Students to Sit in Desks on Saturday

Saturday is typically a day of relaxation for most students. But that might change for some students in early December.

The University announced this week that as part of its plan to make up classes missed due to Superstorm Sandy, some classes might be held on a Saturday.

According to an email sent to faculty on Monday, and later sent to students on Tuesday, this is how the University plans for classes to be made up: -Monday/Thursday classes that were missed due to Sandy will meet on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Tuesday/Friday classes will meet on Friday, Dec. 7. That day originally was scheduled to be a “study day,” the typical day-off provided for students to prepare for finals.

The extra days of classes were added on in order to address the missed classes during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. From Oct. 29-Nov. 2, all classes were cancelled, leaving the remainder of the schedule for the semester in disarray.

On Nov. 12, Interim Provost Robert Mangione sent an email out to faculty members of the University, notifying them of the manner in which classes would be made up, per New York State Education Department (NYSED) regulations.

Originally, the email was not sent out to the general student body, relying on the faculty to alert their students of the changes. The Torch obtained a copy of the email and reported it on Twitter. In his exclusive interview with the Torch on Nov. 13, Fr. Donald J. Harrington, president of University, said he was not involved in the decision to hold class on Dec. 8, saying he left that to the provost’s office. Harrington seemed surprised that students were not directly contacted about the revised schedule.

“I think it had to do with making sure the information was filtered through the faculty and that students and staff weren’t hearing two separate things,” added Joseph Oliva, St. John’s General Counsel. Later Tuesday, an email from the Registrar’s office was sent to the general student body alerting them of the changes to the schedule. Wednesday classes were not affected by the storm because they were not scheduled to meet that week.

Graduate classes also were not assigned a makeup date, with the university announcing that any missed course work should be made up at the discretion of the professor.

The final exam schedule remains unchanged for the time being, according to the email.

Rescheduling classes that were missed due to Sandy was important, according to the email, to meet the hours necessary by state regulation. Therefore, the scheduled makeup days of Dec. 7 and 8 are “considered to be a regular instruction period to comply with NYSED regulations for the awarding of credit.”
It’s not clear yet how many professors plan to go through with the make-up classes rather than have students make up the missed time in other approved manners.

But some students already know where they’ll be on Saturday, Dec. 8. Junior Tricia Murphy said she will be attending the Saturday class because a class project will be held that day.

“My professor already told us we had to make it up in order to get the credit,” she said.

Murphy said it wouldn’t be hard for her to get to class on a Saturday because she lives close to campus. But she believes a better solution would be for individual professors to assign make-up work.

Professors also are adjusting the makeup schedule on the fly.

Associate professor of English Tara Roeder said she did not design a makeup schedule for her class, and  she was waiting on the advice of the administration first.

Although Roeder’s class does not meet on Monday/Thursdays, she said she understood the need to hold class on the weekend.

“I totally understand the need to comply with state mandates,” she said. “If I had to teach on a Saturday, I would try to make some sort of arrangement with students who had other obligations to make up the class on-line.”