USC provost: Thursday-night game doesn’t mean ‘class dismissed’

Special to The StateAugust 22, 2013 

— If USC students and faculty thought classes could be canceled next Thursday before the football season opener against North Carolina, Provost Michael Amiridis wants them to think again.

In an email to faculty, Amiridis said that he reminded them of the university’s policies associated with the cancellation of classes and that football games aren’t a good enough reason. Thursday night games have caused class cancellations at other universities.

Clemson has canceled its afternoon and evening classes for a Thursday-night game against Georgia Tech in November. Mississippi State canceled classes for a Thursday night game it had in 2011.

“I wanted to remind faculty that just in case they get excited with the football season starting and students getting excited, there is a strict academic policy regarding the cancellation of classes, how you can cancel it, for what reason you can cancel it and for what reason you cannot cancel it,” Amiridis said. “Any kind of cultural or athletic event is not a reason for cancellation for evening classes or any type of classes.”

USC coach Steve Spurrier seemed disappointed students might have to miss the game because of class. His football team does not have to go to class that day.

“You’re kidding me? I didn’t know we had classes on Thursday night,” Spurrier said. “I can’t argue with the president.”

USC President Harris Pastides didn’t know about Amiridis’ email, either, but supports the policy. Though Pastides couldn’t fathom canceling a full day of class, he would not be opposed to a professor of an evening class making an agreement with students to make up the work outside of class, so they can make the 6 p.m. kickoff.

“Most of my career was not as a college president or as an administrator, but as a professor,” Pastides said. “I always considered appropriate negotiations with my students as long as the work wouldn’t be skipped and the students made a reasonable request and we had a discussion about making it up. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But I don’t want to sound like I’m changing the policy. If it happens in a particular class with a particular professor, I think those things happen.”

Amiridis said cancellation of classes hasn’t been an issue with USC’s past Thursday night games, but he was trying to be proactive with the email to faculty because there’s usually pressure from students who don’t want to miss the season opener. Pastides said being the first game of the year is exciting for the university, but academics is still the priority.

“If anybody told me the price we had to pay was to cancel a full day of classes, I would never allow that,” Pastides said.

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