President Ross: Conversation about academic calendar ‘has to come back to the table’
Central Michigan University President George Ross said the discussion of the new academic calendar has to come back to the forefront of the Academic Senate.
In a meeting with Central Michigan Life Tuesday, Ross said with Monday’s SGA’s opposition to the academic calendar, A-Senate has to recognize the concerns students have regarding the change.
“The voice of the students is extremely important,” Ross said. “… What happened last night with the (SGA) House and Senate was a loud voice.”
Monday night, the SGA House voted unanimously to approve a motion declaring official opposition to the planned academic calendar changes.
The SGA Senate also voted to oppose the academic calendar, with 15 for the motion, two against and one abstaining.
Under the change, the fall 2014 semester would begin on Sept. 2, after Labor Day, effectively eliminating one week of structured class time.
Ross said he agreed with SGA’s expressed concerns presented in the passed bill.
“I don’t believe we have done enough homework,” Ross said. “Having a longer summer to work has, of course, been presented as a positive, but what are you going to do about orientation and Leadership Safari?”
Ross also expressed concerns that have been brought to him regarding room and board and whether student fees would change due to the new academic calendar.
Yet, Ross admitted the fate of the academic calendar was beyond his or SGA’s control.
“I’d love to tell you there was a person who could directly change the academic calendar,” Ross said. “I don’t have that authority, the provost doesn’t have that authority. This was voted in by the Academic Senate and negotiated with the Faculty Association. We are now prepared to follow the rules of bargaining.”
While Ross said SGA’s voice is an extremely important voice, he said it is limited in it’s ability to prevent the changes from happening because the academic calendar is a contractual issue between the Faculty Association and university.
“Part of the discussion, procedurally, is what we can do from here,” Ross said. “There are established paths that we can take.”
Ross said he is planning to meet with A-Senate’s executive board to discuss the future of the academic calendar and how the university plans to proceed now that the SGA legislation has passed.
Ross also plans to discuss the issue in detail with SGA President and Macomb junior Justin Gawronski this weekend.
Ross hopes A-Senate recognizes the urgency of the issue and doesn’t let procedural norms prevent continued discussion about the academic calender.
“I’m going to talk to the e-board and tell them we have to bring this back,” Ross said. ”I don’t want Robert’s Rules of Order to get in the way of this conversation.”
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