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The Academic Calendar Conundrum: Are We There Yet?

As today’s CCSC roundup mentioned, the University Senate Education Committee passed a resolution last Friday that promises to be a step in the right direction concerning the academic calendar dilemma. A recent press release by Senator Andrew Springer elaborates more on the resolution, stating that its passing will “allow students to petition their Dean of Student Affairs offices to move finals scheduled on December 23rd.” Essentially, if an exam on December 23rd causes any unnecessary burden, a student now has the ability to reschedule it. If passed, the changes will take effect in Fall 2010. The resolution is scheduled to be brought up in the last Senate plenary of the academic year on Friday, April 30th.

It’s worthwhile to note that this doesn’t actually change the academic calendar. The resolution will simply give students a mechanism for moving exams around, much like how current policies allow for undergraduates to reschedule an exam if three fall on one day. Moreover, the resolution doesn’t deal with the shortage of study days at all; student leaders will “continue to work on the issue into the fall.”

Full press release after the jump.

Friday’s resolution from the Senate Education Committee—which will formally allow students to reschedule finals that fall on December 23rd—is a “win for students and an important first step” student senators said Monday morning.

“We’re pleased student and faculty senators could reach a consensus agreement about changing this policy,” said Sen. Tao Tan CC ’07, MBA ’11 and incoming Student Affairs Committee chair. “But this is only the first step in an ongoing process to address student concerns about the academic calendar.”

At the end of January, 1,600 students petitioned the University Senate to either change the academic calendar to end before December 23rd or to “change its policy to accommodate students that this schedule affects, by rescheduling exams or providing subsidiary exam dates.”

The petition argued that students who had to travel long distances could not make it home in time for Christmas.

The resolution—which still will go before the next Senate plenary—will change University policy to allow students to petition their Dean of Student Affairs offices to move finals scheduled on December 23rd. Undergrad schools already allow students to reschedule final exams if a student has more than three finals in one day.

While the resolution does not address the issue of study days, a concern of some undergraduate student leaders, Sen. Alex Frouman, CC ’12 and member of the Senate Education Committee said student senators will continue to work with student leaders and faculty senators to continue to work on the issue into the fall.

Some student leaders have voiced concern over study days because when the calendar ends on the 23rd, which it does for the next two years, the amount of study time is shortened.

“It’s important to note that this is not the end, but the beginning,” said Frouman. “This is an important first step.”

He also stressed this policy change taking affect this year. Faculty senators made it clear in several Senate plenary meetings that any change to the academic calendar would not change next year’s calendar.

Frouman also said he and other senators have reached out to the current and incoming leadership of CCSC and ESC. He and other senators hope to meet with them this week to discuss strategy going forward.

The resolution is expected to come before the Senate’s last plenary of the year, next Friday, April 30 at 1:15 p.m. in the World Room at the Journalism School. The meeting is open to all CUID holders.

Image via Flickr/Beverly & Pack

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  • NO says:

    @NO Squeezing more finals into an even shorter number of days solves NOTHING. The whole problem is that we simply don’t have enough time to adequately prepare for our exams. Half-assed solutions such as this will never work, and should not be spun as a step forward, because in reality this will be a step back. If this passes no change will ever come. This Academic Calendar mess between us students and the administration is one case where settling for a “solution” that alleviates next to none of our addressed concerns will not lead to a real or better solution down the road. If we don’t get it right now, then it’ll be another ten years before anything happens. The administration knows that. That’s why they have continued to stall this whole process since the beginning of March. We need a REAL solution now, as in this semester. Come on Student Council get something right for once…

    1. well says:

      @well I agree with you wholeheartedly EXCEPT that this isn’t the fault of CCSC. Sue Yang actually dislikes the proposal, for many of the same reasons you said. The problem is the faculty/USenate.

    2. HAHAHA says:

      @HAHAHA And what power does the all-powerful COLUMBIA COLLEGE STUDENT COUNCIL have to affect the academic calendar of like 15 schools??! Are you delusional? Perhaps the CCSC should also push to end the war in Iraq?

    3. I think says:

      @I think the alternative was that nothing would have happened, and people still wouldn’t have been able to get home this year before the 23rd. Would you rather nothing happen except some shouting instead of people at least being able to go home before the 23rd this year? Like it or not, the faculty outnumber and outvote us, and yelling and screaming at them isn’t going to get them to change their minds.

