Faculty senate rejects extended Thanksgiving break resolution

SGA President Ralph Akalonu speaks to SGA Senate during a weekly meeting early in the 2011-2012 year. The senate’s Thanksgiving resolution was rejected March 15.

Though the SGA has spent months researching for and drafting a resolution to extend Thanksgiving break to one week instead of three days, members of the faculty senate came to a majority decision March 15 to reject the resolution.

The resolution originally called for the removal of fall break and proposed that classes begin Tuesday instead of Wednesday of the fall 2012 semester. The SGA’s resolution would attempt to make up the two lost days by implementing such changes in the academic calendar.

SGA President Ralph Akalonu said he was shocked to learn of the faculty senate’s decision to reject the resolution and thinks next year’s SGA will have to return to the drawing board if members decide to pursue this concept again.

“I am surprised because SGA spent a lot of time with this, and what I think SGA is going to do now maybe in the foreseeable future is hold off on continuing to pursue the extended Thanksgiving break,” he said. “But, we’re not dropping the idea because students really want it, and SGA will keep advocating for it.”

Darlene Townsend, president of faculty senate, said the senate decided against the Thanksgiving break resolution because it did not account for undergraduate classes that only meet on Monday afternoon and would lose an entire class period with no opportunity to make the course up under the proposed changes in the SGA resolution.

She said this is the second consecutive year SGA has attempted to extend Thanksgiving break to an entire week.

“The SGA did make great steps forward to address some of the issues that were raised last year,” Townsend said. “I think they need to consider the (academic) calendar a little more closely and talk to the different department chairs because they all have different needs.”

The SGA voted in favor of the extended Thanksgiving break resolution Jan. 26 to benefit all students, especially nontraditional and international students who are affected by the current length of the Thanksgiving break, Akalonu said.

The resolution states that nontraditional students with children who are in school have trouble with the current Thanksgiving holiday because they have to miss UNA classes or find a babysitter for their children who receive an entire week off from school for the break.

International students, as well as those who live further distances from the university, are also affected because they are unable to travel home for the holiday due to having such a short break.

Additionally, the resolution states that the shorter Thanksgiving break does not allot enough time for students to get ahead on studying and other college projects.

SGA conducted a poll through Facebook earlier in the academic year and found that the majority of UNA students voted in favor of a longer Thanksgiving break and would be willing to make the necessary changes to see such changes come to light.

SGA adviser Tammy Jacques said more students should speak their minds about the extended Thanksgiving break if they want to see a similar resolution succeed in the future.

“If students really want this, they need to voice their opinions to the senators and the rest of SGA and help SGA continue to pursue this or tweak the (resolution) proposal again.”