On Nov. 21., St. John’s Student Government Incorporated (SGI) released a survey on a proposed class schedule for the Fall 2015 academic year.
The survey lists the scheduled proposed classes as Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday and Friday classes, as opposed to the current Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday and Wednesday classes.
“SGI’s main concern is that majority of the students are in tune with this issue and that the final decision reflects the overall interests of our students,” SGI Vice President Caroline Zottl said in an email interview.
According to Associate Director of Office of Institutional Research Piyaporn Nawarat, the proposed class schedule was first sent out as an email to faculty members from the Office of the Provost, from Sept. 19 to Oct. 6.
It was not until Sept. 29 when the survey was posted on St. John’s Central that students were able to weigh in. Students were given until the same date of Oct. 6 to complete the survey.
In a phone interview, Zottl talked about the lack of student opinions this survey received, and the ultimate reason for a second study.
“The data surveyed mostly administrators, there was barely any student input,” Zottl said. “The students are the ones that come first and foremost to the university.”
According to Provost Robert Mangione, the proposal of the class schedule change was first presented during the spring 2014 semester, when department chairs of St. John’s College sent a memo to former St. John’s President Rev. Joseph L. Levesque.
Among other proposals, the memo included a request to evaluate the benefits of a class schedule change.
“The reason was to facilitate availability to adjunct facility, to be on the same cycle,” Mangione said.
However, according to Zottl, half of adjunct professors were equitable on the proposal.
“Adjunct professors were 50/50 on the issue,” she said.
Once the responses from the initial survey were received, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Dr. Derek Owens presented the proposal at a university senate meeting, as stated by Provost Mangione.
The proposal received a two-thirds majority in favor of the change, and then a vote to adopt it. In order to receive more feedback from students, SGI requested a further study.
“We felt that this decision was not fully thought out,” Zottl said. “They did not think how severely it would affect all aspects of student life.”
For student activity organizations, a main concern is the influence the class schedule will have on the student body’s school spirit and attendance of campus events.
As Chair of RedZone’s school spirit committee, Ridge McKnight highly believes the proposal will have a negative effect on campus events hosted on Fridays and throughout the weekend.
“For games, I think attendance will take a hit,” he said.
Vice President for SGI Caroline Zottl is also a believer on the adverse participation that will result with the schedule change.
“There’s a big threat of St. John’s turning back into a commuter school,” she said.
Another potential matter at hand is the academic revisions that will follow from this change. Competitive courses including Physician Assistant and Pharmacy labs revolve around a Wednesday schedule, which if the schedule change occurred, would take place on Fridays instead.
Also, the switch would potentially disturb business students’ internships, as reported by Zottl.
Gina Squicciarini, a junior at St. John’s studying speech pathology, is in favor of the proposal since it would open up her availability on Fridays.
“Normally I don’t have classes on Wednesdays, so I wouldn’t have class on Fridays,” she said.
For Ridge McKnight, chair of RedZone’s school spirit committee, although he is personally not in favor of the schedule, he still understands that the students’ decision comes first.
“Most importantly, I think the students should decide,” he said.
For more information, students are encouraged to attend #SJUSchedule, an open discussion hosted by SGI that will focus on the proposed schedule change.
The event will take place on Friday, Dec. 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Bent Hall, Room 101.
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, some information was attributed to Associate Director of the Office of Institutional Research Piyaporn Nawarat when in fact that information was provided by SGI Vice President Caroline Zottl. The appropriate change has been made to clarify that Zottl provided the original quote.