When law and justice studies junior Ebony Sauceda saw the Spring 2016 course list, she realized all the courses for her major were either online or on the Edinburg campus, just as they were this semester.
“They should be more organized,” she said about the university. “They knew the schools were coming together, they should’ve organized this before. It’s not fair.”
Students have expressed their concerns through social media about the low number of classes offered on the Brownsville campus and about the registration system crashing.
Student Success Vice President Kristin Croyle said each department chair is in charge of arranging the courses.
“Primarily, they’re designed by the department chairs, with their faculty, and submitted to the Registrar’s office for assignment to a classroom and then to be displayed [on the online course list],” Croyle said last Wednesday.
When scheduling courses, the plan may be constantly changing to accommodate the demand for them, and one of the things that may prevent a course from not being shown on the ASSIST site would be if there is no classroom assigned yet, she said.
“If a classroom hasn’t been assigned yet, we don’t show them because what if we have to change the time to accommodate to a classroom,” Croyle said. “We don’t want students thinking there’s going to be this exact class at this time when we’re not sure yet.”
On both campuses, there are still some courses that are yet to have a designated classroom due to the need of that room during peak times, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., she said.
Rajiv Nambiar, professor and interim chair of Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering, said his department still does not have some courses listed on ASSIST for students to view and register because of the classroom shortage and student demand for certain times.
“Most students want to take classes between nine and noon every day and want to avoid Fridays, so as a result it is a little more difficult to get classes during that time,” Nambiar said about the difficulty in assigning Edinburg courses.
As for the Brownsville campus, Nambiar said the problem is in finding space for the courses.
“They are severely short of space,” he said. “They lost a lot of their classrooms to the community college. In general, they’ve lost a lot of classrooms and we’re having just a little more difficulty finding rooms.”
UTRGV Finance and Administration Executive Vice President Martin Baylor said the university has not changed any of its agreements for leasing space from Texas Southmost College, which is adjacent to the Brownsville campus.
“Pretty much finalized everything this past summer for all of the space needs on the Brownsville campus,” Baylor said.
“That would stay static at least for … this academic year and next academic year.”
Among the facilities leased by the UT System are Cavalry Hall, Rusteberg Hall and various sections of the Science and Engineering Technology Building at a total cost of $2,740,868, according to the space lease documents The Rider obtained from TSC.
The term of the contract runs from Sept. 1, 2013, to Aug. 31, 2017, with certain exceptions, such as the bookstore premises, which will be leased until Nov. 30, 2020.
In an interview with The Rider, Chet Lewis, TSC vice president of Finance and Administration, said the UT System is still leasing a similar amount of space.
“When we originally established the lease, it was related to Fiscal Year 2014,” Lewis said. “There have been some slight changes but for the most part, they are leasing similar space. They have asked for some additional space and one of the things that has discontinued in our lease, in the arrangement, is we no longer lease any space from … the UT System.”
Croyle recommends that students who cannot find crucial courses contact their department chair.
“There will be more classes offered in Edinburg for the foreseeable future than there will be in Brownsville because there are more students in Edinburg,” she said. “That doesn’t mean that classes in Brownsville don’t meet the need.”