Students worried about outcomes of paradigm change
Small combat has erupted sporadically, no doubt, but the battlefield is still peculiarly peaceful – for now.
Within the walls of the great maroon Tolley castle, Syracuse University administrators have been mapping out a new era for the kingdom. The architects call it a past-due update that will enrich the slice of Orange life, but the populace seems, for the most part, unconvinced, arguing that this new design will dramatically alter the fabric of student life for the worse.
And as the days approach the moment when Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw has to make the final decision, those thoughts – more 80-minute classes, more Friday classes and more 8 a.m. classes – appear to sound more and more like the beats of drums declaring war against the student body. With kingdom officials repeatedly saying nobody has given them a good enough reason to change their minds, students are pulling out their own artillery and preparing to make room for their red badge of courage.
Rallying the troops is Student Association President Andrew Thomson who, with members of the SA, is leading the march with an alternate class schedule that they will formally present next week to the University Senate before the Senate makes its recommendation to Shaw. Thomson has been arguing that the current proposed schedule would create additional problems for the student body.
It seems as though the current glitches the administration hopes to fix, such as uneven distribution of classes and a high number of Public Safety problems beginning Thursday night, aren’t swaying many people.
‘The new proposed scheduling matrix would make my already-burdensome schedule even more unbearable,’ said Josh Lederman, a freshman musical theater major.
Lederman feels the new proposed time blocks would lock students into chunks of time not conducive to the type of work they are used to.
‘Rather, I propose we, and indeed have petitioned to, strictly enforce the current scheduling scheme to ensure students can take classes in other departments – or ‘up the Hill,’ as we say down at the theatre – without problems of overlapping classes and inadequate time for transportation between classes.’
Because the new proposed schedule has classes beginning at 8 a.m, other university activities such as Reserve Officers Training Corps may have to change their routines. New ROTC policy calls for physical training twice a week – training that ordinarily takes place at 7 a.m.
‘Right now, we usually have Tuesdays for leadership laboratories where we learn about things like the Air Force and different officership qualities,’ said Mike Stepan, a junior psychology major. ‘We do that on Tuesday at 7 a.m. and on Thursdays we have physical training from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.’
While the university’s new proposed schedule sets aside 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays for common time – that is, no scheduled classes during those hours so that organizations, academic departments and university-wide unions can hold events and meetings – some students feel the proposed common time has flaws.
‘It seems like a problem that no one can really agree on: Starting classes earlier and having more Friday classes interferes with a lot of work and recreation schedules. ROTC and RSA are just two groups that can be negatively affected,’ said Matt Carlberg, a junior psychology major and member of the rape theater group e5m and Delta Lambda Phi and a resident security adviser.
‘The idea of having all campus organizations meeting on Wednesday doesn’t really fly either, because many people are in many clubs, so having them all meet in one evening doesn’t make a lot of sense,’ Carlberg said.
Some students are less diplomatic and a little more blunt.
‘I’ve heard that the initiative behind the proposal was to keep kids from drinking,’ said Julia Shapiro, an undecided freshman in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. ‘It’s going to be pretty inconvenient for students and faculty, especially for teachers who teach at other schools.’
Shapiro criticized the administration’s point that the new proposed schedule is essential for students who desire a larger pool of classes, since neither she nor any freshmen she knew had any difficulty getting into the classes they wanted.
Matt McClary, a business management major, echoed Shapiro’s view. He said his current schedule reflects his first choice of classes.
‘I really haven’t heard of any complaints from kids who haven’t gotten their classes they wanted,’ McClary said.
Despite the growing uproar, hidden somewhere in the hills of campus are the pacifists – those content with the administration’s decision to change the schedule and seek no fight.
‘I think that it is good that they are trying to reschedule so that all of the popular courses aren’t at the same time,’ said David Ries, a freshman finance major. ‘Whatever schedule they give me is the one that I get and I don’t have too much of a choice about the classes and times that I get.’
Asst. News Editor Joe Connolly contributed to this report.
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