UM to end 'Michigan time' on May 1

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Time is running out on a University of Michigan policy that allows classes to start 10 minutes after they are actually scheduled to begin.

People move through the Diag on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Oct. 17, 2017.

The policy, known as "Michigan time," will be phased out on May 1, the first day of the spring semester, the university announced Monday. It was instituted to allow for transfer time between classes on the 3,207-acre campus. 

That transfer time will instead be shifted to the end of the class period.

The change was announced Monday in The University Record, an in-house publication for UM faculty and staff. 

While the shift may seem minor, "Michigan Time" is a longstanding tradition at the university. 

A Michigan Daily story announcing the change says "Michigan time" dates back to the 1930s, and that discussions on modifying the tradition have been ongoing since at least the mid-1990s.

"Students and professors used to time their classes according to the chimes of the Burton Tower at the beginning of each hour, and Michigan time was officially adopted to allow students to get from class to class without being late," The Daily wrote. "Now, to allow for students to get to back-to-back classes, all classes will stop 10 minutes before the hour."

UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said that provost Martin Philbert made the decision to switch from "Michigan time' to clock time "after broad consultation with the university's executive officer, the deans of the 19 schools and colleges, the division of student life and others on campus."

Fitzgerald says UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint are already on clock time.