The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Senate responds to task force recommendations

With only 16 days left in the semester to submit legislation to the administration, senators spent Tuesday’s meeting fine tuning three resolutions they hope to be completed in time for a vote next week.

Two resolutions directly relate to recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention: encouraging the administration to reconsider mandating Friday classes and recommending that the administration adopt a drop policy that allows a minimum of six classes to be dropped.

A third proposal encourages the administration to urge University Park to install a light-up crosswalk in place of painted crosswalks near sorority row at the intersection of Daniel Avenue and Airline Road.

Should students be required to schedule Friday classes?

The task force report recommends that “every college and school hold a significant number of classes on Friday mornings” because the implementation of a five-day schedule would encourage academic rigor throughout the entire week.

The senate proposal mentions that many students who do not schedule classes on Friday do so to have the opportunity to work a full day either on school projects, with an internship or a paid job for career or financial purposes.

It also notes that “just because students do not have a Friday class scheduled does not mean that they are not getting school work done, because when students have a Monday-Wednesday class they are given more work over the weekend because they have more time to complete the assignment.”

Authors of the resolution observed that some departments on campus, including the Cox School of Business and the Meadows School of the Arts, have opportunities for schedules without Friday classes but also offer classes on Friday for students who wish to schedule classes on that day.

Although the choice for students to go out on Thursday nights “is one made regardless of whether or not they have a Friday class,” according to the proposed legislation, senators want the choice of scheduling Friday classes to be left up to the students who are, ultimately, “accountable for their own actions.”

Should the university limit the number of drops allowed to students?

Recommendations of the task force report also include implementing a limit on the number of classes a student may drop while at SMU. The university currently does not limit the number of classes students may drop during their time on the Hilltop.

The second senate resolution discussed on Tuesday stresses that a strict limit on the number of classes a student can drop would be unfair to the student because “there are often rational reasons for a student to drop a large amount of classes, such as a change of majors or family emergency.”

The accommodation of these special circumstances is acknowledged by the task force report’s recommendations, which reason that because of the lack of a limit on class drops, “students frequently finish a semester taking fewer than 15 hours,” and that “[t]oo liberal a drop policy can discourage students from making academics their first priority.”

The senators’ proposal recognizes that “the circumstances requiring students to drop classes differ substantially from student to student and may not always be ‘special’ circumstances.”

Senators are hopeful that their reworked resolution will preclude the administration from adopting any new drop policy that prevents students from dropping at least six classes during their SMU career, except under special circumstances allowing for more drops.

Is additional light-up crosswalk needed for high-traffic pedestrian crossing?

Many students have either used or observed two light-up crosswalks on campus: one on Daniel Avenue near the law parking garage and another near the Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports. Senators propose employing light-up crosswalk technology to a third high-traffic crosswalk near sorority row, where accidents have occurred in the past.

In 2001, two SMU sophomores were struck by a vehicle which then fled the scene. Although both women survived the accident, one was thrown more than 80 feet after impact, suffering a broken pelvis and head injuries.

Although today there are “pedestrian crossing” signs with flashing lights on both sides of the location in question – which were not present at the time of previous accidents – the lights of those signs “do not indicate when someone is actually crossing because they flash regardless of whether or not a pedestrian is crossing the street,” the proposal states.

Senators are hopeful that upon receiving its proposal as early as next week, the administration will take the necessary steps to urge University Park officials to install a light-up crosswalk to make it safer to cross the street, especially during the hours of dawn and dusk and when traffic is heavy.

Voting on all three resolutions is expected to take place next week. Students are encouraged to contact their senators with comments or concerns.

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