Expressing its concern about the "erosion of the academic calendars," the Faculty Senate Executive Committee yesterday unanimously called on the administration to examine the effect of secular and religious holidays on classes. Faculty Senate Chairperson Almarin Phillips said last night after SEC's monthly meeting that the faculty are concerned that "two days off here, two days off there [for] students wanting to go skiing" were cutting into time allocated for teaching. He did not say if any specific breaks or holidays are considered primary targets of the study. SEC also charged its own Committee on the Faculty to study the issue and report back to the full body within a year. Phillips said the resolution came from a suggestion by Provost Michael Aiken, who attended yesterday's SEC meeting. Phillips said it is not unusual for the provost to bring up an issue for SEC to act upon. Wharton junior David Kaufman, treasurer of the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, said his organzation would be interested in looking into the subject. But he emphasized that most vacations during the school year are necessary. "Students do need time to take it easy and get a break from classes," Kaufman said. He noted that SCUE got the administration to institute Fall Break years ago after numerous students complained about the lack of a vacation period until Thanksgiving. In other SEC business yesterday, Provost Aiken, at the invitation of SEC, held discussions with the committee about various campus issues. Phillips said faculty members talked to the provost about long-range academic planning, campus facilities, the faculty salary policy and administrative mechanisms to keep professors informed of University policy decisions. Phillips called the talks "very informal," adding that SEC has also invited President Sheldon Hackney to attend meetings to hold similar discussions. At last month's SEC meeting, Phillips announced that he may step down from the committee examining the diversification of Locust Walk because of Hackney's charge to the committee. The charge prevents the committee from discussing removing fraternities from the Walk. Phillips said last night that he has made no further decisions concerning whether he will resign from the committee, but added that he still feels "discomfort" serving on a committee with such a narrow charge.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.