The University announced classes will be held on reading days and a Saturday to compensate for the classes canceled during the historic snowfall in D.C. last week, but some students are calling the policy disastrous.
The regular academic calendar allows for one make-up day, but after four and a half days of classes were canceled last week, the University announced missed classes will also be made up on reading days April 29 and 30 and Saturday, May 1.
In protest, junior John D’Elia started a Facebook group called “Boycott disastrous GWU snow make-up schedule” last Thursday that, as of press time, had more than 1,000 members.
D’Elia did not return request from comment. Sophomore Paul Glicksman, a member of the group, said he does not think students will be prepared for finals with the revised class schedule.
“I think they should just move back final exams, to be honest,” he said. “I hope they just recognize that really nobody is very happy with their decision.”
Many students interviewed said they do not plan on attending classes during make-up days.
“I feel like no one is going to go to class on that Saturday anyway,” freshman Jillian Leviton said.
To fit the fourth day of make-up classes before exam week, May 1 had to become a class day, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said.
“I don’t have any alternatives unless we want to do make-up over spring break,” he said. “And I thought about it.”
Lehman said he discussed make-up days with his counterparts at both Georgetown and Catholic before announcing GW’s make-up policy. Georgetown decided to schedule a make-up day on President’s Day and for the Monday during spring break, but GW and Catholic both decided to wait until the end of term.
Lehman said the new make-up policy does not fix all problems. On Sunday, Jan 31, a pipe burst in 1957 E Street, causing a power outage that prevented the building from opening for classes the next morning. The University is still determining how to make up the classes lost that day.
When students first heard the make-up schedule, some reported concerns that tests, projects and finals would be packed back-to-back by professors. While University policy says professors cannot administer finals during the last week of class, the policy is often ignored.
“I really do wish that students would up rise over this issue, because this is very frustrating; it’s not supposed to happen, and when we set a University policy, we expect people to follow it,” Lehman said. “Our expectation of all faculty members is that they don’t give those final examinations the last week of classes because it’s not fair to the students.”
With the use of reading days for classes, students expressed concerns that they will not have sufficient time to prepare for final exams. Lehman, though, said students must deal with the rescheduled classes.
“Life isn’t simple, when you get out in the job market, there are going to be things that you do simultaneously and this is good practice, I guess,” Lehman said.
He added that classes do not take up the entire day and students should not be concerned if they keep up with the course work.
“I know that’s a big expectation. You know, I was a student once. I used to keep up.” Lehman said.
While forecasts predicted 3 inches of snow yesterday and more on Wednesday, Lehman said 3 inches will seem like nothing compared to 3 feet.
“It will take a lot for me to cancel school now.”
Lauren French contributed to this report.