The Town Meeting, hosted on Thursday, April 24 by students Tricia Freiburger, junior, and Fred Dias, sophomore, discussed and debated the possibility of changing the Lawrence academic calendar from the three-term system Lawrence currently employs to a semester system, more commonly used by academic institutions. The meeting gave students an opportunity to express their opinions, concerns, or support to Freiburger and Dias, the two student applicants selected by LUCC to work with a committee of nine faculty members to research and evaluate the effects of a calendar change.
The committee will be investigating the possibilities until spring of 2004, when they will propose a plan to the faculty, who will then vote on the issue.
The “Calendar Task Force” is encouraging student participation in such forums as the one held last Thursday because they need student input to fill out their research and present an accurate representation of the student opinion on the matter.
Students will not be able to vote on this issue because there is no legislation allowing student opinion to count in such a situation. The only voice that students have on the issue is through the student representatives on the committee, who represent the student body and who will be allowed to vote.
The Town Meeting was poorly attended, with a total of 24 students and one faculty member present throughout the entire evening.
Issues discussed surrounding the topic included the reduction in the number and variety of classes a student would be able to take on a semester system, stress issues, the characteristics of a liberal arts education and whether that would be altered by a change in schedule, the transfer of credits to and from other institutions, and how a semester system would coordinate breaks.
Another concern raised by a student was that with an “11 percent reduction in courses, are we going to get an 11 percent reduction in tuition?”
Freiburger assured that “change will happen only if there is a great benefit.”
If the faculty does choose to change the academic calendar, it would not be put into effect until 2006-2007.
The committee is planning on holding more forums open to all students and faculty as well as taking several surveys through the web, the Alumni Organization, and the Lawrentian.