classroom capacity

Students sit in 0116 Stubbs Hall on Monday, August 23, 2021. 

On Sept. 1, only three days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Port Fouchon, most of Baton Rouge was still worrying about when power would be restored to their houses and apartments. People were frantic to fill their cars with increasingly scarce gas and reckoning with the next steps in the hurricane recovery process. Yet others were helping their families and grappling with critical damage sustained to their childhood homes. 

While all of this was happening, the university was busy emailing its faculty and students about the scheduled make-up days for the week canceled due to Hurricane Ida.

The timing could not have been any worse. Members of the LSU community had—and still do have—a lot on their plates. For those of us evacuated from our homes or living without power, the school was the last thing on our minds. 

Nothing better encapsulates the insensitivity of our university's top decision-makers than shoving make-up days down students' throats so early in the recovery process.

Look, I completely understand that the days we missed need to be made up. Lost class time can seriously affect lesson plans, and the university is right to offer days for faculty and students to catch up on missed work. 

Beyond the insensitive timing of the make-up days announcement, the entire process in which we make up missed class days needs to be re-evaluated. 

Since I have been at the university, I have had classes canceled for hurricanes, winter storms, a college football National Championship game and, of course, a pandemic. The latter three are somewhat unpredictable events, but we can guarantee that a tropical storm or hurricane will head our way each fall in southern Louisiana. 

We should have a plan in place for hurricane cancellations before the fall semester begins. However, I don't think it's fair to criticize an issue without offering solutions, so here are a few.

We could start school a week earlier or add a week to the end of the semester. We could trim days off fall or winter break or have hurricane days built into the schedule. If we do not have a storm, then students enjoy an extra day to relax or study before finals. 

The current system of converting five random Saturdays into Friday-part-two is not fair. Many students work on the weekends or have certain obligations they cannot skip.

Few professors seem to enjoy or respect the Saturday make-up days either. Since being a student, I have not had a single make-up day utilized by a professor. In the last few days, several of my professors have already announced they will not be holding a class on the Saturdays announced for this semester. 

The majority of our campus community is not in favor of these Saturday make-up days. So let's come up with a better solution. 

Elizabeth Crochet is a 20-year-old political communication junior from New Orleans. 

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