Petitions, Misinformation, and Controversy: Block Scheduling

University of New England administration has made the decision to change block scheduling in the upcoming academic year, and this shift has proven to be notably controversial with the student body.



The University of New England

Although deliberations had been occurring in the offices of the President and Provost for years, it only become common knowledge due to a petition posted by former USG Student Affairs Committee Leader Tatyana Markovich. “The more we discussed it, the more I felt passionate to speak out about it,” reflects Tatyana on the classroom discussion that led to the creation of the petition. The petition was penned on around noon on February 9th. Tatyana felt strongly about the change, and wanted to do something for the UNE community. She didn’t anticipate just how many people felt the same. By three o’clock the post reached five hundred signatures. By Five o’clock one thousand was crossed. On the evening of the 10th the petition crossed two thousand signatures, and as of writing it stands at just over that number.

You can view the petition and responses here:

Many members of student government have received communications regarding their distaste in the change, so it is important to remind that this was not their decision to make, and members are not in agreement over the update to block scheduling.

President Jared Magno states “USG has voiced student concerns and will continue to raise issues when brought to us.” The goal this body of student leaders has is to create an avenue for representation that can interface with university leadership and paint a proper picture of the wants and needs of UNE students.

Currently there has been no official message from administration to the student body, so most information is being relayed based on what professors have told their students and a visit to a USG meeting conducted by Dean Deburro and Provost Pardue. This means that a wealth of misinformation is making its way from student to student concerning the shift. First many students believe that labs will only take place on Wednesday, but this isn’t the case. The new schedule would not function without labs continuing to take place on all days of the week. Another concern is that of student athletes, as many believe that the change will affect their schedule. Athletes will continue to receive special considerations when choosing classes and timing of games and practices take place will remain the same. Finally, this isn’t a change that will affect every college of the university, those with classes taking place on the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday block will largely remain the same.

The big question hanging over the heads of many is “why?” The main reason given by administration is to combat the attrition of accepted students who do not end up graduating from UNE. The offices of the President and Provost found current levels unacceptable and began conducting research as to why this was the case. Internal surveys of current students and dropouts revealed that a lack of weekend social life, employment opportunities, and draws to going home (such as friends, family, or work) resulted in students who were less engaged in extracurriculars and events not making it to graduation. External surveys conducted every three years by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) also yielded similar findings when it was last performed in 2019. It is also worth noting that UNE is not the first to apply this form of block scheduling as it has also been implemented by Colby College.

The NSSE findings can be found here:

The Office of the President is aware of the petition, but it is unknown what administration’s response will be. An issue with it is that conclusions can’t be drawn directly from the petition due to the inability to find how much of the student body has signed it. There is a number of outside friends and family who have signed it. If you would like to actually have your voice heard then reach out to the Office of Student Affairs at [email protected]. Remember to remain civil when reaching out to members of the student body and administration, and if you feel the desire to protest; then make sure to check section 17 of the student handbook or your display will be disbanded. If you wish to reach out to the Student Government, representatives can be found tabling daily on the second floor commons near the solutions desk or you could attend a meeting on Thursday at 6:30 weekly in ACHS 106.


UPDATE 11:50 AM February 11th

A student affairs email was sent out this morning at approx. 10:28 AM notifying students officially of the schedule change and its reasons.