By Laura Butler
The dead week policy currently states, “No major examinations or assignments shall be given during the week preceding final examinations. Exceptions must be approved by the department chair and be shown in the course syllabus.” However, numerous students have expressed their displeasure with the current policy, prompting members of the Student Senate to draft a piece of legislation that will revisit the specifications defining dead week. While the legislation is not in its finalized form, it will propose that any assignment completed or submitted during dead week cannot be worth more than 10 percent of a student’s grade, said Lindsey Cross, Student Body Executive Vice President. However, labs and practicum courses would be exempt from the policy due to scheduling conflicts during finals week. The legislation, once approved by the Student Senate, will then move to the Faculty Senate for consideration and must pass with a majority vote. If the proposal passes though both Senates, the Provost Council must then provide the final “yes” in order for the policy to be amended.
Cross and Sara Spurr senator and member of the academic affairs committee, have been working on the new draft of the dead week policy for months now. Spurr said clarification is the main reason the policy is being revised.
“As of now, the dead week policy is all of two sentences, which haven’t been revised since they were originally drafted in the 70s,” Spurr said. “It’s also difficult to locate since it’s only written in the faculty handbook. You really have to search to find out exactly what it says.”
“The current guidelines are very vague,” Cross said. “The words ‘no major assignment’ don’t indicate whether that assignment is only limited to tests, projects, or presentations. However, the legislation we’re developing will set definite guidelines for this policy.”
Cross also said the legislation will establish an appeals process should a student feel the policy is violated in any of their classes, which will send a complaint through several levels of departmental authority until the problem is resolved.
Spurr said she feels creating a more closely defined policy for dead week will increase the responsibility of the student. “Students should be responsible for their work and assignments throughout the semester and should be able to focus on their finals during dead week.”
Martina Grider, a senior psychology major, said she doesn’t see the point of dead week.
“I’m just as stressed out during dead week as any other week of the year,” she said. “They either need to get rid of all assignments during this week or quit calling it dead week.”
The legislation will be presented to the Student Senate at the next meeting and will then travel to the Faculty Senate once approved. “We’ve met with members of the Faculty Senate and both the Student Senate and Faculty Senate have collaborated to come up with this proposal, so I think the collaboration makes this a well-rounded policy,” Cross said. “We’ve also been researching other schools’ dead weeks as well, so it’s not something we’ve rushed into hastily.