COLUMN: Academic calendar the wrong move for students

There’s considerable irony in the fact that the Academic Senate, Faculty Association and administration are pushing a new academic calendar.

The calendar, which would eliminate one week of school, would allow CMU to start classes after Labor Day.

After a tumultuous year between the FA, A-Senate and administration, in which all claimed to be working for the students, it seems there is some type of coercion to harm the academics of this school.

This should be clear: The only way students should accept this in any way is if the administration lowers tuition next year and both the FA and administration take pay cuts.

If this passes without those two things happening, all students that take higher education (and the bills they pay for it) seriously, should walk.

Students should picket and not go to classes.

Why not take a few weeks off?

Future CMU students will be paying inflated tuition to a school that will have proven that academics is not the first priority.

The A-Senate has said at meetings that this could be a good option, considering other similar universities have done it.

To that, there is only one response that has been reiterated at least five times in the past year by the Central Michigan Life Editorial Board: Why do we have to copy every other university?

We should be striving for academic excellence.

To prove we certainly aren’t striving for excellence with this calendar, take a look at what FA President Laura Frey said about the academic changes behind it.

“The academic calendar committee never intended to have any of the work impede or reduce academic quality,” she said. “We did not address that topic nor did we see it as a concern.”

To get this straight, an “academic calendar committee” didn’t think there would be any problems “academically” if they cut a full week of classes. Furthermore, they didn’t even address it as a concern.

If that doesn’t make you realize this was a cooked-up plan that isn’t going to help students in any way, nothing else will. Academics weren’t even thought about.

This is about right and wrong and what’s best for students.

Right now, the university, FA and A-Senate are putting forward ideas for their benefit, masking it by saying that they only care about students.

The only group asking the A-Senate, FA and administration to reconsider is the Student Government Association, led by students.

To add even more irony to this, now the three groups have essentially talked down SGA’s battle against the new calendar, saying it’s been a very long process and that SGA shouldn’t worry about it.

Education is why students take out five-figure loans for every year. It’s why parents take out loans to help their children get a better education, and hopefully, jobs. It’s the very foundation of what this university is.

But, it’s all right; don’t worry about it, CMU. Go ahead and tarnish the very foundation we stand on.


  1. It doesn’t matter. When I was at CMU, 60% of the class time was spent trying to figure out the computer to display the powerpoint slides. After that, 30% was spent talking about things other than what the class was about. Only 10% was spent on focused and engaged learning.

  2. Youresortaright says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you on most of your letter…problem that you aren’t seeing is how much many student service departments DO appose this change. There are also some faculty whom do NOT support this measure. The students aren’t the only one that have been trying to voice opinions in the matter. There have been several groups presenting issues to the FA. We shouldn’t be like any other university. There are too many things we do well at CMU that they do not do anywhere else. The FA needs to stop thinking of themselves and seriously put this horrific idea to rest.

  3. Hardworking Student says:

    Eric, as a President of an Honors Society, I am saddened at your claims and proposed actions. When you say, “Students should picket and not go to classes.
    Why not take a few weeks off?” This is dangerous. And stupid. Talk about being uneducated! This is a moment for the university administration, academic senate, and FA come together. Appreciate it because CMU has rare moments like this.
    I read the SGA Act F.2012.01 resolution. Most of this does not use common sense: “Changes to the marching band program were not appropriately addressed…” as well as numerous other statements like, “The proposed 15-week Academic Calendar change does not align with Central’s mission to provide student-centered education and to foster knowledge, wisdom, discovery, and creativity.”
    Are you kidding me? SGA is saying (and I think you would agree on their resolution) that if we take away ONE week, CMU is a failure as a school? We may fail on other things, but taking away ONE week will not fail on that mission. Most of the resolutions say that “it is unclear” how changes will affect certain programs.
    Maybe one of the CMU missions should include the ability to adapt and change in an ever-changing environment? When did we become so rigid that a change in plans is the ultimate devastation and utter failure as an educational institution? I am saddened and disappointed my classmates think this way. Not only was the survey of people extremely unrepresented (with a small population) but there should be no bias involved.
    My opinion? I think 15-weeks will be good. Students no longer have to drive back home for Labor Day to hang out with friends, who are all home because they start school later. Families can have a last BBQ dinner together and celebrate one last weekend of great weather. Students can work an extra weekend when it is most probable that they will already have a job. We will finally align with all other schools in Michigan as well as in the nation. I think this will make us even more competitive as a higher institution.
    SGA, you do not represent my voice, or the voice of my entire organization as we disagree with your “findings.” Your ideas are radical and not thought-out. I suggest you do more research instead of having most resolutions say, “It is unclear…”
    Hardworking students

    • Most schools start after labor day? Pfft. Eastern, Western, Oakland, and the U of M system start after labor day. Eastern and Oakland are commuter schools. Western is not even worth mentioning and many of the UofM satellite campuses are professional students. We should not compare ourselves with any of them. I think you should take the time and do your own research.

    • If your organization is not in support of this, then why did your SGA representative vote in support of the recent legislation…? The vote was unanimous…

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