Faculty senate prompts discussion about new classroom visitor policy

Story by Lauren Alley, Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, an email was sent out to Baker University that informed campus about a new classroom visitor policy.

Policies can be proposed by anybody on campus through a set system set in place by faculty senate. The policy is first written and then passed by the faculty senate. Finally, if the policy is passed by Dean of Students Cassy Bailey it will be put into the student handbook.

This policy “began with a small group of faculty, they started to discuss it. They checked with me and [found] there is no [classroom visitor] policy and they decided they wanted to put one in place” Bailey said.

Multiple events occurred on campus that contributed to the making of this policy. Whether it be students coming to classes they are not enrolled in to strangers that don’t attend Baker sitting in on classes.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Nicholaus Pumphrey helped begin the process of placing this policy in the handbook.

“There were different events that happened to different professors where visitors were coming into classrooms” Pumphrey said. “I had no problem with visitors coming into the class, I just want to know in advance.”

The new policy says, “any students wanting to bring visitors to a class must receive written or oral permission from the class professor 48-hours in advance.”

This would give professors the control needed to ensure safety in their classrooms. 

“I do also think it’s a point of respect, like if you want to bring a friend then that should be no problem. But, it’s nice to ask” Bailey said.

Freshman Olivia Kopala, who has not experienced a visitor in her class said, “I think it’s a good idea… if the visitor is random and a teacher knows ahead of time, they can be more prepared if something were to happen.”

This new policy keeps the Baker students and faculty safe and protected. It’s also a policy that students can take advantage of by being able to invite friends from other campuses to experience Baker classrooms.

It’s important for students to know they have the power to change or add policies in the handbook as well.

Bailey said, “I would want students to know that if they had a question or concern or thought we needed to change something in the student handbook, they can be part of the process to make changes. I want people to feel empowered that those [policies] can come from students.”