Discussion renews idea of fall break

by Emily Landgraf

The possibility of a one day break during the next fall semester was raised at the Student Senate meeting on Tuesday. Dean of Students Anthony Campbell discussed the proposal with the assembled students.

According to Campbell, students and faculty members have been asking for years about the possibility of a fall break. A similar proposal was made last year, but did not go into action because of potential complications with the exam schedule.

Campbell outlined the basics of the proposal to the Student Senate: Classes would start on Monday, Sept. 9, the Monday after Labor Day.Students would get a day off on Monday, Oct. 12, making the break a long weekend in the middle of the semester.

The break requires some adjustments at the end of the semester. Classes would end on Monday, Dec. 14, which falls during Week 14 of the semester. That Tuesday would be a Reading Day, and exams would be held on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week, and would resume on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the following week.

Exam blocks would remain the same, and the last day of exams, falling on Dec. 23, would be a light day. This proposal will go into effect on both the Lawrenceville and Westminster campuses if it is approved.

After the basics of the proposal were explained, the floor was opened for debate. There were many conflicting opinions. Many of the students thought that the proposal was very strong, and that students and faculty members would appreciate the break.

One student voiced his opinion that this break would go a long way to show support for the Westminster students who have been “wanting this break for a long time.”

Other students, however, voiced numerous concerns about the proposal. When asked if students would be able to stay at Rider over the break, Campbell assured the students that this
would be possible.

“We couldn’t possibly close everything because we can’t force everyone to go home and then come back,” he said. “It would just be a long weekend, so students could stay if they wanted to.”

Several students were also concerned about the effect this break could have on those who have to travel long distances to get home for Christmas, as well as students who take night
classes and students at the College of Continuing Studies. Students also expressed concern over how close to Christmas the semester would end.

According to Campbell, the exam on the last Wednesday is for an unpopular class time slot, and the likelihood of many students having to stay until then is slim.

SGA Vice President Jon Chebra, a senior, expressed his approval for the proposal. He thinks the break would be a positive thing for the students on both campuses.

“Who doesn’t want a long weekend smack dab in the middle of the semester?” he said.

Chebra also said that it would show SGA’s commitment to work with the Westminster students. According to Chebra, a similar proposal was introduced last year by Westminster’s SGA vice president, but did not succeed. He believes that acceptance of this policy would show a willingness to collaborate with Westminster.

Chebra agreed with Campbell’s assessment about the late ending of the semester if the proposal is approved.

“It’s only one day,” Chebra said. “As Dean Campbell said, it’s not a popular time slot for classes or exams, so it probably won’t affect too many students.”

SGA Secretary Frank Romano, a junior, did not share Chebra’s sentiments.

“It’s only one extra day, but it makes the semester seem longer,” said Romano.

Romano also expressed concern for the Resident Advisors (RA) on campus.

“I’m an RA, and we usually have to stay later than everyone else, so it seems like we’re at a disadvantage there,” he said.

Romano also believes that the semester ending so close to Christmas will present a challenge to those traveling home for the holidays, and to those who work over the break. SGA Treasurer Alex D’Amico, a senior, agreed with Romano’s views on the proposal. He said that it seemed like too much work to rearrange the schedule for one day.

A motion for a vote on the subject was made, but it was decided that the proposal needed to be discussed further.

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