Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Faculty senate nearing a resolution for fall semester breaks

Monday, November 5, 2018

The faculty senate considered the pros and cons of implementing the ideas of both a fall and Thanksgiving break at the end of its Oct. 31 meeting. The ideas have received considerable attention from the SGA at its two most recent meetings.

“What is best for the students?” asked Roberta Humphrey, Accounting, Economics and Finance faculty senator. “Isn’t that the whole issue, what is best for the students? Not what is best for the teachers or the administrators, but, what is best for the students?”

At the Student Government Association meeting Oct. 8, Jim McGill, a faculty senate representative and Chemistry and Physics senator, proposed ideas for new fall-semester breaks: a two-day fall break with a three-day Thanksgiving break, or a two-day fall break with the traditional, weeklong Thanksgiving break (if the fall semester starts two days early).

They have remained in the “idea” stages since some students, faculty and staff are still leery of adding a fall break to the academic calendar.

Student representative to faculty senate Renee Owens spoke on behalf of SGA at the senate meeting. She said SGA discussed the plan to start the fall semester two days early and the events that would require re-organizing as a result.

“Would the Move-In Day be on the weekend, and would Convocation be on Monday instead?” Owens asked. She said those were a couple obstacles that came to mind.

Interim provost Tamela Randolph said if the fall semester began two days early, the first day of classes would be on a Thursday and Move-In Day would be the Sunday prior (or Saturday for those with early move in privileges). She said this would result in Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday being empty of activities for residents.

Senators questioned why the normal activities would not be rescheduled to better accommodate residents, but Randolph said the Saturday and Sunday events are not going to be rescheduled.

Despite the scheduling conflict, Owens said students would prefer to start school early.

“From a student perspective, ranking the options, I think the first option would be to start earlier, then have the two days [fall break] and full [Thanksgiving] break,” Owens said.

She gave the three-day Thanksgiving break idea a low ranking, saying to lose days would make students upset.

“You induce students to say, ‘Well, I want to see my family and I am going to skip,’”

Said WIllie Redmond, Accounting, Economics and Finance senator.

He said he would rather see students have the ability to see their families for that weeklong period.

Randolph said beginning the fall semester on a Thursday would amount to residents paying more for room and board on the extra days.

With a three-day Thanksgiving break, however, students who cannot travel home and back within that time frame will still have to pay to stay on campus, Redmond said.

Faculty senate chair David Powell said if a bill passed granting a fall and Thanksgiving break, it would just get vetoed. He said unless a university-wide vote is initiated between stakeholders, he does not see the issue being resolved anytime soon.

The senate has scheduled Nov. 14 as the day senators will vote on the bill. They did not vote at the time of the meeting because the item was not on the agenda.