Leaving exam conflicts for students to resolve is unfair

CUNY

CUNY

The Editorial Board

As finals week arrived, the Office of the Registrar sent an email to students that it — along with the Offices of Undergraduate Advisement & Orientation, Graduate Academic Services and Testing and Evaluation — will not be resolving final exam conflicts, pushing the responsibility onto students and their professors.

This means that if a student has two exams scheduled at the same time or that are overlapping, the student can no longer go to one of these offices to resolve the issue. They must reach out to their professors to try to handle it on their own.

The email stated that this change was made “effective October 01, 2020,” despite it being sent to students on Dec. 7.

With an over two-month delay in informing students and shifting the responsibility onto students and professors, Baruch College further hinders students’ learning experience.

The lack of transparency while communicating to students in a prompt manner leaves students in the dark about what appears to be a decision that was made two months ago.

The curt email also provided no rationale for this change besides stating that the decision is “due to the move to distance learning and implementation of virtual academic and student support services for the Fall 2020 term.”

Final exam conflicts last semester were previously dealt with by the Office of Testing and Evaluation, along with the other three offices listed above.

Revealing this change so late into the semester adds another unexpected burden that students and professors must take on. Finals week is already a stressful time for both students and professors, with studying, projects, presentations and grading.

Doing all of this during a pandemic, when many students are facing issues with balancing work schedules, internet access and staying healthy, creates an even rougher learning environment.

Contacting professors directly to sort out final exam conflicts also proves challenging as it forces professors to find another time to administer an alternative exam.

Making the last few days of a turbulent semester even more challenging is the opposite of what these offices should be doing to serve students and ensure their education is successful.

This semester has provided boundless challenges and changes for us all but transferring the responsibility for handling final exam conflicts to students is unprecedented. Students don’t control the final exam period nor have they ever been in charge of fixing these conflicts.

The Office of Testing and Evaluation is still operating and administering professor evaluations, but it is unclear why final exam conflicts are no longer under its jurisdiction.

Final exam conflicts are bound to happen.

They’re virtually impossible to avoid with how many classes are being administered at the same time. Students and professors shouldn’t have to worry about last minute responsibilities that were previously handled by Baruch.

This semester has simultaneously proven that clear communication is vital for a college experience and that Baruch has room to grow in being open and honest with students.