Broadcasting department, Leadership Safari make case against proposed calendar changes

The results from Provost Gary Shapiro's report on the proposed academic calendar change showed there is “significant and widespread sentiment” toward the proposed change, and the only department that could receive a positive impact on student learning is the Department of Recreation, Park and Leisure Services.

The proposed change, which would move the start of classes to after Labor Day, was first introduced during the faculty bargaining agreement in 2011 and has been further pursued this year. The reasons for the change, as stated in the report, are so faculty and students with children will have time off when the local schools are on break and so students with summer jobs will get one more week of work.

During an October Academic Senate meeting, Shapiro was charged with compiling a report outlining the potential effects of the proposed change.

The proposed calendar could have academic consequences for the Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts department. Many BCA courses have production elements the students participate in. They reported the change would leave less time for the students and would impact how the programs are run.

“The change will reduce the time that we are given to work. Sometimes, my classes meet one time a week, and one less week would hurt the learning process,” Fowlerville freshman and BCA student Brandon Craigie said. “The university should take into account the BCA program is one of CMU's best programs and that reducing the amount of time on such an excellent program would reduce the quality of the program.”

Craigie also mentioned the change would hurt the BCA program’s co-curriculars.

"We have to put in a lot of hours as is, and removing a week would only hurt how much work we can do,” he said.

The School of Music reported the damage the calendar change could have on marching band camp. If the early football games were not canceled, band students and instructors would have to move into residence halls two weeks early, costing up to $111,000 in housing and meal plans.

 “I think it’s ridiculous; we can save so much money by not moving band camp up a week,” Saline freshman and CMU band member Kurt Mai said. “No matter when we have band camp, people will show up, and we will put together a good show. If the university can save money by running camp a certain way, it should keep it that way.”

Another major issue brought up in the report was the impact to residence halls. According to the report, the university could lose between $2.92 and $2.95 million if the room and board rate reflects the lost week. When that is added to the cancelation fees and other financial costs, the calendar change could cost the university as much as $4.32 million in 2014.

Leadership Safari also has issues with the proposed calendar. The later start means the program might have to run during Labor Day weekend.

“The change just isn’t a good idea for Safari. The participants come up early so they can get used to the campus. If they have to stay during the holiday break, I think fewer students will take advantage of the program,” Canton sophomore Bridget McEvilly said.

McEvilly is on Team Runner, a group that helps Leadership Safari run smoothly, and says Safari should be taken more seriously in calendar talks.

“Safari should be taken seriously by the Academic Senate. It is a very important program because of all it does for the student body, and it keeps growing. The university would be very different without it,” McEvilly said.

On Oct. 22, the Student Government Association passed a resolution saying the student body does not support the proposed calendar change. Even now, many students are still opposed to the change.

“With the economy we are in, the university doesn’t need to be spending the money when the university is running fine the way it is. It’s wasteful,” Capac sophomore Shannon Draper said.


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