USG presents resolution for addition of a fall break

first_imgUndergraduate Student Government presented a resolution to create a fall semester break for students on Tuesday night in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.Andrew Menard, USG president and one of the resolution’s principal authors, spoke out on the urgency of having a fall break.“This is something that students have advocated for a long time and really that advocacy has inspired us to continue working on this project,” Menard said. “We’re coming to a time when this fall break is more important than ever, as problems of mental health, stress and anxiety across college campuses are higher now than ever before, and are particularly amplified at intense academic institutions like USC. So this proposal in the most important one we’ve working on this year and will have the most positive impact on the largest number of students.”Another of the resolution’s authors, USG chief of staff Hassaan Ebrahim, mentioned that this proposal comes amid troubling health surveys of USC students. These studies show that 88.7 percent of domestic and 73.4 percent of international students report feeling “overwhelmed by all they had to do,” and that 6.4 percent of domestic and 2.5 percent of international students report having  seriously considered suicide.Hassan and Menard also highlighted that 24 of the top 30 universities in the U.S. News and World Report have at least one day off in the 11-week period between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. USC, however, is not among them.“When you go to USC, you’re competing with the smartest people in the world every day; so in order to help increase your academic performance, you need a break to recharge your batteries, and this is statistically proven,” Menard said.Menard said that there is an imbalance between the fall and spring semesters. During the fall semester there are 11 weeks of uninterrupted academic instruction, whereas during the spring semester the longest period of continuous instruction is 6 weeks.Menard also described the many academic, professional and interpersonal possibilities that a fall break would allow students.“You can take a biology trip to Catalina. You can do interviews for work and not miss class to do so, because on top of the pressure of your classes you also have the pressure to find an internship and a job,” Menard said. “Also, most of our students don’t get an opportunity to see their family until Thanksgiving or even until the holiday break.”The resolution’s authors stressed the significant popular support behind a fall break. According to one survey, 93 percent of USC students responded that they would “personally benefit from a fall break” and 96 percent responded that a fall break would promote mental health by allowing students to rest.Menard, who sits on the Academic Calendar Committee, also recounted the administrative support behind the resolution and the next steps involved.“We brought this up during the first semester and the majority of us voted for the proposal. Now, that proposal goes to the provost for an ultimate review. It doesn’t happen automatically, but it is our recommendation that he approve it,” Menard said.He further explained that the resolution should easily pass through the USG Senate but the final decision falls into the hands of either the interim provost or the future provost elect.“The resolution, without a doubt, will pass through the Senate, and then it will be delivered to President Nikias, the Interim Provost Michael Quick and the chairman of the academic Board of Trustees. It is unclear whether the current provost or the one that is about to be selected will decide, but the students and the academic calendar committee are behind it.”Menard concluded by stating one the primary hurdles in the approval of the resolution. He said that the biggest concern is over the fact that most faculty members do not want to have to submit grades so close to winter break.“The well-being of our students needs to be the primary concern. USC exists for its students. Does a two-day break solve everything? No, but it is a good start and it will definitely have a positive impact.last_img

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