Inconsistent Monday schedules frustrate student leaders

The nascent Hy-Flex In-Person program has brought many changes to the Burke community, one of which is unpredictable Monday schedules. 

Every new term necessitates an evaluation day for teachers and nothing for students; add in holidays and the schedule does not allow for much time to meet in clubs, affinity groups, and discussion groups. Here is an example of the schedule’s inconsistency: clubs were meeting every other week consistently until January 4th. MLK Day and an evaluation day pushed the next scheduled event until February 1st. Discussion groups, after being held every Wednesday, were moved to Mondays and had a long break from January 11th to March 1st before resuming. affinity groups have also been given priority and consistently meet every other week, alternating between Gender and Sexuality and Race and Ethnicity. 

This inconsistent scheduling has affected productivity across the board. SSASI (Students Supporting All Sexualities and Identities) leaders Finley Turner ‘23 and Julia Brunetti ‘23 say that they are satisfied with the time given to them for meetings, as new and underclassmen leaders of a small affinity group, but are unhappy with how inconsistent the scheduling has been. “It’s not consistent so it impacts people coming. Plus, on Mondays, there are three meetings back-to-back so people have already been to a bunch of meetings in a short amount of time by the time affinity groups meet,” Turner said. Brunetti agreed. “[It] kind of defeats the purpose of an affinity group … I definitely also think there should be a more consistent rotation, and notices being sent out like they were in the early weeks. There needs to be more of a rhythm so that people can have consistency on Mondays.”

Both Turner and Brunetti agreed that “Other groups have it worse. Due to scheduling, they don’t exist at all.”

Keely Ferrando ‘21, leader of Students Supporting Environmental Action (SEA), agrees that her club is not given enough to meet, meeting only “once or twice a month.” She feels that her club is “limited by being online anyways, and combining that with an irregular and rare meeting schedule makes it quite difficult to get things done.” 

Ferrando suggested a solution, but it would be difficult to work into the schedule: “Clubs need either another slot to meet, or for their scheduled Monday times to be interrupted less. That other slot could be replacing Mondays, could be an optional add on, or could be a backup for when the Monday time slot falls through, but in any event clubs would greatly benefit from being able to meet more then the current once or twice a month.” 

Steven Lee, the Director of Equity and Inclusion, is aware of the current schedule’s drawbacks. It took time to come up with a plan that would give every group a meeting time without any slots open from Tuesday to Friday, he said, and the schedule is the best that could be done given the pandemic. While it is unfortunate that groups are running into challenges, the whole situation poses conundrums impossible to solve until COVID dies down, the majority of the student body is vaccinated, or herd immunity is reached. “I don’t see any way to change the schedule this spring,” he said.