Graduate Student Assembly proposes weeklong Thanksgiving break

Neelam Bohra

The Graduate Student Assembly proposed instituting a weeklong Thanksgiving or fall break at its meeting Wednesday.

Students have two holidays during the fall semester — three days for Thanksgiving and one for Labor Day — according to the Office of the Registrar‘s website. The assembly supports adding two days to the fall semester holidays by either the addition of a four-day weekend during the semester, or extending Thanksgiving break to a week, said Kathryn Abercrombie, GSA legislative affairs director.

“There are a bunch of reasons for this, one being mental health,” said Abercrombie, a public affairs and business administration graduate student. “The whole point is that we need to increase days off for the sanity of students, faculty and staff.”

In the 2019-20 academic calendar, the spring semester has four more class days and one more day off than the fall semester, according to the Office of the Registrar’s website. 

Another reason the assembly proposed the resolution is the long periods of time between fall semester breaks. There are 85 days between Labor Day and the first day of Thanksgiving Break, according to the Office of the Registrar’s website. In comparison, spring break is 54 days into the semester, and 49 days away from the end of the semester, according to the Office of the Registrar’s website.

The University Academic Calendar Committee of the Faculty Council initially proposed adding two days to fall break, which GSA supported, according to the resolution. GSA Vice President Kathleen Holloway said GSA proposed a similar resolution four years ago, which led the Faculty Council to add the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to fall break.

“Having a full week may be hard,” said Holloway, a human development and family sciences doctoral student. “Faculty are set in their ways. They’ll say, ‘We just added Wednesday, why do we need to add more?’ But the (University Academic Calendar) Committee is talking about this, and they’re excited about us talking about it.”

The calendar could make up for two lost class days by starting the fall semester on Monday rather than Wednesday, according to the resolution.
GSA President Christina Baze said repeating legislation helps make change. 

“A lot of what we do is repetitive,” said Baze, a STEM education doctoral student. “A lot of power comes from repeating what past administrations have pushed for and wanted. If it’s been asked before, we shouldn’t hesitate to ask again.”