Debate rages concerning vacation days

Debate rages concerning vacation days

Randy Georges

Debate rages concerning vacation days

With the Thanksgiving break around the corner, students get their first break since Labor Day. But many students think there should have been a break before now.

“I feel as though we need more days off the first semester,” said Jason Givens, senior CIS major.

Givens said the fall semester lasts from August to Thanksgiving break with only a Labor Day break. He said from his understanding, the reason Missouri Southern does not have a fall break is because the administration wants students to get their money’s worth.

“That’s no way to treat a student,” he said. “They say you get your money’s worth. Please, give us a break.”

Givens said he does not think a couple of days out of the semester would be a waste of students’ money.

University President Julio León said he does not want a fall break at Southern. He said he has not heard a good academic reason for a break.

“We feel the calendar is OK as it is,” León said. “We feel the time and teaching in the classroom is valuable. That’s how we approach it.”

Givens said Missouri Southern has made progress by dismissing classes on snow days. He said Southern needs a fall break because it is a stress reliever for students.

“We need to start satisfying the students,” Givens said. “They like to compare themselves to other schools, but it comes to the students’ standpoint, they don’t want to compare themselves to other schools.”

He said prospective students do not look at a college because of its academic calendar.

He said he knows Pittsburg State University has a fall break, as well as most other colleges in Missouri.

Givens said it is not just his voice in this matter.

During the academic vice president search, students had the opportunity to meet with each candidate, and during every meeting, students asked the candidates’ opinions on a fall break.

Ryan Hill, senior accounting major, also said he believes Southern needs a fall break.

“The middle of the semester gets long,” Hill said. “It would be nice to have a break right after midterms.”

He said he guesses the reason Southern does not have a break is to have enough class days to have a longer Thanksgiving break.

Kim Bogart, freshman early childhood education major, said a fall break would be nice, but she does not think it is needed.

“With a break, we would get a time away from school, but that break gets our minds off school and we could forget everything we learned,” Bogart said.

Givens said he would like to see the break around the middle of October.

“I hope in the future, as our university status continues, we can get a fall break,” Givens said. “I think we just definitely need it.”

León said there is no real mechanism in place to change the calendar. A proposal would have to be brought to the Board of Governors by the Faculty Senate or an academic council. Also, the Student Senate can bring the matter to the Governors’ attention.

Southern has 81 class days in the fall semester, including finals’ week.

In Missouri, Central Missouri State University is closest to Southern in class days with 78, but it has a one-day fall break as well. Truman State University has the fewest days of colleges of similar size to Southern. TSU has 74 days in the semester with one day for fall break and a reading day before finals.

Other schools in the area:

* Missouri Western State College: 75 class days with one-day fall break.

* Northwest Missouri State University: 75 class days with one-day “Walkout day” in October.

* PSU: 79 class days with two-day fall break.

* Southwest Baptist University: 77 class days with two-day fall break.

* Southwest Missouri State University: 77 class days with two-day fall break.

* University of Arkansas: 73 class days with one-day fall break.

* University of Missouri: 78 class days with no fall break, full week off for Thanksgiving and one reading day before finals.

* University of Tulsa: 76 days with no fall break and full week off for Thanksgiving.

Attempts to contact Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president for academic affairs, were unsuccessful.

Nate Billings, executive editor, contributed to this story.