Excerpt from February 25, 2000 University Senate Minutes


Academic Calendar and Commencement Committee, Senator Gary Roth, Chair: Senator Roth summarized his committee’s proposed University Academic Calendar for academic years 2003-04 through 2014-15, and the guidelines the committee followed in formulating it. [Copies of the calendar and guidelines had been distributed to the Senate, and posted on the Senate website.] He said the calendar is put forth as a default calendar which will allow the University to have a long-range calendar on the books for planning purposes. He noted that, although it is impossible to put together an "ideal" calendar under the constraints which must be considered, this calendar represents an attempt at the best compromise. He noted that some semesters do not include two reading days, some years are not well coordinated with UMDNJ and/or NJIT, that some fall semesters begin on August 31, and that some semesters include Sunday exams. He added that the August start dates would require discussion with the administration and various faculty and staff unions, and that the entire calendar and its provisions are subject to review and revision at any time.

Comments and questions included: the importance of two reading days each semester, the significance of approving a long-term calendar subject to revision, potential conflicts with union contracts, difficulties with August start dates relative to students’ summer employment, the importance of limiting Senior Week to no more than eight days, the effects on lab-course schedules in 12- or 14-week semesters, and feasibility of Sunday exams.

A motion to remand the calendar back to committee until the correct version of the calendar could be fully considered and discussed in caucuses, and to announce the time and place of the Academic Calendar and Commencement Committee meeting to allow students to attend, was defeated by a vote of 27 in favor, 50 opposed, with 4 abstentions.

Several Senators spoke in favor of the calendar. Asked about the potential for large numbers of students declaring conflicts with Sunday exams, Senator Roth responded that he had been told by the Scheduling Office that a Sunday exam schedule affecting the fewest number of students could be arranged, and if there are too many Sunday conflicts, that provision of the calendar would have to be rethought. Other comments and questions included: lack of time for student Senators to discuss this version of the calendar with their constituents, the extent of consultation with NJIT and UMDNJ in formulating it, and the need for a statewide academic calendar.

Senator Crew called the question. The calendar was approved by a vote of 67 in favor, 3 opposed, with 14 abstentions.

From the February 2000 Academic Calendar and Commencement Committee Report to the Senate ("Guidelines for Academic Calendar"):

"Because the Spring schedule allows only 5 weekdays for exams (rather than 6, as in the Fall), some exams will be scheduled for the Sunday of exam week. The Scheduling Office will schedule the least populated class periods for these exams."