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Common Hour gets heat from the SGA

Photo By: Mohammed Ali

1-15-2019

Alex Bell, News Editor

During their final meetings of the fall semester, the Student Government Association (SGA) detailed their plan to reject the wishes of University Park regarding instituting Common Hour at Behrend. Members of the SGA and a portion of the student body found this to be unsuited for Behrend. As such, the SGA recently created a petition to showcase the student opposition to Common Hour, as well as passing legislation to directly oppose administration who want to implement the program.

Common Hour is a time slot during the middle of the day where no classes would be scheduled for students. This slot would allow members of clubs and organizations to meet without being interrupted by class, as well as giving students more time to meet with one another socially. It is also meant to make professors’ office hours more accessible to all students. University Park is attempting to create a Common Hour at Behrend through the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments and the University Faculty Senate.

However, Behrend’s specific setup is somewhat different than other satellite campuses that have successfully implemented Common Hour. SGA president John Jarecki says that Common Hour would not be successful for a number of reasons. Behrend, well known for its STEM programs, has a significant number of lab-based classes which often force students’ schedules to continue into the night. Common Hour, which would force all classes to be rearranged to account for an empty hour in the middle of the day, would push some of these labs even further into the night. Jarecki says that this would be, “unacceptable,” as some students would be in the middle of their classes as late as 10 p.m. He also responded to the claim that Common Hour would create a time for clubs and organizations to meet, by explaining it would actually be harder for a majority of students to find time with their extra-curricular groups.

Clubs would, in theory, use Common Hour to meet with their members. However, Jarecki focuses on the students involved in more than one club who would then be forced to abandon all clubs for just one, as all clubs would attempt to meet at the same time.

Jarecki met with Pam Silver, Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, to express his discontent with Common Hour. Claiming that he shocked some of the administration with his move to oppose the program, Jarecki produced the nearly 200 signatures of students who do not want Common Hour at Behrend. The future of Common Hour at Behrend is undetermined, however, it is clear that there is ample opposition to the move and that the SGA will continue to fight it.