Is the course syllabus a binding contract?

[Advice to Divisional Senate Chair Jeffrey Gibeling 5/10/2002]

An instructor is not in violation of Senate regulations when he or she alters the schedule of midterms, adds midterms, or assigns additional work to a class not indicated in the syllabus.  There is some vagueness in the rules, but the requirement that a syllabus be distributed has never meant that it had to be treated as binding contract covering all aspects of the course.  Even the word "anticipated"  in DDR 537(A)'s phrase "anticipated: topical content of the course, amount and kind of work expected, and examination and grading procedures" seems to permit some flexibility.  Anticipations are not always fulfilled.