By Farris Willingham, Editor-in-Chief
Student Senate tabled legislation indefinitely Feb. 28 that would have begun to create a formal Dead Week for the 2012-13 academic year.
Sen. Kaserman (business) said senators tabled Senate Resolution 009 because a Dead Week could not be established until Spring 2013.
“It wouldn’t help to pass it this semester, since the academic calendar is already set for Fall 2012,” she said.
Senators recommended in the resolution that no new material is introduced, no new tests or quizzes be scheduled and no papers are due during the week before final exams so students may focus on studying.
Certain conditions have created a poor study environment for students, said Nic Evans, political science junior and secretary of external relations.
“Over the past few years at OCU, rehearsals and deadlines have been pushed back until the final week of classes,” he said. “This does not allow students to be able to reflect upon the time they have spent in the classroom.”
Dancers were obligated in December to practice for Home for the Holidays, the dance school’s winter show, and prepare for final exams.
Mary Bro, dance pedagogy freshman, said it was stressful for her to manage everything.
“During the week, we would have our normal class periods, and then go to rehearsal at 6 p.m.,” she said. “We often wouldn’t leave until after midnight.”
The weekend rehearsals extended from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Bro said.
“I wasn’t sure how to properly prepare for tests,” she said. “It was difficult figuring out how much I needed to study.
“If teachers weren’t assigning a bunch of stuff, we would have time to study for finals.”
If the resolution had passed in Senate, it would have required the approval of Emma Velez, president of Student Government Association, before administrators could endorse it, Sec. Evans said.
If Velez approved the resolution, it would move to Acting Provost Susan Barber’s desk, where she could reformat the resolution.
“Specific finals week conditions will be at the discretion of the provost,” the resolution read.
Other universities have enacted their own version of a Dead Week.
Administrators at North Carolina State University in Raleigh reserve the last week of classes for students to complete final projects and prepare for final examinations.
“Faculty should not assign any papers or projects during the last week of classes unless the assignment is listed in the course syllabus,” read NCSU’s website.
The University of Tulsa in Tulsa and University of Arkansas in Fayetteville have designated “dead days” prior to the week of final exams, where attending classes is optional.
Sen. Jonathan Clour (religion) said senators tabled a third revised draft of the resolution.
President Velez vetoed the first resolution in January due to concerns with its recommendations.
The student services committee tabled the bill during the Feb. 21 Senate meeting because of grammatical errors, Clour said.
“Each senator that had a concern voiced it, and then we revised the bill accordingly,” he said.
Officials need to be mindful of the burden that students carry into the week of finals, Clour said.
“We felt the need to send a message to the student body and administrators that we should look at a new approach to the week before finals,” he said.
Establishing a Dead Week wouldn’t devalue students’ education, since professors would reconfigure their curriculum, Clour said.
“We’re saying that they need to alter their schedule and accommodate for the students’ needs,” he said.
Dr. Tom Brown, acting associate provost, said he experienced Dead Week as a college student.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “I would want to talk to a lot of people before I made a decision though.”
The university used to have “Dead Day,” a sanctioned day off.
Classes were canceled the Friday before finals so students could study for exams, according to Student Publications’ archives. Administrators cancelled the class-free day to meet state accreditation standards.