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ECU Board of Trustees take action

GREENVILLE, NC   (Mar. 18, 1994)   —   The Board of Trustees, March 18, took action on parking fees and approved a political activities policy for employees, but refused to endorse the new academic eligibility standards that go into effect next fall.
The new standards, aimed at improving graduation rates and encouraging students to get through school in four years, were developed in response to mandates from the Board of Governors and the state legislature.
Included under the new policy is a grade replacement plan that lets student replace three of their lowest grades by taking a course again. The policy also provides tutoring programs and supplemental instruction and adds more descriptive information about campus courses and instructors on the on-line computer system.
The Trustees, however, voiced opposition to a section of the policy requiring students to have a 2.0 grade point average or better at the start of their third semester. Student below the 2.0 GPA are placed on probation.
Marlene Springer (Academic Affairs) said the policy will help put the students on the right track early towards attaining the GPA needed for acceptance in a professional school or other academic major.
The School of Business, for example, requires that its majors have a 2.5 GPA at the time of entry. Other professional schools and programs have higher and lower GPA entrance requirements.
Springer said the new policy is a way of letting students know early that they must be serious about graduation. She said that when the second year students falls below the 2.0 minimum, they go into “a category where we tell them they are not living up to the expectations.”
A 2.0 GPA will remain as the minimum for graduation.
But the Trustees objected to the plan saying it will double the number of students on academic probation. In addition, several members of the board noted that other state schools have higher admission requirements but more liberal eligibility standards and said it appeared that ECU was trying to enhance the status of its academic quality by being extra tough on students.
Along this line, Trustee Phillip Dixon called the plan “a very substantial change that is not in keep with the mission of ECU.”
A question was also raised regarding how the policy will affect Athletics. Dave Hart (Athletic Director) responded by describing the athletic department as a microcosm of the campus. He said the student athletes are affected by university academic policy as well as by the standards imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Hart said the new university policy will raise the number of student athletes on academic probation from 30 to about 76 and could jeopardize the grant-in-aids for these athletes.
Trustee Valeria Lovelace said the policy lacks an evaluation component. She said she would like to hear about an evaluation plan at the May 6 meeting of the board.
Chancellor Eakin said he understands the concern over the standards but asked that the policy be given a chance. He said members of the faculty, who work with the students every day, believe the standards are attainable. He said ECU will return with an evaluation plan for the new policy at the next meeting.
Craig Souza (Trustees chair), speaking on behalf of other members of the board, said he was “uncomfortable” and “skeptical” about the policy. “We don’t want you to think we endorse it,” he said in conclusion to the one-and-a-half hour presentation and discussion of the issue.
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