Last week we learned that due to concerns over conflicts between the new longer class times and practice schedules, winter term athletes, regardless of class standing, were allowed to register at the same time as seniors, while spring term athletes will receive the same benefit later this year.
Mercyhurst Dean of Faculty Brian Reed, Ph.D., explained that the change was made to ease any problems that athletes might face with the new schedule. Later class times in the afternoon come in conflict with team practices and game travel times.
While all this is undoubtedly true, there remains the question of whether this is fair to other students. This editorial is not written as an attack on student athletes; however, those athletes are not the only students who may be faced with serious scheduling conflicts.
I have a friend here who is a single parent, raising his son. Not only does he need to make sure that he gets the classes required to fulfill his degree but that his class schedule does not conflict with the responsibilities of raising his child.
The fact that raising a child is a more important endeavor than participating in an organized sport is a hypothesis I doubt many people would care to challenge; yet, to the best of my knowledge, he does not receive any special dispensation regarding his scheduling times. It also seems doubtful that this individual is the only Mercyhurst student who is both attending this institution and raising a child.
Nor is that the only scenario in which students may be faced with serious difficulties in scheduling. There are other students who have no option but to work either part or even full-time while pursuing their degree.
Many of us who have dual majors, or a major and multiple minors, are often faced with having multiple required classes all scheduled for the same time period, leaving us attempting to figure out what class we must absolutely register for and what class or classes can be taken during a future term.
Again, neither of these two groups of students receive any additional advantage in registration.
The conventional system, in which those who are closest to graduation register first, is, within reason, fair. Seniors have fewer future terms in which to register for those last few classes they need to fulfill their degree requirements than does a junior, who in turn has fewer terms left than a sophomore or freshman.
Reed did not believe that this change in procedure would have a significant impact on registration and, anecdotally, this does seem to be the case. I also have no doubt that most professors would sign into their class a junior or senior who might not have another opportunity to take a particular needed course.
That having been said, there still remains the question of whether, given that there are other conditions that would benefit from this advantage, this alteration is fair to the student body as a whole.