By Kevin Lindsay
For almost a year now the buzz among students at Monmouth College has been the proposal of a new academic calendar. Rumors started swirling last fall that the faculty senator was creating a committee to oversee this task. All of the tension between students and the faculty, and even between faculty members themselves grew to a T this month in a heated debate that spanned nearly three hours.
The faculty gathered to vote on a proposed calendar change to a 4-4 system. The 4-4 system would limit the classes that students had to take per semester to only 4 at a time with the possibility of 5, depending on the students major. The proposal failed with 48 faculty voting no and 47 faculty voting yes. When asked if he was disappointed about the failed vote, English Professor Mark Willhardt said “In one sense I am [disappointed with the vote] because, in my opinion, the changes proposed were actually minimal.” He further stated that “to eliminate the Human Societies rubric doesn’t mean those courses will cease being offered; to reduce the arts and sciences requirements doesn’t mean that the College fails to endorse the Arts, or the Sciences.”
When the Courier published an article covering the failed vote, student’s responded. In the middle of the heated discussion that some would call a faculty meeting, Political Science professor and faculty-senate member Farhat Haq believed that the faculty needed to stop postponing a calendar change. “I have been here for over 24 years and this is the most trustworthy administration I have seen thus far. It’s time to move forward and take the risk.” Many students who heard Haq’s words agreed. Junior Business major Steven Seers said “I agree with Farhat. We need to move on and take risks. We all took risks by coming to college and sometimes calculated risk equals what we need to make things for the better.” Senior Business major Joshua Williams shared some of the same views as Prof. Willhardt saying, “I think it was silly for the faculty to vote 4-4 down. From what most of the students know, it seems like it would lighten the workload for them a lot. Many people think that the students would party more instead of studying more, but others think with the school time managing better, that the students could and would probably do the same.”
Not everyone thinks that 4-4 would be easier. Junior Communications major Taylor Nania said “I understand what they're trying to accomplish with the 4-4 calendar, but I don't particularly agree with it because there are students on campus with multiple majors and multiple minors. Having the 4-4 plan doesn't allow students to take the amount of classes they want to achieve those majors and minors, therefore not letting them get the education they want.” Other students were not aware of the change at all, including incoming freshman and transfer students. David Hazlett, a sophomore transfer student told the newswire “I had no idea that there was even a proposed change until I read the Courier. You would think that the school would at least mention something to all of us considering the change will affect the future students the most.”
Junior Biochemistry and Chemistry major Jake Nysather had a lot to say about the proposed 4-4 change as well. “I believe the 4-4 system is a terrible idea for any students who are planning on going pre-professional or are planning on going into education. This [new system] will not prepare students as well as the system does right now. “ Nysather continued on with his praise for the proposal being voted down, “the new system would force students to stay an extra semester or year, which will drive students away and make the enrollment plummet. No one and their parents want to spend more money than they have to.” Whether the students agree or disagree with the proposed 4-4 scheduling plan, we won’t know anything about the next move until the next faculty-senate meeting on October 4th.