UVM faculty scraps day off for Town Meeting

Town Meeting Day will no longer be given to UVM students as a day off from classes starting in 2010.The Faculty Senate came to this decision as a solution to an exam scheduling issue, which resulted fromthe new meeting patterns that were put into place this semester, members said.”We needed more slots in the exam matrix to cover all of the times, so we had to have another day for exams,” Chair of the Curricular Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate Cynthia Forehand said. “Your options are to take away an academic day, to take away a holiday [or] to take away student reading days.”Because Town Meeting affects a very small amount of the percentage of the faculty and students, taking time away from students for studying just didn’t seem to be the right choice,” Forehand said.The numbers of student attendees at town meetings across Vermont is unknown, along with the number of students who could be affected by this new legislation.”I am bothered that this opportunity is going to be curtailed,” Political Science Professor Frank Bryan said. “I am not sure if it isn’t a kind of selfish bias on my part, because I don’t think it is going to affect the great majority of UVM students.””[No class scheduling was] an awareness that town meeting was an important part of Vermont culture. That is just another loss for the town meeting. But again, I understand problems of scheduling as well,” Bryan said.Some students are angered by the loss of what they consider to be a UVM tradition.”Town Meeting Day has always been great, I am really bummed that they would take it away,” UVM Senior Mark Laos said. “It was always a really cool day to just have off because you were in Vermont. I have had some cool memories on Town Meeting Day, I feel bad for the kids coming after me that won’t get to experience it.”Some long term faculty have empathized with the loss that some students are feeling. “But it is another indicator — I mean I was always so proud of UVM that it took that day off, because it was a nod to the importance of town meeting,” Bryan said. Vermont legislation has been passed to ensure that students over the age of 18 may still participate in their town meeting despite this change of scheduling.The student is required to notify their faculty of their intentions seven days before town meeting.