SGA requests Senate change finals dates

All Matt Peak wanted to do during graduation was get on stage, “wear a funny hat” and leave.

Peak, who graduated in 2015, said he couldn’t enjoy the ceremony with the thought that he still had finals left to take.

“The entire process was absolutely ridiculous,” he said. “Give me my diploma when I graduate. Don’t mail it to me or make me come back and sit in a classroom.”

Faculty Senate will vote to recommend administration reevaluate the current finals schedule and academic calendar Friday.

Peak said he and many of his peers worried about the possibility of having to retake classes.

“I feel like graduation should be the exclamation point at the end of your academic career, but there was an ellipsis,” he said. “It wasn’t really the finish line.”

Senior Sarah Wagmeister responded to The Shield on Facebook and wrote she’s seen some individual professors offer early finals for seniors, but none of her current courses allow that.

“I have family coming in, but I have to study instead of spending some time with them,” she wrote.

Student Government Association President Alexa Bueltel visited the Senate meeting March 18, and presented SGA’s resolution to modify finals so seniors finish all their exams before graduation.

SGA passed the resolution last semester. Bueltel intended to meet with Faculty Senate in January, but several Senate meetings were canceled because of inclement weather.

“It’s a very anticlimactic graduation for seniors because as they’re sitting in the audience and they’re here getting ready to graduate, they’re not really done,” Bueltel said. “They have in the back of their minds that they have finals to study for.”

She said she’s seen other schools be successful in modifying finals for seniors.

“We looked at IU and Ball State and they have it figured out so that graduation happens after all finals are taken for all students,” Bueltel said. “If they can all figure it out, why can’t we?”                         

Representative Jason Fertig said the university’s finals schedule has had the same structure since 2002.

“There’s no perfect solution to this because everyone sees it from a different angle,” he said. “If you push graduation forward, you have the issue of housing contracts. If you push it back, you have to figure out if we can hold class on days we currently don’t.”

Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Shelly Blunt said altering the date of commencement would have a downfall.

“I think there’s concern that participation in commencement would decrease (if you move commencement back), like who’s going to stay, either faculty or students,” she said.

Senate Chair Rex Strange suggested they send a recommendation to the president’s office to possibly reform the academic calendar even though it is projected for five years.

Fertig will write a formal resolution based on the discussion to be voted on Friday.