    4. the thing is... says:

      @the thing is... we can already petition to move our finals, so how exactly does this change anything? This is more an act of formalizing the status quo than any push forward… Would this guarantee that every student who petitions for an early final would get it approved? If not, then it doesn’t solve any problems at all because students can’t plan accordingly ahead of time. We still have to buy our plane tickets months in advance. If this proposal does imply that each student who petitions for an early exam would get their petition approved…well then its just stupid. That could never work. That would mean that if every single student in my chemistry class last semester, all 100+ of them, had petitioned to have their chem final moved to an earlier date due to travel issues, we could have collectively moved the final to an earlier date… The logistics of this proposal are not only absurd, they are impossible and could never be implemented.

      and it worries me that you have so little faith in our student government. this isn’t the Iraq war…its a petty academic calendar issue that has a clear solution – there are hundreds of universities just as big and complex as Columbia that have figured it out just fine. The academic calendar is something that the collective student body (all schools included) has identified as an area of concern. An issue like this is exactly what our student government ought to be rallying around, and if it doesn’t mobilize its resources and actually represent the student body’s concerns then frankly, it isn’t doing its job. If the councils don’t have the influence to adequately represent our needs and arrive at a feasible solution that addresses our needs as the paying students of this institution, then they have no reason to exist. Personally I still have faith in the councils, but I do hope that the seniors who are the primary players in this game don’t drop the ball and lose momentum as they head towards graduation, because if a real solution does not come out of these discussions THIS year, the rest of us will have to live with this crap calendar for years to come.

      1. GS alum says:

        @GS alum I was there at the usenate meeting on 4/2 where this was brought up and was involved in some discussions from the alumni end. I was not impressed. Do you really think you are entitled to dictate to the President what calendar the university operates on? Because until and unless you win over the faculty and administration (which, by the way, outnumber and outvote you), that’s what your saying. the student councils did a piss-poor job selling this (“waughhhhhhh!!! give this to us or we r gonna PROTEST and NOT DONATE”) and trying to convince faculty and administrators to support their plans, and really have no one to blame but themselves. i kind of want to know are the student council leaders interested in getting through a solution that works for EVEYRONE (not just them), or do they just want to make a huge stink and go out in a blaze of glory, to hell with future generatons.

        PS. Your example is flawed. First, there are very few exams on the 23rd. Second, it’s highly unlikely that all 100 people in your chemistry class live far enough away where they have to fly before then. Have you looked at the demographics of Columbia? Most of us are from tri-state area. Also, even if all 100 people needed to reschedule, they could easily move the exam back (there is a procedure to do that if the instructor requests). Instead of making wild-eyed uninformed blanket statements like “The logistics of this proposal are not only absurd, they are impossible and could never be implemented…. ZOMG,LETS GO PROTEST!!!”, how about you actually do something like talk to the Registrar (John Carter) and ask him what is impossible and what is absurd and what is not?

        PPS. This isn’t a “student-body” wide issue. i guarantee you nobody in the graduate schools cares. This also isn’t even an “undergraduate body wide” issue. your student council leaders might not have told you, but the GS student body, in a poll, voted against their start-before-Labor-Day plan.

  • i'm not donating a dime says:

    @i'm not donating a dime This does NOTHING. It doesn’t reduce stress. And it doesn’t help reduce costs associated with traveling so close to Christmas. When will we find out if our petition is approved? The week before finals? When tickets are double what they are in October/November?

    Awesome, thanks Columbia. I’m gonna email every prospie I know not to come to the college that doesn’t give a shit about its students.

    1. Senator says:

      @Senator “When will we find out if our petition is approved?”

      More or less immediately.

  • ehh says:

    @ehh stand columbia? more like screw columbia

    1. ehh says:

      @ehh george bush? more like purple kush!!! 420 in 12 minutes!!! woohooo!!!!

  • Green make over? says:

    @Green make over? and a happy 4/20 to you too Bwog =)

    1. ahhh says:

      @ahhh really would not have gotten that. well, that’s fun. it’s like a holiday!

    2. Clearly says:

      @Clearly Bwog is just two days early with celebrating Earth Day.

  • Hooah says:

    @Hooah Holy shit, Bwog, either that was extra special 4/20 Cannabis and I am baked as shit or you are really green. I kind of like both of those possibilities. Now please excuse me while I go play with that leprechaun over there.

    1. YES says:

      @YES favorite comment please?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous And I’m gonna be hiiiiiiiiiiiiayiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh as a kite by then.

  • 2150 says:

    @2150 hahahahahah green thats so funny!!!!!!!!

  • aand says:

    @aand it turned green at exactly midnight, i saw it happen. quite a magical experience.

  • wallach 7c says:

    @wallach 7c oohoohhhhoooooo bwog is green man! w T f is going on this is crazy ass s–t right here holy crap man…wow, wtf is going on, bro? ahhhhhhh bro bro bro bro.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous start the damn year earlier. Or take a week out of curriculums. Who the fuck cares.

  • Mel says:

    @Mel It’s Springtime… for Hitler… and Germany! (da-da, da-da da)
    Deutschland is happy and gay…
    We’re marching to a faster pace,
    Look out! Here comes the master race!

    1. bahahaha says:

      @bahahaha i love you

  • love says:

    @love the trees bwog -way to be

  • why are you green says:

    @why are you green i mean i know why, but nothing can justify how horrible it looks…eh sorry

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