By Jamie Reese
On February 16, the University Senate met in Lower Dansbury Commons for their monthly meeting. Among other things, they discussed ideas to rectify the many Mondays missed this semester due to snow days.
Thus far, we have missed class on three Mondays: January 26, February 2, and February 9. We have also missed class on Tuesday, January 27.
To initiate the conversation, Dr. Robert Cohen, President of University Senate, said, “We’re not talking about solving the problem; we’re just talking about what can be done. We have these three Mondays we’ve missed…”
He continued, “The issue is there are some classes that only meet on Mondays. Is there a way to make up a Monday…? If there is consensus, we can… bring that to the recommendations to the President.”
University President, Dr. Marcia Welsh, said, “There are something like 27 course sections that only meet on Monday, so those are the ones that have really missed three weeks of class, essentially.”
According to Welsh, we are required by Middle States, the accrediting body of the region, to have an action plan for missed days. As of now, we allegedly have no such plan.
Welsh continued, “I did go to the Student Senate the other day…to ask for ideas that they might have on what they would like to see for make-up…and they talked about their desire to have more…online types of work for snow make-up.”
She also claimed to have contacted provosts and presidents at other universities to acquire their make-up policies, which she described as often vague. She then brought up multiple ideas to remedy the issue.
Welsh suggested professors utilize classrooms when they are unoccupied. She said room availabilities would be announced shortly.
Welsh considered drawbacks to this idea when she said, “The problem is if you have a class on Monday, you may have a student that works Tuesday afternoon, so that’s within each faculty member’s purview to figure out what would work for their own class.”
The president commented on an idea she claims has been circulating: switch day.
She said, “One thing that keeps coming up is this switch day. That to me is robbing Peter to pay Paul. So we switch a Monday and a Tuesday. Next week we’re out Tuesday for snow. Then Tuesday now needs a make-up day, so I don’t see that as, for me, a doable solution that really solves any problems.”
Another idea Welsh suggested, which she claimed is employed by other universities, is to make up missed classes at night the month after they are missed.
After Welsh made her comments, she encouraged other Senators to make suggestions and brainstorm on potential solutions.
Dr. Nancy VanArsdale, President of ESU APSCUF, said, “The science faculty that have a lot of lab requirements probably should generate some ideas with students in those areas to figure out something that works. I know that missing one or two labs is just terrible.”
Cohen said, “It seems to me that making up a class on an alternate day…is exactly the same as a switch day. I was thinking of having a switch day for Monday on Wednesday, because most of the classes are essentially the same…What you’re doing is robbing the Wednesday for one week, so that another day will at least not have three weeks missing.”
Dominique Washington, Vice President of University Senate, said, “I think that plan would work best for one-day-aweek classes…If you’re talking about the other ones, then that’s not as effective.”
Welsh said, “I think we need a university policy that’s flexible… I think we can make it generic enough that we can monitor it at some level.”
She continued, “We probably need to get a policy in place within the next week…we really do need to have our act together…and this is one that I think we can do pretty easily with flexibility.”
No motions were passed at the meeting regarding this new policy, but based on the discussion, the university will likely implement one soon.
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