In the final week of classes, students are eager to turn in final papers, place finished final exams in the hands of professors and go home for a month, not letting the upcoming Spring semester even cross their minds. Due dates that seemed so far away on the syllabus back in September are now quickly closing in.
’Tis the season when the library fills with prudent students and procrastinators alike. The last thing anyone needs right now are last minute administrative changes, or, even worse, last minute administrative changes without timely notification to the student body.
In recent weeks, two such instances have occurred at Mary Washington.
As some may have heard, school officials recently increased next semester’s tuition rate by $100. No notification by e-mail or any other method of communication from the administration was sent to students to inform them of this.
Also, an alteration to next week’s exam schedule forced students with a Thursday night exam to have to take that exam on Tuesday. After an administrator decided that this sudden change would not allow the students enough time to prepare for an earlier exam date, they are reconsidering the change. Still, students received no notification about any of these alterations.
To be completely fair, a tuition rate increase of $100 will probably not break the banks for anyone, so the university does deserve credit for keeping this increase low. However, it’s the principle of the matter that makes it disturbing. Any increase in how much it costs to attend the university, whether its $1, $100 or $1,000, deserves to be appropriately announced to those who have to pay for it. It would be as easy as creating a campus-wide e-mail as soon as the decision was made.
It’s the same with the last-minute exam schedule change. Students, faculty and staff need to know these things as soon as they occur, even if the final decision is up in the air. Don’t avoid announcing something that will affect most of the campus just because it might change again. That’s what e-mail updates are for. There’s no need to stress the importance of final exams and a reliable schedule in an institution of higher learning. The importance is obvious. Communication is key.
The bottom line is that, whether it’s for finances or final exams, students need ample time to prepare. Unexpected, poorly announced last-minute changes do not allow for that essential preparation.
Everyone has enough unexpected dilemmas in their lives. Why create more that could be so easily avoided?