Assembly approves new

by Robin Huiras

InResponding to student complaints of inconvenience, administrators returned staggered start times for classes on the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses.
The Twin Cities Campus Assembly approved a new class schedule Thursday featuring the staggering starting times for classes.
The new system, which starts in the fall of 1999, leaves 15-minute intervals between classes within the same campus. Students transferring between the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses will have 45-minute intervals.
The Staggering Class Subcommittee has considered the class change since winter 1997.
“The current congruent start times on both campuses has created a problem for students because it is impossible to take back-to-back classes on different campuses,” said Laura Koch, associate director in Planning and Analysis.
It is difficult to get required classes on different campuses to fit together with such little passing time, said Laura DeMink, a junior biology major at the University. DeMink said the staggered times will help.
Decreased funding to Parking and Transportation Services, which eliminated some buses, also added to the need for a change, Koch said.
“I have to run to the bus stop in St. Paul even to get to my class in Minneapolis late,” DeMink added.
Staggered classes existed prior to fall 1996. However, because the St. Paul campus was losing one class hour per day, students, staff and faculty requested congruent start times. The Assembly Committee on Educational Policy adopted the change.
A large number of complaints from students forced the committee to revisit the policy.
Administrators’ only concern with the change revolved around the lost class-period on the St. Paul campus.
With one less class hour per day, students will be vying for the same number of classes. But those classes will be offered less often.
However, most felt the benefits outnumbered the disadvantages.
“Students connecting to campus using the Minneapolis Transit System will have more time to make it to an early class on St. Paul campus,” said Roger Huss, the transit coordinator in Parking and Transportation Services.
For example, Route 52 arrives on Minneapolis campus shortly before class starts at 8 a.m.
With the change, classes in St. Paul begin at 8:30 a.m. and classes in Minneapolis begin at 8 a.m.
Students can take an 8 a.m. class in Minneapolis that ends at 8:50 a.m. and still make a 9:35 a.m. class in St. Paul.
“With staggered classes from the transport perspective, the buses could run more efficiently and cut down on the total amount of time getting to and from classes on different campuses,” Huss said.
Additionally, the old system of congruent start and end times made for crowded buses. Staggering will allow for better utilization and fewer difficulties finding spots on buses, he said.
“During class times the buses are very full — increasing the number of buses would definitely help,” said DeMink.
The buses run in five-minute intervals from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 10 minute intervals from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and half hour intervals from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. starting in fall 1998.
In the future, transit officials will examine the demand of students with later classes and adjust the level of service in the afternoons, Huss said.