UI senate extends test-optional admissions through 2023

Rob+Kar+directs+the+UI+senate+meeting+on+Monday%2C+March+8.+The+senate+voted+to+extend+the+test-optional+admissions+policy+through+2023.+

Matt Troher

Rob Kar directs the UI senate meeting on Monday, March 8. The senate voted to extend the test-optional admissions policy through 2023.

By Matt Troher, Staff Writer

The UI senate voted to preserve the standardized test-optional policy for the 2022 and 2023 admission cycles at Monday’s meeting.

The policy allowed for optional reporting of SAT or ACT scores for the 2021 admissions cycle due to constraints placed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UI senate voted to extend the policy 101-7, with six abstentions.

Admissions Committee Chair Marni Boppart stated that the reasoning behind extending the policy stems from foreseeable standardized testing inaccessibly resulting from lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“COVID-19 continues to interfere with the ability for our prospective students to access entrance exams, and/or properly review for the exams,” Boppart said.

Chancellor Robert Jones remarked on the continued success of the University’s COVID-19 testing program, as well as the emerging success of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District’s vaccination program. 

After a brief introduction and call to order by Senate Executive Committee Chair Rob Kar, Jones began his remarks by noting his excitement regarding the recent FDA emergency authorization of the University’s saliva test. According to Jones, the approval gives way to the possibility of extending the saliva test to other communities across the state. 

Jones also expressed his satisfaction with the campus’s low COVID-19 positivity rate. The campus’s positivity rate reached a seven-day average of .1%, an all-time low since Aug. 14, before the beginning of the fall semester. Despite the news of a record-low positivity rate, Jones emphasized that the campus community must remain vigilant.

“In some ways, it causes a bit of concern, because we don’t want these low levels to cause people to become complacent, because now is not the time to become complacent,” Jones said during his remarks to the University Senate.

Jones also touched on the University’s plans regarding in-person instruction for the Fall semester. He assured the Senate that faculty have been meeting to discuss fall instruction, although the exact plans have yet to be finalized, and are contingent on unpredictable factors such as the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, and student uptake rate for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“Our goal is to maximize the number of students that we will have back on campus and in some form of face-to-face instruction,” Jones said. “But all of that is dependent on circumstances that we don’t fully understand, and we don’t fully know the details of at this moment. 

In addition to Jones’s remarks, the Senate voted on ten proposals, all of which were approved.  

Additionally, the Senate voted to approve faculty and student nominations to the 2021-2022 athletic board. Faculty and Student nominees will be forwarded to the Chancellor, after which Chancellor Jones will select two nominees from each list to fill two vacancies. The faculty nominees were approved with a vote of 104 to one, with two abstentions, and the student nominees were approved with a vote of 106 to one, with one abstention.

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