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Initiative Spotlight: Evan Mays

Introduce Yourself!

Name: Evan Mays

Year: Sophomore 

Major: Social Work

Hometown: Church Hill, TN

SGA Role: Senator, Government Affairs Committee, Communications Team



When did you join SGA and why?

I joined SGA the first chance I had when I arrived on Rocky Top! As someone interested in social justice, public policy and government I have always been interested in doing what I can to serve the communities I belong to. So, I decided to join SGA to see what I could do to make our campus community an even better place.


What is your involvement in SGA?

I currently serve in the Undergraduate Student Senate representing the College of Social Work. I am also a member of the Government Affairs Committee and I work with the communications team. 


What has been your favorite aspect of SGA?

SGA gave me a sense of belonging on campus and has made me feel at home on campus. My favorite aspect of SGA is the atmosphere of family, mattering and belonging that we have had the opportunity to cultivate. 


Tell us about your S/CR/NC legislation, and how it came about?

Last semester, given the dire circumstances facing everyone in our country, our university decided to allow students to change their grading scale from an A-F system to a Satisfactory/Credit/No-Credit system on a class-by-class basis. However, this semester, much like the last, students are facing unprecedented situations. Aubrey approached me a few months ago and asked if I would help her draft legislation to bring back that grading scale policy for students this semester. I was happy to sign onto the project, but at the time I don’t think Aubrey nor myself anticipated the number of conversations we have had the opportunity to have faculty, administrators, and students alike to come to a compromise we are all happy to offer. While all students may not have the opportunity to change their grading scales as they did last semester, students who have been directly impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another, will have that opportunity. Alongside that policy change, there are several other academic policy changes Aubrey and I are happy to see come to fruition that will hopefully provide some much-needed relief for students this semester. 


Why does S/CR/NC legislation matter to you?

S/CR/NC legislation matters a great deal to me because students should not be academically impacted by outside influences which they have no control over. The global pandemic’s impact on our campus has seen students displaced from their dorm rooms, facing food and employment insecurity, and surmounting mental health issues. We cannot expect students to perform as if things are business as usual, when they are not. This legislation’s goal was to support students academically, and hopefully it will succeed. 


What are some things we can expect to see in the future regarding the S/CR/NC policy that you are excited about?

One great thing that I think has come out of this semester is the opportunity our campus has had to learn what we are capable of. I’m excited to see what the future semesters bring us now that we’ve realized we are stronger together, and no matter what situation is thrown our way, our University will still thrive. Additionally, one of the most common questions Aubrey and I received while lobbying for this legislation was, “What kind of precedent does this set?” I believe this sets a precedent and sends a message that our University cares about its students and wants to see us succeed. Specifically, regarding academic policy, I’m excited to see how our University will continue this precedent and support its students.