UNT students unhappy after ice storm causes finals crunch

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM

DENTON -- Last week’s ice storm is making finals even more stressful at the University of North Texas.

One week of exams has now been pushed into a few days, and some students are not warming up to the idea. In fact, more than 7,000 have signed a petition to change that.

For UNT student Jessica Scriven, studying for final exams has been as inconvenient and unpredictable as the ice storm that paralyzed much of Denton.

“It’s just a little too stressful,” she said.

Exam week was supposed to start on Dec. 7 according to the university’s website, but classes were canceled due to weather. Late Tuesday, students were notified that all finals would have to be taken between Wednesday and Friday, and in some cases, Saturday.

Scriven has an exam at 9 p.m. Wednesday night and another on Saturday morning, when she had planned to go out of town. She said with so little notice, it was difficult to determine which exam she should study for first.

“I understand what they are trying to do,” Scriven said. “They’re trying to keep everybody safe, but shoving five days of finals into three days is a little bit ridiculous.”

Some students were so upset that they started a petition on Change.org asking university President V. Lane Rawlins to allow students to take finals online. More than 7,000 people signed it.

Students also sounded off on the university’s Facebook page. Some said the changes left them with double-booked exams and multiple exams on the same day.

“I think it’s kind of unfair to the students,” Gabrielle Dean said.

Even so, Dean said she did not have any trouble getting around on campus Wednesday morning, despite a few icy patches. She understood why classes resumed, and said the university was not left with a lot of options that would make most students happy.

Wednesday, the provost and vice president for student affairs sent out separate e-mails to students and staff addressing the problems. As far as taking exams online, Provost Warren Burggren wrote, “To promote its use now would create a far bigger mess than the one we are currently facing with repeated on-campus exam rescheduling.”

And in an e-mail to faculty and staff he asked for flexibility and cooperation, he wrote, “We hope — indeed expect — you will be maximally accommodating while holding the line in the rigor of your courses.”

Scriven said even though the ice has been shoveled away, the university still hasn’t fixed the finals situation to her liking.

“They kind of dug themselves into a hole, and we’re not getting out of it,” she said.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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