Undergraduate Senate develops athlete priority enrollment proposal

Jan. 24, 2024, 1:02 a.m.

On Tuesday night, the Undergraduate Senate (UGS) updated a resolution advocating for additional academic accommodations for student-athletes. The resolution comes in light of the University’s transition to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), which may create longer travel times between athletic events.

UGS co-chair Diego Kagurabadza ’25 clarified the student-athlete priority enrollment proposal in the resolution. It recommends student-athletes receive priority enrollment only within their class year, but not over students in higher class years.

Kagurabadza further clarified the proposal only suggests priority enrollment for classes necessary for degree completion, which excludes activity units. Activity units include physical education and wellness courses, including perennially popular classes like social dance. 

“The motivation for this bill is making sure that student-athletes can graduate on time,” Kagurabadza said. 

Kagurabadza told senators that the resolution is not intended to privilege student-athletes, but rather a conduit to improve the academic experience of all students at Stanford. According to Kagurabadza, accommodations included in the resolution — like recorded class sessions — would provide a benefit across the student body.

Fourth-year chemistry Ph.D. student Emmit Pert, who is also the current Graduate Student Council (GSC) deputy chair, told UGS that graduate students often interact with student-athletes in a teaching assistant role.

Teaching assistants do not want to “adjudicate who needs an accommodation and who doesn’t,” Pert said. Pert emphasized the need for clearer guidelines on accommodations, but said that many in the GSC support the spirit of the resolution.

Kagurabadza ‘25, who authored the resolution, is seeking student-athletes’ opinions during the quarterly Cardinal House meeting on Wednesday. Cardinal House is a gathering in which coach-appointed representatives from each of the 36 athletics teams discuss issues related to the student-athlete experience. 

“I know that there will not be any idea or perfect system that will satisfy everybody,” Kaguarbadza said. “But I think these are very meaningful steps to accommodate what I think is a very often underrepresented group in our student body.”

UGS also passed a bill welcoming Liam Anderson ’23 M.A. ’24, former co-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, as an ex-officio, non-voting member of the Senate.

Kagurabadza introduced an additional bill that would create standing ex-officio roles in the UGS, similar to the one that Anderson now holds. These roles would aim to add representation for transfer students, student athletes and international students.

Some senators debated the possibility and impacts of adding yet more standing ex-officio positions for other underrepresented communities.

Ellen Kim contributed reporting.

Kaushik Sampath is a desk editor for the sports section. He is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Arkansas, who's undecided on his major. You can catch him watching and ranting about his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks or hanging out with friends on campus. Contact him at sports 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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