Members of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the Association of Student Representatives and Trinity Debate are working on a proposal to create a block of time in the afternoon from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, during which most classes could not be scheduled. In the current proposal, there are exceptions for multi-section, graduate level and physical education classes as well as music ensembles.

“The goal is to allow students in organizations, not just student athletes, a common time to meet or practice. Additionally, it would be a good time for professors to engage in research,” said Sal Perdomo, president of SAAC. “This is coming from the student body, not just the athletes.”

Rubén R. Dupertuis, associate professor of religion, sees the value of such a time block, having taught at Centre College, which implemented a similar time block.

“You wouldn’t have conflicts with athletics or other activities. A space like this could open up all sorts of opportunities—that’s the greater value,” Dupertuis said.

Proposals for a common time block to be used by students and professors have been in the works for the past five years. In the past, the proposal did not gain much traction, but Perdomo says that progress is being made.

“I’ve gotten together with Dr. Tynes and some other student athletes. We’ve formulated a
a proposal, and we have gone through the process of talking to the professors and getting other organizations involved,” Perdomo said.

The proposal is moving forward to a meeting with select faculty on Nov. 2, after which a meeting with the general faculty will be held. However, some departments have problems with the current proposal.

“Some departments, especially the ones with three-hour seminars, don’t want to move their class times,” Perdomo said.

“All of the schools that have this…their students take fewer courses to graduate. Our students take more courses,” Dupertuis said. “We need more time slots to deliver the curriculum. That is an issue.”

Additionally, some members of the faculty feel that the proposal is being pushed through without enough discussion or analysis of the impact the proposed time block would have on students and faculty.

“Initially, my reaction was very positive. It would allow me to do interdisciplinary research and special studies with faculty and students,” said Eugenio D. Suarez, associate professor of business administration. “However, I feel that a change that affects the entire student body should be talked about together, not one group bringing a proposal and starting an unnecessary controversy.”

Dupertuis expanded on Eugenio’s concerns.

“It feels like it is being rushed a little bit…My concern is slowing it down and figuring out a way for it not to have a negative impact on the ability for some departments to deliver their major,” Dupertuis said.

The timing for the proposal might also be off, as the university is in the middle of discussing curriculum changes and some faculty think that the proposed time block should be brought into the curriculum discussion.

“It is a huge ongoing discussion that faculty are having,” Suarez said. “And this proposal is one of the many pieces of the huge pie that is the proposed changes to the curriculum.”

Since some faculty have problems with the proposal, SAAC, ASR and the debate team are working to garner discussion with the departments and tailor the proposal to their needs.

“The new proposal will be very similar to what it is now, but there may be more exceptions,” Perdomo said. “We’re trying to match the needs of the faculty with the needs of the students.”