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Sunday June 26th

'Definitely a big deal': Faculty adjust exam schedules to celebrate UNC men's basketball

<p>Brady Manek, graduate forward for the North Carolina men's basketball team returns to the Dean Smith Center after the team's Elite 8 victory on Sunday, March 27, 2022.</p>
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Brady Manek, graduate forward for the North Carolina men's basketball team returns to the Dean Smith Center after the team's Elite 8 victory on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

As junior Nadeen Atieh watched UNC men's basketball defeat St. Peter’s in its Elite Eight matchup of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night, the channel kept switching over to highlights from the Kansas-UMiami game.

She and her roommates booed at the TV, wanting to get back to the more important game. But they weren’t worried about the Tar Heels' chances against the No. 15 seed St. Peter's, a team that had been on a Cinderella run in this year's tournament.

UNC ended the Peacocks' run with a 69-49 win.

“Closer to the end of the first half, no one was really nervous anymore,” Atieh said. “And most people were nervous for the fact that we're playing Duke on Saturday.”

One thing Atieh wasn’t worried about was the International Relations and Global Politics  exam she was supposed to have the next day — because she no longer had it.

Two hours before tip-off, after petitioning from classmates, she'd gotten an email that her political science professor had postponed the due date for the online midterm until Wednesday evening.

“I go to all the lectures and I pay attention, but I do have to study, and I have to know the material, otherwise I don't feel confident,” Atieh said. “And I just haven't had time to do it. So, this was a good extra two days.”

Political science professor Jeff Spinner-Halev said he had received a flurry of emails from students in his Ethics of Peace, War and Defense course over the weekend requesting that the midterm exam — which was scheduled for Monday — be moved to Wednesday.

Spinner-Halev, who is also Atieh’s thesis adviser, initially said no. He wasn’t even thinking about the midterm during the game, he said.

But after the Tar Heels won, he wanted to know how students were celebrating, so he reached out to a few of his former students, including Atieh, to find out.

“I didn't realize how much the students celebrated after the victory,” Spinner-Halev said, laughing. “I guess I underestimated the victory over a 15-seed. But it is getting into the Final Four, which is definitely a big deal.”

Other UNC professors are even looking ahead to the impact of this weekend’s games on exams next week.

The UNC-Duke Final Four matchup is scheduled for Saturday night, and whoever comes out on top will face the winner of the Kansas-Villanova game on Monday, April 1.

Mathematics associate professor Mark McCombs moved his Aspects of Modern Mathematics exam from Monday, April 4, to Wednesday, April 6, according to Haley Gray, a first-year in the class.

She said McCombs told the class a story about a time that he once got an email from a burner address the day after UNC lost to Duke in a regular season matchup. The email blamed him for the loss because he had scheduled a calculus test the next day, McCombs had said.

And because he’s a huge Tar Heel fan — Gray said McCombs exclusively wears UNC T-shirts to class — if it ever happens that important games fall the day before an exam, he changes the date.

“Ever since then, he won't be the reason that we lose,” Gray said. 

Gray herself was out celebrating on Franklin Street after the game clock ran out. She even managed to make it on TV while waiting in line for her Final Four T-shirt.

“So many students have had so much of their college experience scarred from the pandemic that just to have a night of just great celebration and fun and not worry about the next day seemed like something I could do,” Spinner-Halev said.

@hannahgracerose

university@dailytarheel.com

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