Editorial: Class change has unexpected consequences

This school year started off with an e-mail to all students, reminding them to check MyInfo for their final class schedule. Even though returning students picked their classes knowing exactly where to go on Sept. 9, some room assignments had been changed over the summer.
The move was mandated by a revision of fire codes that had been requested by the faculty union.
Thankfully, Rider did what it could to quickly make the changes with minimal conflict, and when 100 classes are moved in only a few days, it deserves some positive recognition. Days before classes were set to start, multiple e-mails were sent out, as well as an announcement placed on Blackboard. The university did its best to ensure that students would not have more to deal with on an already stressful day. The move was intended to ease overcrowding, and forty-three classrooms actually reduced the number of students who can be in a class.
However, some classes now are held in rooms not intended for teaching space. It seems that the result is that many students feel overcrowded. Perhaps this is also because of larger desks. A crowded room is uncomfortable if the temperature is warm. If the room is cold, then space decreases even more if students are wearing jackets and thick sweaters.
Another problem with having tight seating is the inconvenience of finding a place to sit. Students need to arrive at the right time in order to get the seat they want. As time goes on, the number of available seats quickly goes down. If they arrive right at the time class starts, they will have to sit either at the very front or the very back, where there are only individual seats, not desks. Anyone who sits in those seats doesn’t have space to put a laptop, or even a notebook.
As of now, 68 classes have been moved. The college most affected was the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Many classes that would have taken place in Fine Arts are now located in Memorial. There are some students who have never had a class in Memorial and feel a little uncomfortable being there.
In times like these, when everyone is concerned about getting sick, students should not have to be worried about feeling cramped. Germs can advance like wildfire. If just one student coughs or sneezes, then he or she is releasing bacteria into the air, and the closest people around are exposed to it. This effectively spreads a cold or flu, and soon everyone could be showing up to class sick.
The shifting of classrooms is like putting a Band-Aid on the overcrowding situation. Rider plans on expanding programs and increasing enrollment in the coming years. Even though a new academic building is set to be built by 2011, that will add only 10 classrooms to the campus, and many of them are expected to be used for the musical theater program. This wouldn’t help as much as it could, especially not for the estimated several-million-dollar price tag.
We offer praise to Rider for its hard work in the class change and for the idea of a new academic building. But the concern remains whether it will be enough for a growing population.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.

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