. 

Lily Bonin, undergraduate research committee at-large representative, and Austin Reynolds, Senate vice president, proposed a financial aid student handbook, which would compile information on University aid in a PDF format. 

Bonin, a government freshman, said the handbook would help students navigate the financial aid process and may provide information not available online.    

“The whole point of this handbook is that the information is there, we’re just putting it together,” Bonin said. “This will be a lot easier and a lot more accessible.”

Reynolds, an English senior, also proposed a resolution to replace doctor’s notes with an “honor code system.” This would allow students to sign a statement saying they missed class for health reasons. 

University Health Services does not issue doctor’s notes because they fear students would skip class using them, Reynolds said.

Electrical engineering sophomore Kaela Todd said she has had several health problems, including an ear infection and a fever during an exam. Todd said UHS’s policy about not giving doctor’s notes would be an issue if she had more problems.

“I haven’t been in a position where I’ve needed a doctor’s note yet, but I feel like that would be really inconvenient if I did,” Todd said. “If you’re sick you shouldn’t have to make yourself sicker by working through it.”