Easing into new year

UF restarts with minor mix-ups

On the first day back of the Spring 2004 semester, University of Florida students pass under the "Alachua" sculpture near the Computer Science and Engineering building on Tuesday morning.

MICHAEL C. WEIMAR/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 6, 2004 at 11:57 p.m.
University of Florida graduate student Billy Welch thought twice before turning up for class on Monday. He even got up after midnight before what could have been the big day just to check the information on his trusted computer.
Welch was right. UF's first day of classes started Tuesday.
But more than 100 students - even some who've spent years at the university - turned up on Monday, which was registration day, to begin the start of spring semester. They unknowingly waited outside locked classrooms.
Then Tuesday brought about a whole new level of embarrassment for another group of students, the ones who used Monday's class schedule to attend classes on Tuesday.
"Kids have been really confused because they are going to the wrong classes," said Welch, 24, who watched several frustrated people march out of a couple of his classes.
Minor mix-ups are all part of the start of a new semester and the biannual migration of UF students back to Gainesville. Parking is a problem since there are only enough spaces for about one-quarter of the students.
And don't forget about traffic gridlock. As of Monday evening, 43,938 students were registered at UF for the spring semester. By the end of drop-and-add this week and perhaps other changes early in the month, that number could increase by as many as 3,000.
Due to holiday dropouts and December graduates, the number of students typically are lower in the spring than the fall semester, which according to preliminary figures boasts an enrollment of 47,891 students.
Overall, the numbers are up over last year, and in spite of that, UF apparently handled the extras with ease.
The university's Enrollment Management Work Group - that's the name of the group making sure there are enough seats in high demand classes - determined there were no serious "bottlenecks," said Joe Glover, associate provost for academic affairs. When a section of classes was obviously needed, a new one was added, Glover said.
"Things went relatively smoothly," he said.
That's more than the Florida Department of Transportation can say. DOT crews worked on a curb repair on the southeast corner of W. University Avenue and 13th Street. It had been crushed by tractor-trailers making the right-hand-turn onto W. University Avenue.
The repairs required the closure of one-lane of north-bound traffic, which snarled commuter and student traffic for hours.

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