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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Faculty Senate Votes in Favor of Dead Period Policy

Having a dead period before finals is one step closer to becoming a campus policy after last night’s faculty senate meeting.

One point of the dead period policy asks instructors to not give tests that make up more than 10 percent of a student’s final grade on the Wednesday through Friday the week before final exams. The vote passed 22 to 12, and the policy will move into the council of academic administrators.

Public Policy Leadership major Cortez Moss pleas his stand for a dead period before final exams before the Faculty Senate.

“Trying to take four to five exams in five days is essentially placing an incredible burden on students,” Robert Albritton, president of the faculty senate, said. “Thinking back to my undergrad days in the dark ages, we had two weeks of exams. It blows my mind to think that they do it in one week.”

Senate member Jason Solinger said one of the cynical concerns brought up during English department debates was that this is just giving students an excuse to party.

Senate member Les Field said that the policy would be stronger if it were accompanied by a study that showcased that a dead period would increase student achievement on the final exams.

Associated Student Body president Virginia Burke, who was on the committee that drafted this policy, said she did not think this would be a concern.

“I think the majority of the students will use this for the purpose it is designed for,” Burke said. “I think it will be a great thing for the student body as a whole.”

One amendment, which was voted down with only four votes in its favor, would have changed the language to demand that instructors not give big tests on the three days before exams.

ASB director of academic affairs Cortez Moss said he would have been in favor of this change, but did not anticipate it would pass. Burke said it is a good beginning to have something regarding the dead period moving forward, and that it can always be updated in the future.

Moss said he was happy to see the policy pass through faculty senate.

“It has a long way to go before it is made university policy,” Moss said. “But I think having the faculty senate stamp of approval will go a long way toward pushing it through.”

If the proposal makes it through the council of academic administrators, it will go to the desk of Chancellor Dan Jones and he could sign it off as university policy.

Another concern brought up by the faculty was point number five in the proposal, which asks professors to make every effort to grade and return all assignments to students before the last day of the week preceding examinations.

Public policy leadership professor and senate member Melissa Bass said the language of point number five has built-in exceptions.

“In some instances, like the department of education’s field projects, we recognize that this may not be possible,” Bass said. “But there are professors who get assignments before Thanksgiving and students never get anything back.”

In other news, the faculty senate approved an attendance policy 18-16, which will continue to the academic council.

The policy primarily aims to make it easier on student-athletes to make up work they miss due to sanctioned university events, such as attending games.

The policy would also include university sanctioned absences by theater students, ROTC students and students attending field trips.

Moss said this would be a solid policy because some student-athletes have to choose between their majors and playing sports.

“Athletes should not have to change their chosen major to continue playing sports,” Moss said. “I think we need this change.”

from the Daily Mississippian by Cain Madden