The Student Senate and Academic Policies Committee of the Faculty Senate are discussing the add/drop date. In fall 2011, the date was pushed forward, giving students only one week to finalize their class schedule.

In March 2010, the Faculty Senate decided to push up the add/drop deadline.

This was done despite a letter of opposition from Devraj Dasgupta, former Student Government president.

The add/drop date was pushed up for two primary reasons said Janette Muir, associate provost of undergraduate education and former chair of the Academic Policies Committee.

First, professors complained that two weeks was too long an interval for students to be absent from a classroom Muir said.

“They’ve missed quizzes, they’ve missed homework. They’re not in the same position to succeed as a student that [has] been in the classroom [from the start],” Muir said.

The second issue concerns financial aid. If the add period is extended, students must wait longer to get money from [federal] financial aid, Muir said.

This is because the money cannot be granted until the add/drop date has passed, said Muir.

For example, a student that has completed his FAFSA application must still wait for the date to pass. While that student is waiting, other students from other universities are already receiving federal funds.

Dasgupta addressed both issues in his letter to the Faculty Senate.

“Our leadership disagrees with the assessment in that students cannot succeed or excel in the same way as if they start a class two weeks into the semester. As it is the first two weeks of any class are introductory and more often than not review for the student. Students have long complained about financial aid and the duration it takes to receive money so why not focus our efforts on the financial aid office and the processes instead of manipulating an entire system at the student’s cost,” Dasgupta said in his letter.

The Student Senate brought the issue of the add/drop date to the forefront this semester due to a large number of protests from George Mason University students said Matthew Short, chairman of the Government & Academic Affairs committee of the Student Senate.

“We started receiving emails last semester, particularly from performing arts majors,” said Leslie Cook, secretary of the Government & Academic Affairs committee. “They have auditions the first week of classes, and apparently they don’t receive their results [from their auditions] until the end of the first week [or] the beginning of the second week. [This] left them one day to put together a schedule and add classes.”


Members of the SG and Academic Affairs Committee also argued that one week is not long enough for a student to get acclimated to a class and decide if it is a good fit.

“If you have a once-a-week class, that’s probably the only time you’ll get anything in the first week,” Short said. “Most of the time, the first class is not really the class. That means if it’s a twice a week class, you only get one class. Then you have to judge [if you like the class] off of that.”

Short also said that he was not made aware of the add/drop deadline being pushed up before the fall semester arrived. Cook said that she was not made aware until late August.

“Students would have had to actively seek the academic calendar before the start of the fall semester, on their own whim, to know of the change,” Cook said. “I don’t remember seeing any departmental announcements going out on listservs. I don’t remember seeing anything on the usual outlets on campus.”

At the Faculty Senate meeting on Wednesday, the add/drop deadline was discussed by Suzanne Scott, the current chair of the Academic Policies Committee. As of the time of this publication, Scott has not responded to an email sent by Broadside.

Scott presented Resolution 5 which stated that there were three reasons for the Faculty Senate pushing up the add/drop date. The resolution was passed by the Student Senate.

According to Resolution 5, “If there are two weeks to add classes, then the first week students might not show up. The teachers cannot begin grading the class until after two weeks, as opposed to one week, condensing the semester from fourteen weeks to twelve weeks in reality. If not enough students are signed up for the class, a class isn’t ‘made.’ Requiring students to add within one week, as opposed to two weeks, removes the threat that a teacher may lose a class.”

These reasons were immediately rebuked by members of the Faculty Senate.

“[The Student Senate doesn’t] have any of them right,” said Star Muir, a member of the Faculty Senate, at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting. “None of those three reasons were reasons that we adopted that resolution [to push up the add/drop date]. I would advise the [Student Senate] to go back to why we actually did the [Faculty Senate] resolution.”

The goal of the current Student Senate resolution is to open dialogue, Short said.

The Academic Policies Committee will meet over spring break to discuss possibly extending the add/drop date.