Thanksgiving break to include Wednesday

Beginning next fall semester, classes will no longer be held the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Season of plenty · Students serve themselves at the Thanksgiving Dinner held by President Nikias. The Thanksgiving holiday for USC students has been extended to include the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. - Daniel Wang | Daily Trojan

In a survey conducted by the Undergraduate Student Government last year, 93.2 percent of students interviewed said they supported having an extra day for Thanksgiving break. USG had been lobbying for this additional day for more than two years, according to Maya Babla, USG chief of staff.

The number of class days during the fall semester will now be shortened from 72 to 71 instructional days, and the university will not hold another day of classes to make up for it.

“With the extra day, students will have more freedom to travel for Thanksgiving, particularly the out-of-state students,” said Kenneth Servis, dean of Academic Records and Registrar. “I do not think that there will be severe consequences for extending the break.”

USG President Chris Cheng said adding an extra day to Thanksgiving break has been a top priority for USG.

“USG is extremely excited about this development. It is something we’ve been working very hard on and it is motivating to see such a great result,” Cheng said.

Kara Ludke, a freshman from Michigan majoring in theatre, said the extra day is beneficial for out-of-state students like her who have to spend more time traveling for the holidays.

“Having classes that day just wasn’t fair for out-of-state students, because if they went to class like they were supposed to, they would most likely spend all Thursday, the actual holiday of Thanksgiving, traveling,” she said.

Some students, though, said the extra day will not make a difference.

“That means we still don’t have a full break,” said Charlotte Chan, a junior majoring in environmental engineering. “Now I will just want to skip both Monday and Tuesday and be home for the whole week.”

Cheng said the decision ultimately came from the Academic Calendar Committee’s recommendation to the Provost, whose support helped pass the measure.

Ravi Agarwal, USG director of Academic Affairs, had also been working on the issue by lobbying the Board of Trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee for its support. Presentations were given to the board showing student survey results and research on comparable institutions.

Even though all the support and research for the idea was presented last year, the Academic Calendar Committee only meets every three years, Agarwal explained in an e-mail. Their last meeting took place before winter break, allowing the initiative to officially pass in December.

Cheng emphasized that the university’s diverse community was a major factor in determining the extended break.

“USC is no longer just a regional university and with students from all over the country and world, it is appropriate that the university adjust its policy to support its students,” Cheng said.