Provost Michael Quick announced the implementation of a two-day break during the Fall semester in a memorandum sent to the USC community Wednesday. The break will take place in October around the eighth week of the semester starting in 2019.
In his memo, Provost Quick acknowledged the Academic Calendar Committee for working to create the new recess, and thanked the Undergraduate Student Government for their advocacy in creating the fall break. He said that while classes will be suspended, USC facilities will remain open.
Last fall, a proposal to implement a fall break was approved by the USG Senate, the Graduate Student Government Senate, the Academic Senate and the Faculty Senate.
USG Vice President Blake Ackerman said the fall break proposal has been a USG initiative for the past few years, and has benefitted from the work of past USG officials, including former presidents Rini Sampath, Austin Dunn, Edwin Saucedo and Andrew Menard.
“It was really about getting all the right campus partners to get on board with it,” Ackerman said. “It’s been a long time in the making.”
The faculty senate previously didn’t approve the break because it believed students would take advantage of the break rather than focus on their mental health. However, USG collaborated with the Engemann Student Health Center to compile data that showed a significant increase in demand for counseling around the eighth week of the fall semester, the Daily Trojan previously reported.
“The problem we face as USC students is that during the stretch from Labor Day to Thanksgiving break, USC students have 56 instructional days without any break,” Dunn said to the Daily Trojan last October. “Without a consolidated midterm schedule and the absence of a break, students soon begin to feel overwhelmed.”
Ackerman said that the fall break is important for students’ mental health.
“The culture around campus becomes very toxic around midterms and finals,” Ackerman said. “We need that time to destress, and its a step in the right direction for the culture we’re trying to create around prioritizing mental health.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to include statements from USG Vice President Blake Ackerman.