Students at forum respond to term changes

More than 50 students attended the Mercyhurst Student Government (MSG) Forum to discuss campus issues, particularly possible changes to the academic calendar.

The MSG Forum took place Tuesday, Oct. 18, in the Herrmann Student Union Great Room.

MSG offered picture frames as incentives, as well as five VIP passes given at random for The Buried Life. Mocktails were also provided to support Alcohol Awareness Week.

Jill Barrile photo: More than 50 students gathered at the MSG Forum to express concerns about and listen to the proposed calendar changes for the 2013-14 school year.Jill Barrile photo: More than 50 students gathered at the MSG Forum to express concerns about and listen to the proposed calendar changes for the 2013-14 school year.

President of Faculty Senate Michael Federici, Ph.D.; Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrea Barnett; Vice President of Faculty Senate Robert Von Thaden, Ph.D.; and Vice President of Student Life Gerry Tobin, Ph.D.; were present at the forum to listen to students’ concerns.

Federici addressed questions that were raised in regards to the uproar about the academic calendar. One of the possibilities is a 4-1-4 academic schedule, which includes two 13 week terms and one 3 1/2 week term. He addressed the response about the issue that has been expressed predominantly on Facebook, explaining that much of the information is misguided and misinformed.

“When I heard of this issue, I was extremely angry over changing the trimesters,” junior Aldyn Stewart said. “After hearing some of the opinions I am relieved and glad the faculty is taking our concerns seriously.”

Freshman Leah Voit was also pleased about what was discussed at the forum.

“There is no perfect solution, but I feel like both options have their benefits and I like the idea of a 3 1/2 week J-term,” she said.

Even though the open conversation at the forum eased students’ concern, some are still a bit skeptical.

Junior Andrew Miller said, “I’m very curious to see if there are other proposals besides 4-1-4 or something else that looks like our trimester system.”

“I think the J-term is good in theory,” sophomore Mark Ennis added, “but it leaves a lot of question about classes that have already been taken and planning ahead for major classes.”

The MSG senators and officers in attendance were pleased with the outcome of the forum.

“I feel like the forum is an awesome opportunity for students to come voice their opinions,” senior senator Meghan Nye said. “We had a great turn out today. We had administration here who really care about how the students feel.”

“This is the most students I’ve seen at an MSG forum in the past four years,” said MSG President Meghan Hess. “It says a lot about administration that they came out to hear students voice their opinions.”

Hess also explained how she is impressed with the student response and attendance at the forum.

At the end of the forum Federici explained that he is proactively seeking answers to any student question that he does not know the answer to.

He welcomes any suggestions or concerns students may have about the issue.

Students can email Federici or Von Thaden with these suggestions and concerns.