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


Resolution passed for reading days

SMU Student Senate passed a resolution during Tuesday’s meeting that asked the university to add two reading days to the spring 2011 semester and all future semesters.

Student Body President Jake Torres and Lyle Senator Joe Gaasbeck authored the legislation after noting that only one reading day is scheduled for the fall 2010 semester and none for the spring 2011 semester.

It was the first bill passed during the 2010-11 year.

“I think [the reading days legislation] sends a clear message from the students to the administration that we value those days and need them to achieve academic success,” Torres wrote in an email after the meeting. “I hope that we will be able to work with the academic calendar committee to honor the needs of the students and bring those back.”

Torres and Gaasbeck felt the lack of reading days would hurt students who need to study for finals.

“I think we’re disenfranchising students, especially those that are on the bubble and really, really need a good finals grade,” Torres said while introducing the bill during the Sept. 7 Student Senate meeting.

SMU Faculty Senate is in charge of the academic calendar. Torres is the student representative on the committee that works with the calendar.

He said he plans on speaking to them about the issue, although he is not sure whether next semester’s calendar can be changed.

This semester’s issues with the academic calendar are not a first for Student Senate. In 2007, Senate successfully lobbied to bring fall break back for the next academic year after it was taken out that year.

In February 2009, Senate passed a resolution encouraging Faculty Senate to put two reading days into each semester during the 2009-10 academic year.

That attempt was unsuccessful, leaving students with one reading day during the fall semester and no reading days during the spring semester.

For the recently-passed legislation, Torres and Gaasbeck accepted an amendment to include language in their bill that pointed to similar schools’ calendars.

The amendment was intended to bolster their argument for putting reading days back into the academic calendar.

Parliamentarian Joseph Esau told Senate before the official vote that he agreed with the legislation.

 “I think we need reading days back,” he said. “I fully, whole-heartedly support this piece, and I believe every other senator should too.”

Senate also passed a resolution authored by Torres that encouraged the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to let SMU students accompany recruiters when they visit Dallas ISD and other area schools.

Torres believes that SMU students will be able to connect with students in high school because they’ll be able to provide them with firsthand experience and unique perspectives on campus life.

“I strongly hope that the admissions office will allow the undergraduate to aid them in the recruitment process,” Torres wrote in an e-mail after the meeting. “I believe that we are a vital and untapped resource and that a partnership between current undergraduates and the admissions office will continue to improve the quality of students entering the university.”

Gaasbeck also has high hopes for the legislation.

“This is the first step towards getting our reading days back and having a final exams schedule similar to that of SMU’s peer universities,” he said.

“Hopefully, the Faculty Senate and the SMU Administration will be receptive to the students’ views, and they will work to reinstate our reading days back into the schedule for Spring 2011.”


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