Students, faculty members concerned about A-Senate's academic calendar decision

The implications of the Academic Senate's vote Tuesday to implement a shorter academic calendar are a concern to some students and faculty members.

The Senate voted 54 to 46 to halt the calendar change, which would shorten the length of semesters from 16 to 15 weeks beginning in fall 2014.

The term “rescind” was implemented in the motion, so the vote needed a two-thirds majority in order to keep the academic calendar at 16 weeks. It was not stated that a two-thirds majority vote was needed to pass the motion until after the vote.

If any term other than "rescind" had been used in the motion, a two-thirds vote would not have been required. The decision made on Tuesday is not necessarily final.

“(The vote) was not very well thought out,” Doina Harsanyi, associate professor of history said.

Assistant professor of history Stephen Jones said there is a lot of confusion surrounding the issue.

“The issues haven’t been thoroughly articulated to the public,” Jones said.

However, some professors said if the academic calendar changes, it won’t have much of an impact on their classes.

“I don’t imagine it will affect much,” Jones said. “But, it will require a little compression to get into 15 weeks what was previously meant for 16.”

Harsanyi said professors should have no problem adjusting to the new time constraints of the semesters.

“Certain materials can be compressed,” Harsanyi said. “Of course we can do (all of) the material.”

Arguments for and against the calendar change were outlined in a report presented to A-Senate by Provost Gary Shapiro, including how the shorter semester would give more time for students to work during the summer. It also outlined how the football program, Leadership Safari and other programs could be negatively impacted.

Some students are concerned about A-Senate's decision.

Grand Rapids sophomore Anna Gravelin said a shorter semester would make classes more stressful.

"I don't like that we're paying the same amount of money for a shorter amount of time," she said. "It will definitely be busier during the semester."

Chelsea Green, a sophomore from Cass City, said a change in the academic calendar would hurt student programs that are important to the university.

"I don't agree with it," she said. "I feel like it could hurt programs like Leadership Safari. We don't know enough about it to make an informed decision"


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