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Last semester, University of Michigan officials put an end to the campus tradition of Michigan Time. Upon hearing the initial announcement, students and faculty voiced their concerns but now, with a new class of freshmen entering campus on the newly designed Tower Time, the push to reinstate Michigan Time is much less prevalent but still present.
Michigan Time allowed a ten-minute grace period for students arriving to class. Classes would start ten minutes late and end at their listed times. Under the new Tower Time, classes start at the time they are listed and students are excused ten minutes before their listed end time.
Many ardent supporters of Michigan Time have been bombarding Facebook pages with Tower Time memes to express their disdain for arriving 10 minutes earlier to class, while others are just waiting for the grumbling to end.
Engineering senior Sam Morris has been one of the students leading the fight against Tower Time on the Facebook page, “Umich Memes For Wolverteens.” He said he has not seen many students in favor of the new system.
“I have not found one person saying that they enjoy Tower Time,” Morris said. “The popular Facebook meme page ‘Umich Memes for Wolverteens’ is full of disheartened students making cathartic memes about the death of Michigan Time. A lot of them get between 500 and 1,000 likes, so it’s easy to see that the pulse of campus is pretty much on the same page.”
Morris started an event for Monday, Sept. 10, in an attempt to have all students arrive to class 10 minutes past the hour. Morris claims he did it partly as a joke, however, only 100 of the 15,000 group members said they would be attending.
Not all students are as frustrated with the end of Michigan Time. LSA junior Emily Furstenberg said she was initially surprised about the switch, but said it does not really affect her daily schedule.
“I’m usually a person who gets to class early anyways, so Tower Time hasn’t affected me much,” Furstenberg said. “Most people I’ve talked to have already gotten used to Tower Time and only complain about it for 8 a.m. classes, which I get.”
When the end of Michigan Time was first announced, students worried about whether professors would honor the 10-minute early dismissal, or just keep lecturing. Engineering sophomore Jeff Yin said the only reason professors are ending on the scheduled time is because students start packing up their books.
“The only reason most of them let people out 10 minutes early is because people just start packing up, which makes noise,” Yin said. “If people don’t do that, professors just keep on going.”
Yin also expressed frustration when Tower Time was first announced.
“I was annoyed, shocked and sad I suppose,” Yin said. “I had only transferred to Michigan winter of 2017 as a freshman. So, to hear such a sudden change in policy the first semester I was here kind of pissed me off.”
LSA freshman Abby Snyder said she has heard about Michigan Time, but cannot understand the concers upperclassmen have.
“It sounds like it could have been helpful, especially if you oversleep or something like that,” Snyder said. “But since I never had Michigan Time, it’s not an issue for me. I could see it being a bigger issue for older students who were used to it and now have to adjust back.”
According to University Provost Martin Philbert, the decision to eliminate Michigan Time had been a topic of conversation for years, but was finally acted upon in an effort to unify the schedules across the University. Schools including the School of Nursing never adopted Michigan Time because it would conflict with the punctuality necessary for a career in medicine.
In a previous Daily article, Philbert said the switch to Tower Time would also provide more classroom space on campus.
“We have the need for more classrooms,” Philbert said. “We have more sections, which require more rooms, and some of these rooms require specialized services. So, by aligning time, we free up the number and types of classrooms available.”
Morris still does not understand why the University administration feels the need to take on this change.
“Their reasoning to ending Michigan Time was mostly because they viewed it as being ‘for our own good,’” Morris said. “But why should the administration decide what is best for us? We are adults. If an overwhelming majority is in support of Michigan time, I think our opinions should be taken seriously.”
He still believes others will join him in a resistance against Tower Time, and says there is a real protest in the works.
“I’m in the process of organizing a real protest, this time posting it to the ‘University of Michigan Class of 2019, 2020, etc.’ Facebook pages so that they’re taken seriously,” Morris said. “If enough people participate and it garners enough attention, it may cause the administration to act.”
According to Furstenberg, other students are over it.
“I think the Michigan Time meme has run its course and, eventually, we’ll move onto something else,” Furstenberg said.