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University of Michigan alters "Michigan Time" policy

The University of Michigan Union
Wikimedia Commons
University of Michigan student union

The University of Michigan is set to end a long-standing tradition on May 1.

"Michigan Time" is the practice of starting classes, meetings, and events 10 minutes after the designated start time to allow for travel time across campus. In a release by the University Record, the practice will be updated at the start of the spring semester, although the majority of students will see the change for the fall term.

The 10-minute transition time will move before the hour instead of after the hour. Previously a one-hour class with an official start time of 9:00 a.m. would begin at 9:10 a.m. Under the new policy, class will begin at the official start time but end at 9:50 a.m.

"The adjustment to start times will allow for increased collaboration and more classes to be taken by all students. University meetings operate on the hour and this will facilitate faculty and student participation," Philbert says.

The goal of the change is to ensure greater consistency among the Ann Arbor community. Moving away from Michigan Time was the result of a need for consistency among all schools and colleges, said UM Provost Martin Philbert. Currently, some schools and colleges operate on Michigan Time and others do not. 

Officials also note the benefits to faculty, who could teach and have travel time sufficient to attend events across campus. It will reduce the number of classrooms needed to accommodate the curriculum, saving money and reducing the environmental footprint of the university.

The concept of "Michigan Time" was first documented in 1930 when President Alexander G. Ruthven asked the deans to establish a uniform time for dismissing and opening classes, and has been the norm at for over 80 years.

Many students are unhappy with the change, and there is currently a petitionto revert the Michigan time policy back to before the hour.

If that doesn't succeed, however, professors should probably expect many tardy students this fall.

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