TGIF? Nope; get back to class

Chico State University students accustomed to arranging their schedules to keep their Friday afternoons free will have to do some juggling in light of a directive from university brass.

Starting with the fall 2004 semester, courses running from 3 to 4:15 p.m. or from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays will no longer be offered. Instead, there will be a new 3 to 4 p.m. Monday-Wednesday-Friday “block.”

The news was handed down in a memo from the Academic Affairs Office.

Jim Postma, who chairs the Academic Senate, said faculty members were bothered that the change didn’t go through its Educational Policies and Procedures Committee (EPPC), as is usually the case. Now, EPPC is reviewing the change, a process seen as “a little bit of a slap on the wrist to the provost.”

Provost Scott McNall said he thought it was enough to consult with the deans, but he’s happy to do so with the EPPC now. He added that the change actually provides more scheduling options. There will be new Monday-Wednesday blocks from 4 to 5:15 p.m., 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., 7 to 8:15 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:45 p.m.

The idea itself, Postma said, makes sense. The university needs to maximize its use of space if it hopes to get the CSU to kick in for remodeling dollars. Students and teachers bailing on Fridays isn’t the most efficient way of doing business.

But there has been controversy. “I think some faculty who had used that block had used it sort of to keep that Friday afternoon open,” Postma said. The cynic, he said, would suggest that teachers just went home, but in his department, at least, many kept late Friday open for guest speakers and special events.

Associated Students President Jimmy Reed said he was annoyed that "no student was ever asked about this or what their thoughts were." He was somewhat comforted to see the addition of scheduling blocks, but he expects there are students who have out-of-town or work commitments who appreciated not being in class later than 3 p.m. on Fridays.