UK is falling off trend, should implement a mid-October break for students

William+T.+Young+Library

William T. Young Library

Editorial Board

For years, the UK student body has lobbied for the implementation of a fall break. With the help of the Student Government Association, attempts to sway the administration have been to no avail. This year’s set of SGA officials are continuing to make strides toward giving UK students what they not only want, but need.

UK is the only school out of the eight public universities in the state that does not schedule a fall break for students. This in and of itself is enough to argue that UK officials should take a step back and think about adding this two-day pause in future fall schedules.

Gammon Fain, Chief of Staff to SGA President Ben Childress, has worked closely with the president in his attempt to argue the fall break case to the powers that be.

“Everything SGA does is driven by data, our student voice in some way or another form. We have our all student survey and we have a lot of data from that that shows, across the board students are pretty much in support of adding a fall break to the academic calendar,” Fain said.

Data from last year’s survey, put out around Thanksgiving and left open until spring, showed that 77.9 percent of students are in favor of a fall break and 11.63 percent of students said “maybe.” 82.56 percent of students favored a two-day break, with the remainder favoring one or no preference. The majority of students surveyed also said they would rather have their break in mid-October and begin the fall semester early.

The process of implementing a fall break into the academic calendar begins by lobbying the University Senate. Comprised of students and faculty across departments at UK, the University Senate controls all administrative regulations including AR statutes. The academic calendar falls under their jurisdiction as well.

A fall break has been in the works with the University Senate for years and current SGA officials are hopeful that this year they will be successful. SGA is attempting to help the Senate members understand more in depth the benefits of a mid-semester break for students in the fall.

While most skeptics of fall breaks believe students want this break to have more days off from school, mental health is the primary concern discussed in research and literature around this matter. At the time of year when most schools hold fall break, students are bogged down with mid-term exams and various campus activities and events.

“Having one or two days off in the middle of the semester can be beneficial to help students keep going,” Fain said.

The middle of the semester is where class assignments and stress begin to take the biggest toll on students of all majors. Further evidence of a necessary fall break is how broken up the spring semester academic calendar is. There are multiple breaks in the spring that benefit students’ mental health. In the fall, there are no days off between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

By adding a fall break to the academic calendar at the University of Kentucky, students would have the opportunity to come back refreshed and ready to do their best come finals. Hopefully this year’s Student Government officials will be able to finally convince the administration to do the right thing for future students.

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