Advanced planning is necessary for NATO, G-8 summits

By Editorial Board

The G-8 and NATO summits are scheduled to take place in Chicago at the same time as Columbia’s Commencement ceremony. While the city should be honored to play host to such important global events, they are causing what could have been completely avoidable problems for the school’s student body had the necessary steps

been taken.

These summits are planned years in advance, and the announcement that Chicago would host both simultaneously was made in early June. It is hard to understand why Columbia’s administration waited until the beginning of fall semester to start discussing a serious scheduling issue.

Columbia should have planned for this issue further in advance. Moreover, there has not been enough of a public conversation about this issue. The college needs to consider the impact this has on its students. The opinion of the student body should be a primary concern for Columbia. At the minimum, the administration needs to remain transparent about the issue and any discussion officials had over it.

Walking across the stage to receive your diploma is a milestone for many students, yet the desire by the college to avoid any conflicts that may arise due to summit protestors is understandable and appreciated. However, there were also reasons to be cautious about any changes to J-term or spring semester scheduling.

It is good that the school decided not to drop spring break. This is an important decompression time for students after half a semester of hard work, and losing it could have negative effects on their performance.

Additionally, many students depend on their J-term classes to fulfill all the requirements needed for them to graduate in May. Eliminating the J-term session could have thrown students off track, and the last people who should be penalized for a lack of planning are students working hard to get their degree on time.

The school has taken the only feasible option to avoid issues surrounding the global summits and, at the same time, minimize impact on students, by condensing J-term and starting the regular spring semester one week earlier.

But in the future, when creating academic calendars, the college should keep in mind that we are in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. That means scheduling conflicts are not just possible but pretty likely.

Next time, a little bit of research and a tad more advanced planning could prevent a lot of headaches.