UC Berkeley students have expressed concern with the dismissal of Berkeley Time by some professors in light of classes being conducted online.
Berkeley Time refers to the 10-minute waiting period after a class’s official start time. For example, if a class is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., the lecture generally will not begin until 2:10 p.m. to allow students and instructors to prepare in between back-to-back classes, according to the campus’s Office of the Registrar website.
On Monday, campus junior Sapphire Suzuki started a thread titled “#SaveBerkeleyTime” on Reddit to gauge whether other students were having issues with their professors no longer starting on Berkeley Time. The post has received more than 300 upvotes and 30 comments as of press time.
“I feel like during these unstable times, holding on to traditions, like Berkeley time, is so important. It’s shocking how quickly professors turned their backs on the unofficial policy,” Suzuki said in a direct message on Reddit. “I was surprised that so many also had this issue. At the same time, there seems to be a lot of professors following Berkeley time.”
There was controversy on the thread as to whether or not Berkeley Time is considered an official school policy. On the Office of the Registrar website, Berkeley Time is referred to as a “convention,” not a policy.
Suzuki commented that although she does not have to physically walk between classes, it still takes several minutes to transition between Zoom meetings. Several others posted about the 10-minute period being needed to eat or use the restroom.
“The reason Berkeley Time exists is to get between classes, and I suspect some people don’t think this is necessary — though I think it’s worth it,” said campus electrical engineering and computer sciences, or EECS, lecturer Michael Ball in an email.
Ball said Berkeley Time is part of the school culture, which he believes in just as he believes “thou shalt not step on the seals,” having been a UC Berkeley student himself.
EECS lecturer Nicholas Weaver also noted that keeping Berkeley Time, even with classes being on Zoom, helps maintain a sense of normalcy during an otherwise abnormal semester.
“Just because you no longer have to run across campus doesn’t mean you don’t need 10 minutes downtime between classes/meetings/stuff to refresh your mind, take a breather, and relax before carrying on,” Weaver said in an email. “That 10 minute interval isn’t necessarily ‘wasted’, instead I use that time to talk to my students for those who do show up at the listed start rather than 10 minutes after.”