Student Life / University

SGA president Justin Gawronski: Fight against academic calendar ‘definitely not over’

Student Government Association President Justin Gawronski said Thursday night the fight against the academic calendar change is not over after the Academic Senate vote came up short.

“We are still working out our options, but the fight definitely isn’t over,” Gawronski said in an email. “I am just having meetings with Jim McDonald and other people to figure out where we go next. Jim pretty much hit the nail on the head in the CM Life article when he said that another motion could be brought to the floor in two weeks. I think that is very possible.”

Gawronski also sent out a mass email to SGA participants Thursday morning.

“Quite frankly, it would be unfair for this conversation to end due to a technicality within parliamentary procedure that has prevented the will of the majority from being heard,” Gawronski said.

The Senate voted 54 to 46 Tuesday to stop the new calendar, which would shorten the length of semesters to 15 weeks beginning fall of 2014. But since the term “rescind” was used in the motion, the vote needed to have a two-thirds majority in order to keep the academic calendar at 16 weeks. Because of the confusion by Academic Senate members in the midst of the proceedings, another motion regarding the calendar is still on the table.

Big Rapids senior and SGA Vice President Michelle Vanhala said they will first wait to see how the situation plays out in A-Senate before deciding whether to take action.

“I think, at this point, we’re going to sit tight,” Vanhala said. “We could potentially pass a motion and take action if the Academic Senate does not address or vote against the academic calendar in their next meeting.”

Vanhala said SGA is dedicated to the issue, because the academic calendar change is against popular will.

“The majority of the Academic Senate was not in support of the change; the majority of the student body is not in support of the change,” Vanhala said. “I think this is clearly something we, as a community, are against.”

The SGA brought the academic calendar to the forefront of the university’s attention when they overwhelmingly voted in opposition to the calendar change last October.

The Academic Senate charged Provost Gary Shapiro to compose a report on the academic calendar later that October.

Released in January, the report offered detailed information about faculty opinion and estimated costs at a departmental level. Changes were estimated to have cost the university roughly $3 million and revealed little support campus wide for the changes.

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