Academic Senate in Session
SF State Academic Senate Holds First Fall Meeting
September 16, 2004 4:00 PM
Last Tuesday, during the first fall semester meeting of SF State’s Academic Senate, senators received a report on a voter registration event program that could include campus visits from SF Mayor Gavin Newsom and Adonal Foyle, a player for the Golden State Warriors.
Later in the meeting, the Senate also approved a controversial proposal for the 2005 summer academic schedule and authorized several changes in SF State’s Women’s Studies Program.
Chris Treadway, SF State’s Director of Government and Community Relations, told senators that her office is working with the San Francisco Urban Institute to organize the mayor’s visit in addition to several other voter registration events.
In February, Mayor Newsom made headlines across the nation when San Francisco City Hall issued nearly 4,000 marriage licenses to gay men and women. Although Treadway couldn’t provide a date for Newsom’s visit, she expressed hope that it would occur before the Nov. 2 presidential election.
“We’re working with the mayor’s office on some kind voter education, ‘get out the vote’ press event being held here on campus sometime, hopefully, right before the election,” Treadway said. “We’re also having a voter rally.”
Associated Students President David Abella confirmed his support for the upcoming voter registration events.
“Associated Students again this year will be involved in voter registration, as we were last year,” he said. In addition, Abella said that Associated Students would mainly target students living on campus, with a goal of signing up 3,500 new voters.
Even after some senators expressed concern at the hectic pace of SF State’s five-week terms, the Senate unanimously approved a proposed schedule for next year’s summer semester.
While senators admit that SF State President Robert Corrigan retains the final say in any changes approved by the Academic Senate, they acknowledge that Corrigan usually accepts Senate recommendations.
Under the 2004 summer schedule, classes started on a Wednesday, giving students five weekends interspaced between the 25 or 26 days of instruction in the term. Next year, summer classes will begin on a Monday instead. Deborah Gerson, a social sciences lecturer, said the proposed five week terms might rob students of an extra weekend in which to study.
“We’re confining it to four weekends, which increases the stress,” she said. “[This summer] I did it because I needed the money, and students took it because they needed the units. I would say, honestly, everybody was shortchanged and very, very stressed.”
Associate Humanities Professor Saul Steier disagreed and suggested that some students like the five-week courses.
“There are some courses that I teach that can be done very successfully in five weeks,” Steier said. “Some students are willing to put in 54 hours per week if they know they only have to do it for five weeks.”
Also during the meeting, senators approved a set of changes to core class requirements for SF State’s undergraduate Women’s Studies Program. Moallen said that the number of required core classes in both the major and the minor would drop from 18 to 12 units, allowing more student choice in electives.
“We’re not changing our major or our minor or eliminating any courses,” said Moallen. “Our proposed changes reflect three decades of scholarship [in the field]. The changes will create more academic coherence, continuity and consistency.”
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