Make sure you follow the rules

The student advocate's office lays out RRR week violations

Jacob Wilson/Staff

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With only a few days of instruction remaining, the spring 2013 semester is drawing to a close.

The end of the semester brings with it a swarm of endless work, many sleepless nights, and interminable regrets about not mastering course material sooner. The end of the semester also brings with it a week of ostensible rest and review before the marathon of finals. This coveted time is known as Reading, Review, and Recitation week, or, more affectionately, “dead week.”

RRR week was instituted in the Fall 2009. For students, RRR week meant that they would have a full week to review and prep for final exams, giving them a little bit of reprieve from end-of-the-semester stress. For instructors, however, this scheduling change meant they had less time to impart the knowledge they would have liked to during the course of the semester. Because RRR week is relatively new in the history of the university, both faculty members and students may be unaware of RRR week guidelines.

In brief, here are the guidelines for RRR week:

  • No final exams should be given before or during RRR week.
  • Assignments that replace a final, such as a final paper, should not be due before or during RRR week.
  • No mandatory class or review sessions should be held during RRR week, and instructors should not introduce new course material. Performance- and studio-based classes, such as theater, music and architecture, can be exempted from this guideline if the purpose of holding class is to allow scheduling flexibility for final presentations. Physical Education, however, is not considered a performance- based class, according to a determination made by the Academic Senate Committee on Course of Instruction – as such, physical education course instructors cannot hold mandatory classes during RRR week.
  • Presentations of student assignments, such as capstone projects, poster sessions or group projects, are allowed during RRR week.

The ASUC Student Advocate’s Office has seen a wide array of potential RRR week violations in the fall 2012 semester alone. Because there exists no formal reporting mechanism through the university, it is unclear how many violations occur every semester. In addition, many students are reluctant to contact their professors directly to resolve potential violations, fearing that their grades may be negatively impacted.

This is where the student advocate’s office steps in. We are currently collecting data to monitor RRR week violations, both to spread awareness of RRR week guidelines, and to encourage general compliance among faculty. Having as much data as possible will allow us to identify trends in violations, which will help us improve our advocacy on behalf of students. Within just three days of opening our reporting form, we have received approximately 30 reports of potential violations. This demonstrates the lack of knowledge or compliance around RRR week guidelines.

As an office, we pride ourselves on confidentiality. Your submissions will be completely anonymous. While it is relatively late in the semester, if you would like to pursue an appeal based on an RRR week violation, we will pair you up with a case worker. We cannot guarantee a favorable outcome, in part because of the proximity to RRR week. However, many faculty members have been willing to accommodate RRR week guidelines once they have been notified of potential violations. In the meantime, please know that you must fulfill your academic obligations according to the professor’s rules unless the professor has explicitly stated that changes will be made to accommodate RRR week guidelines.

To report a potential violation, please fill out this form:

The student advocate’s office is committed to helping students with any problems with the university, including but not limited to student conduct, financial aid, grievance and academic problems. We wish you the very best in this final stretch of the semester.

For RRR week-related questions and other issues, please email us at [email protected]. You can also take a break from studying and join us for finals snacks in front of Moffitt Library on May 10 and 11 at 7 P.M. We will be handing out free doughnut holes, coffee, hot chocolate and pens while supplies last!

Stacy Suh is the Student Advocate. Mondee Lu is an academic division caseworker.