Neil Perry’s day is not unlike most student athletes.
Perry has early morning practices with Manhattan College’s swim team at 8 a.m., most days, and a second practice at 6 p.m.
Between those sessions Perry has class, and this semester, he even has a class where finds time for an additional four hours of community service each week. But he was counting on all of that when the semester started.
What Perry wasn’t counting on, were the five extra hours he would have to spend on the newly renovated third floor of Thomas Hall in mandated study hall hours.
That’s because of the new policies for student athletes surrounding study hall requirements. Last year students with a 2.5 GPA in a given semester or lower had to attend study hall. This year, though, Manhattan College athletic advisors opted to raise the minimum to 2.8 cumulative GPA’s.
“Since we knew were getting a little bit of a bigger space for this upcoming year, the decision was made that all students who had a 2.8 GPA would be in study hall,” Rory Redmond, a senior athletic advisor said. “So we expanded it a bit with that and we also required that all freshmen and transfers would also be in study hall just so that they get used to the college workload.”
Perry, a junior, said the reason he is now obligated to attend study hall is because of academic mistakes his freshman year, before he switched from a chemical engineering major to the school of business.
“My sophomore year I switched into the school of business and my first semester there I got over a 3.0, and my second semester there I got over a 3.0 so that was my whole sophomore year,” Perry said. “Now that I am in my first semester of my junior year I was going to go back into doing whatever I was going to do, you know, getting my good grades but I got a notification that they changed the GPA requirements.”
Perry, whose cumulative GPA he says is a 2.7, doesn’t think he should have to go to study hall to make up for mistakes he made as a freshman.
“It keeps people in the system, not the system but it keeps people in study hall and it is very hard to get out of it,” Perry said. “It’s tough for me, I know I messed up my freshman year, if I were a freshman it would’ve taken a year and a half to get out of study hall.”
Of course, not everyone feels that way. Redman said most of the students coming through study hall each week seem to enjoy the experience and, she added, it has had a marked effect on their academic success.
“There are always some questions at first, some growing pains—getting used to signing in, signing out, things like that, so there is a little bit of a learning curve,” Redmond said. “I think we were close to about half, if not a little more—their GPA improved from the fall to the spring, when they were in study hall in the spring.”
There is a penalty for failing to meet study hall requirements, according to Perry, who didn’t complete all of his mandated hours one week.
“Last week I actually missed study hall, I didn’t get all my hours and they actually punish you if you don’t get all your hours in so you have to wake up at 6 o’clock in the morning and go clean the gym,” Perry said.