As many students attend this spring semester in various forms, buses running on a different schedule, and Limes nowhere in sight, students who are attending in-person classes may find getting to classes on time to be difficult. Senate Resolution 56.83 aims to assist students in this struggle.
Senate Resolution 56.83, which was proposed by Taylin Antonick and Sarah McCormack and passed through the Senate of the Student Government Association at Texas Tech, proposes a new passing period time limit.
Currently, the passing period between classes is 10 minutes, Senate Resolution 56.83 proposes a time of 15 minutes between classes, according to the Resolution.
Taylin Antonick, sophomore agricultural and applied economics major from Henderson, Texas, and a senator for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources for Tech SGA, said in the Fall semester there were seven to eight students in her agricultural law class who would walk into class late, huffing and puffing as if they had been running.
Usually, these students were trekking from the Animal Science Building, which is located beside Commuter West parking lot, to the CASNR Annex near the center of campus, Antonick said.
“We just got used to them being late,” Antonick said.
As a result, they were starting class 10-12 minutes late. Additionally, some professors only grant students a certain amount of tardies until they result in an absence Antonick said, and some professors do not allow their students to leave early to make it to another class.
It was these circumstances, and an experience from a friend of Antonick’s, that ultimately led to Senate Resolution 56.83.
“It’s not only affecting individuals, but it was affecting our classes and our professors,” Antonick said.
Before the pandemic, students were able to utilize Lime scooters, and a more regular bus schedule, Antonick said. With the pandemic still raging, Limes are not an option, and the bus schedules have changed.
Additionally, Antonick said Tech’s passing period has been 10 minutes since the 1980s.
“In that time, obviously campus has grown a ton and yet that passing period hasn’t changed,”Antonick said.
Before they can propose the Resolution to President Schovanec and the Office of the Provost, there are a few steps they must take.
First, Antonick said they have done a lot of research. This research includes a survey of Tech students concerning how long it takes them to walk across campus. The average time students said they needed was 15 minutes.
Additionally, they researched what other universities in the Big 12 and around Texas had done. Texas A&M had already extended their passing period to 15 minutes before COVID-19 Antonick said, they have now extended it to 30 minutes since the pandemic began. Similarly, The University of Texas has a 15-minute passing period on Tuesday and Thursday and a 10-minute passing period on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Following their research, some members of SGA will conduct a cost-benefit analysis. The cost-benefit analysis will determine whether the benefit is greater than the financial cost or if the cost is greater than the benefits of the change, Antonick said.
During this analysis, they evaluate multiple things, Antonick said. Some of these include the cost of turning on electricity earlier, or having it run later. Buses running earlier, or later, and classes starting earlier, or going later.
“There are a lot of different moving parts, which means that there’s going to be a lot of money involved in making this change,” Antonick said.
Tatum Whitewood, a senior animal sciences major from Fort Worth, was one of the individuals who inspired Antonick to act on the issue of extended passing periods.
“It hasn’t always been really hard to make it in 10 minutes,” Whitewood said.
The issue of making it to class on time became a large issue last semester, Whitewood said. She had a class in Animal Sciences Building at 11 a.m. and a class right after in in the Agricultural Economics building, which is located near the SUB.
“It is a full mile from Animal Science to the SUB,” Whitewood said.
For some reason, Whitewood said the buses were not running normally and her class was let out late, leaving her with no other option but to run to class. Even in her haste, she was still seven minutes late to Agribusiness Law, a class she shared with Antonick.
At the beginning of the class, they have discussion time, in which they can ask about certain laws ,Whitewood said.
“I raised my hand, and I was like, ‘how do you go about changing passing periods?’” Whitewood said.
Following class, Antonick approached Whitewood and said she had been looking for something to change, Whitewood said.
Mitzi Lauderdale, interim vice provost for Tech, has played a key role in helping SGA prepare this resolution for proposal to the president, acting as a facilitator and communicator.
Lauderdale first met with Antonick one-on-one, and then, together, they met with the Office of the Registrar to discuss why a previous proposal for extended passing periods presented in 2017 had failed, Lauderdale said.
Currently, the SGA has an adhoc, or working group, researching the student side of things, and comparing what other universities have done Lauderdale said.
The members of SGA involved with this project will create a plan following their research that will contain the details of how they plan to adjust the school day and operations throughout campus to accommodate the new passing period, Lauderdale said.
“There’s definitely a financial impact there,” Lauderdale said, “which may absolutely be worth it, but that’s just part of the cost-benefit analysis that will need to be done.”
Once a plan is made, it will be presented to the Operations Division to determine its feasibility. However, Lauderdale said a lot is to be determined until SGA can create a plan for what the changed schedule will look like.
“It will be interesting to see what happens,” Lauderdale said. “I think there’s a lot of possibilities here of different ways to meet the needs of the students and the faculty, and the university as a whole.”
Taylin Antonick said it is important to remember that though the piece of legislation has been written, it does not mean it will happen right away.
Planning is done two to three years in advance, Antonick said, so if they get the proposal ready by April, the change could occur in 2022 or 2023.
“I think my favorite term to use is, ‘really big boats take a really long time to turn around,’” Antonick said.