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Students, faculty irked by overcrowded classes

As University students and faculty settle into their second week of classes, many again are faced with overcrowded rooms and long waiting lists -- problems that some faculty members trace to a lack of resources.

The College appears to be the hardest hit when it comes to overcrowded classes and the problem especially is prevalent in the government, English and foreign language departments, faculty members said.

Robert Fatton, professor and chair of the government and foreign affairs department, recognized the problem, but said his department cannot add enough new courses because it has "exhausted it's money for new sections and" teaching assistants.

The English department also has had similar difficulties, said Jahan Ramazani, English professor and former Faculty Senate Chairman.

"I know that I and others have had the experience of waiting lists and it's always disheartening to turn students away," Ramazani said.

Spanish Prof. Joel Rini also acknowledged a problem with overcrowding in the Spanish department, but said that it is "not a question of money."

The department can no longer locate suitable instructors, Rini said.

Like other students, first-year College student Iolade Olamigoke had trouble getting into classes she wanted.

"I couldn't get into French 101 or Public Speaking. I tried course actions and it didn't work," Olamigoke said.

Second-year College student Chantale Fiebig said the problem of overcrowded classes affects the quality of a University education.

"If the University plans to continue to allow growing, they will be forced to offer more classes or they will lose valuable students who can get smaller classes at other leading universities," Fiebig said.

But Assoc. College Dean Gordon Stewart said this year is off to a "demonstrably smoother start" than most, despite some complaints from students.

Stewart said he thinks there was "a raised expectation due to summer orientation," during which first years registered together over the Internet for the first time.

Students should realize that there are "9,000 students all wanting five classes and it can get quite hectic," he said.

Faculty members and students offered different suggestions on how to remedy the situation.

First-year College student Jonathan Riley said more classes should be offered.

"Since the languages are required for a degree, it would be helpful if they offered more classes so everyone can get the classes they need," Riley said.

But more classes may not be the answer.

Fatton said his department needed to "ask for more resources" because "more [class] sections do not necessarily solve the problem. In such a small room, you can't add [students] even if you wanted to."

A different approach was offered by Faculty Senate Chairman David T. Gies, however, who said the University needs to secure more funding to "keep up with the hiring of more faculty"