disregard academic policy
Every Bowdoin student, past and present, has signed the Academic
Honor Code. As stated in the College Catalogue, "The Academic Honor Code
plays a central role in the intellectual life at Bowdoin College. Students
and faculty are obligated to ensure its success. Uncomprimised intellectual
inquiry lies at the heart of a liberal arts education." In signing the
Honor Code, students agree to make every effort to ensure the practice
of "uncompromised intellectual inquiry."
However, towards the end of each fall semester, many professors
manipulate the final exam schedule so that students have little time for
sleeping, eating, and showering, let alone engaging in "intellectual inquiry."
When professors demand that finals be completed before the
official date assigned by the Office of Student Records, finals examinations
and papers are less a measure of the quality of a student's intellect,
and more a measure of how much work a student can accomplish in the shortest
period of time.
The Office of Student Records attempts to schedule final examinations
so that a student's work load is dispersed throughout the six-day finals
period. While it may be unpleasant for professors to remain on campus
so late into the holiday season, it is equally unpleasant for students
when, due to a lack of time rather than a lack of ability, they are not
given the opportunity to accurately demonstrate their abilities.
The College Catalog states: "Final examinations of the College
are held at the close of each semester and must be given according to
the schedule published by the Office of Student Records." Faculty have
voted on and approved this policy and yet, so many professors violate
While some professors explicitly violate the policy by demanding
students complete their finals before the date published by the Office
of Student Records, other professors more subtly violate the policy.
In many classes, professors assign the last paper or test
of the term to be given while classes are still in session. In a syntactically
tricky move, assignments are referred to as the "last paper" or the "last
test" of the semester, rather than a "final."
Regardless of the label, the last assignment of the semester,
by any other name, is still a "final." When professors assign final examinations
and papers to take place during the last week of classes, students must
begin preparing well before reading period. Thus, "intellectual inquiry"
is undoubtedly compromised, as students are too busy completing their
"finals" to fully participate in the last few weeks of classes.
Some professors argue that, in order to submit final grades
on time, they need to have all exams and papers completed before the final
examination date determined by the Office of Student Records.
However, if a professor has concerns regarding timely submission
of final grades, such concerns should be voiced at faculty meetings prior
to the publication of the official finals schedule. If members of the
faculty feel they are not given ample time to submit final grades, professors
must work with the Administration to resolve the problem. To indirectly
deal with the problem through the manipulation of the finals schedule
is unfair to students, and most certainly compromises the practice of
Many students are hesitant to challenge the authority of a
professor, so the gross manipulation of the finals schedule is an abuse
of professorial power that goes unnoticed by the Administration. We all
know students foot the bill, but now they also pay the price.