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Fall break simmers on back burner

Nov. 10, 1998


Staff Writer

Even with Thanksgiving just around the corner and the end of the fall semester rapidly approaching, students continue to seek the addition of a fall break to the university calendar.

President Robert B. Sloan Jr. said the calendar is not set in stone, but he has a few concerns about offering an extra break in the fall.

'Whatever we do, we must not compromise academic integrity,' Sloan said. 'I do not favor reducing the number of classroom days. If there's a way to have the fall break that retains the same number of class days, enhances our academic experience and does not detract from student life, I'm certainly willing to consider options.'

Sloan said in order to have a fall break, fall classes would have to start earlier.

'That's one of the things that would almost certainly have to happen,' Sloan said. 'Then you create another series of problems related to move-in day. We've got move-in day on a weekend which is really a family and student-friendly thing to do because otherwise, people have to take days off work. We did that because families requested it.'

Kristi Dewese, a Mesquite senior, said students need a fall break, and it would be ideal to have one in the middle of October.

'We need a fall break because there aren't any breaks between the first of school and Thanksgiving,' Dewese said. 'Most students want a Friday and a Monday off. If they let us have a break, I promise everyone would study the whole time!'

Dewese also said this is not the first time she has heard people requesting a break during the long weeks of fall.

'People have been talking about this since I was a sophomore,' Dewese said. 'Every year, we wonder if it's really gonna happen, but it never does.'

Sloan said part of the problem is the spacing in the fall semester, and it would be difficult for a the university to find an ideal time for a fall break.

'If you go exactly in the middle, then it's up too close to Thanksgiving, and if you split the difference between the beginning of the semester and Thanksgiving, then it's too early,' Sloan said. 'We have the Thanksgiving break, and shortly after that you get to finals. Once you get to Thanksgiving, the semester is almost over. It's not that easy.'

Kendra Waldrop, a Kingwood sophomore, agreed students should have a fall break.

'It would be nice to have an extended weekend,' Waldrop said. 'I think one of the first weekends in October would be ideal.'

Sloan also said student opinion is important in the decision, but it is not the final consideration.

'It's an important factor, but we don't run the university based on polls,' Sloan said. 'I really do think it's legitimate for us to look at and give a fair consideration. A lot of times there are creative ways to do things that until you really sit down and think about it, look at it and get a lot of input on it, you might not come up with something.'

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