Faculty Vote for Early Final Sign-In

Final sign-in times for the 2018-2019 academic year have been moved to 9:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday. Furthermore, a Student Council and Policy Committee proposal for individual dorm room study visits will not be implemented.

Rajesh Mundra, Assistant Dean of Students and Residential Life, announced this news to the student body via email on Thursday, May 24.

Currently, final sign-in times are 10:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday. This change, therefore, will require students to sign in 30 minutes earlier than usual on weeknights.

Harrison Wilson ’20 says he believes that the new sign-in times will reduce students’ ability to work collaboratively.

“Under their new policy, I think there would be a huge decrease in students’ ability to collaborate. They emphasize in the email how it’s going to improve house counselor-student relations, but I think there’s other places that those relationships can be fostered without taking away time from that sign-in block,” said Wilson.

Wilson continued, “It’s just going to be really hard to find time to meet with people and do things and school-related work. You just have to adjust to get back to your dorm that much earlier.”

Mundra wrote in the email that a new sign-in schedule is meant to improve relationships between students and House Counselors, increase time for dorm meetings and support healthier habits.

Quinn Robinson ’19 disagreed that earlier sign-in times would be able to achieve these goals, stating that there are other ways to promote flexibility around dorm meetings. Robinson suggested that faculty establish their own dorm meeting times instead of implementing “a blanket decrease in study hour time.”

“If you think students are going to spend that time in the dorm with faculty as opposed to with their friends cordoned off in their own rooms, you’re simply mistaken,” wrote Robinson in an email to The Phillipian.

The new sign-in policy results from a faculty vote that was held earlier this week. Eighty-nine percent of faculty voted in favor of 9:30 p.m. sign-in times on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and 60 percent voted in favor of 8:00 p.m. sign-in on Sunday. Seventy-seven percent of faculty voted against the proposal for study room visits, according to Mundra.

The proposals for modified sign-in times and study room visits were both presented to the faculty during faculty meetings in April, according Mundra. On Monday, May 21, faculty met for a final discussion before voting on an electronic ballot.

Leading up to the faculty vote, the Deans had hosted open forums for students to share their thoughts on several policy changes, including the proposals for changed sign-in times and the implementation of study visits.

Chi Igbokwe ’21 said, “I think it’s really interesting that they had all these meetings, talks in the Freeman Room, concerning these things, but in the end, they voted for something that just did not reflect what the students wanted.”

Angelreana Choi ’19 also expressed disappointment that these forums had not impacted policy changes in a way she and other students hoped.

Choi wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I attended the ‘Call to Conversation’ meeting last month regarding this policy, and I felt like the general consensus among the student was that they were not in favor of this change. This goes to show that no matter what students say or suggest, faculty will go ahead and pass pilots and policies that we are not in favor of.”

When regarding the study visit proposal, Mundra wrote that faculty did not feel it was an ideal way to pursue an inclusive room visiting policy and improve gender dynamics across all genders and social spaces.

“While there was wide support from the faculty to address the goals of the student proposal, the majority of faculty did not feel that individual dorm rooms during study hours were the appropriate place or time to pursue these goals,” wrote Mundra in the announcement email sent to students.

Mundra stated that the faculty are nonetheless supportive of continuing dialogue with students. In addition, Mundra said that there is widespread support among House Counselors for opening dorm common rooms as all-gender study spaces next year.

Mundra wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “The [Dean of Students] office will encourage dorm teams to consider opening all gender common rooms during study hours next year. It will be an option for dorms and we are eager to see how it would work for everyone.”

Nora Jasaitis ’20 expressed frustration that the study visits proposal was rejected, because she believes that it would not be a big change, but would still positively impact students’ experiences.

Jasaitis said, “The change was only really proposed for Seniors… it was just going to be one year of people [in] their last year here getting to have a study space with other people in their rooms. It wasn’t changing the whole parietal policy, it wasn’t going to ruin the entire school’s reputation by letting people study in rooms with other students, and we don’t have that study space of the library now. So it was just kind of like, ‘Why is the administration doing this?’”

Jasaitis pointed out that faculty are not affected by students visiting each others’ rooms, and says she believes that there was not enough student input regarding this student-based issue.

“If someone doesn’t want someone in their room, they can just say ‘I don’t want you to come to my room,’… faculty aren’t really affected by who visits whoever else’s room, so the student voice isn’t heard at all on this issue, which makes me kind of mad,” said Jasaitis.

Other students expressed disappointment about the change in sign-in times.

“I disagree with the change because it takes away from our personal time against our will. Having earlier sign-in times, especially on Sundays where we have work for all classes, will make it a lot more difficult to study,” said Matteo Whelton ’20.

Igbokwe said, “I think that having all these meetings in the library and making it seem like students should get involved and their voices actually heard is really just kind of a slap in the face if they’re not going to take into consideration what the students are thinking, which is what they clearly did when they voted for these new policies.”

Colin McNamara-Bordewick ’21 said that if teachers hoped the changes would help students get more work done and get to sleep earlier, making sign-in times earlier will be counterproductive and ineffective.

McNamara-Bordewick said, “Making sign-in earlier is not going to work, because no one does work in their dorms and they’re unproductive there. Everyone does work in the library….I think it’ll do the opposite of what [the Deans] want… I think that maybe [student voices] were consulted, but they were ignored.”

As a day student, Amelia Cheng ’21 says she believes that the earlier sign-in times will impact her experience greatly.

“A lot of times, day students find it difficult to go to dorms in the first place, because you can’t really invite yourself to a dorm, someone has to ask you to come, and so it’s a bit difficult if we don’t have a study space like the library. And also, the fact that we have to leave 30 minutes earlier, a lot of day students can’t do that because their parents have to pick them up at certain times. So just having 30 minutes less time to be on campus is very impractical for, I think,  everyone involved,” said Cheng.

Cheng also said that meetings discussing the changes were hard for students with musical commitments, like her, to attend. She felt that not being at the meetings meant that she did not have a voice in the process.

“The meetings that discussed all these topics that students were allowed to go to…were… held at a really awkward time for a good portion of the school because they were during the music protected times, so I know I couldn’t go and a bunch of other students couldn’t go because they had to go to orchestra or band or chorus, so honestly I didn’t feel involved at all in this process. I know a ton of other people didn’t. I don’t think students really had a voice in this,” said Cheng.

Molly MacQueen ’21 anticipates that students will change how they manage their time to accommodate the earlier sign-in times.

“I think that it’s going to be very different and it’s going to change, for a lot of people, the way that they structure their study time and personally, I’m not sure how it will work for me and how I’ll have to change my study schedule,” said MacQueen.

Although she is a Senior, Sydney Olney ’18 expressed concern over how the new schedule will affect younger students next year.

Olney wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Coming in as a blundering new Lower, I needed all of the time I could get to help me adjust. An extra 15 minutes with my peer tutor the night before a chemistry test could mean the difference between a 3 and a 4.

Olney continued, “Although I am graduating in just over a week, I cannot help but feel intense disappointment for my younger peers over the new sign-in policy. I know that Lower year me would have been worse off without that last minute meeting with her peer tutor, or an extra 15 minutes to talk to her math teacher.”