Goodbye Friday finish line, hello Saturday final exams

This year, for the first time in decades, many students will spend their Friday night studying for final exams that will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11. This new change was sparked by student requests, Faculty Senate President James Burgmeier said. “Students said that their number one priority was a full week off for Thanksgiving,” Burgmeier said. “The Carnegie requirements for minimum contact hours had to be reached and the fall semester is about a week shorter than the spring.” When asked about the change, many students voiced opinions differing from those that played a large role in the initial calendar change. “Yes, I am pissed,” sophomore Sam Lifton said. “We have enough stress during finals week, and I would personally rather leave a day later than have a six-day week right before vacation.” The change was intended to be active for the next five years; however, religious issues may push the Faculty Senate to make future adjustments, Burgmeier said. “There has been a lot of upset people about Saturday exams, especially by the Jewish community,” Burgmeier said. “Due to [this upset], we may go back to only two days in Thanksgiving week, but the best alternative is to start the school year early. The problem with this is not only do people not want to come early, but also we would have to shift the entire year.” The two days lost for the extended Thanksgiving break were made up by no Columbus Day vacation and classes extending one more day in the fall, ending on Thursday instead of Wednesday. “Following the last day of classes, students wanted a reading day,” Burgmeier said. “If we waited until Monday to have exams, they would run into the following week, making exams very close to Christmas.” Because of this time crunch, the idea of Saturday exams was proposed and voted in favor by the Faculty Senate. “Although I am an active member and intern for Hillel, this doesn’t personally and religiously affect me,” sophomore Alex Sherman said. “I will say, however, that it will definitely affect other Jews on campus. The exams should be moved.” An e-mail addressing the change recognized that some students might not be able to take exams on Saturday for religious reasons. The deadline for making alternative arrangements ended on Friday, Oct. 22. “It’s a complex process,” Burgmeier said. “We are trying to find the best solution.”