Spring Break Lives

By Darryl Holliday

The verdict is in.

Spring break is saved, but students planning on taking J-Term courses in January will need to be open to changes due to the G-8 and NATO summits being held in the Loop in May 2012.

The J-Term slot has been condensed from its usual three weeks down to two weeks. J-Term classes will now be held Jan. 3–14, with the number of hours spent in class varying depending on the number of credit hours offered.

Spring semester will also be shortened by two weeks, ending on May 5 rather than the original semester end date of May 15.

“Based upon available information about the G-8 and NATO summits, and related activities happening near the South Loop and our campus area, it became clear that in the best interest of the entire Columbia community, we should shift the end of the 2012 school year by two weeks to avoid potential conflict with these international events,” said President Warrick L. Carter in an email sent schoolwide on Sept. 9.

As reported in The Chronicle on Sept. 6, more than 30,000 protestors are expected to gather around Columbia’s campus as global representatives and military leaders fill hotel rooms in the South Loop to attend the weeklong G-8 and NATO summits being held at McCormick Place from May 15–22. The summits will focus on global economic issues and the war in Afghanistan, respectively.

Along with the changes to J-Term and the Spring semester, Columbia’s annual Manifest celebration will also be moved from May 18 to May 4 because the necessary permit from the city will not be issued during

the summits.

However, even with the schedule changes, Manifest will be “big, bad and better,” according to Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs.

“There are challenges to the college and to the students because it’s a change, but we’ll make this work,” Kelly said. “There are also challenges on commencement and what venue [it will be held at], but the dates are set and we’ll find a creative solution.”

A final plan for commencement is forthcoming, according to the college administration, but the event will also be moved, from May 19–20 to May 5–6.

“The senior administration made the decision [regarding spring semester] considering information from our department of safety and security, and with input and feedback from deans, faculty and chairs,” said Diane Doyne, associate vice president of PR, marketing and advertising. “While we recognize there will be some challenges, we believe this is the best solution for the community overall.”

As for the other colleges and universities in the immediate area—DePaul and Roosevelt universities and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—schedule changes are, for the most part, also in the works.

DePaul’s spring semester ends on June 8, potentially causing fewer scheduling conflicts. Roosevelt’s last day of spring courses and commencement will be held in early May. However, the current schedule for their summer term, beginning on May 12, will coincide with the summits.

The end of SAIC’s spring semester is planned for May 13, with graduation set for May 18, coinciding with the two international summits.

According to SAIC spokeswoman Ann Wiens, the institution is currently considering several options, but has not come up with a definitive plan as of yet.