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University polls students and staff about Fall Break

Administrators are considering changing when the break is scheduled.

The Office of the Provost is considering changing the structure of Fall Break, which has been a full week of no classes for the week of Thanksgiving for the past three years.

All students and faculty members accessed a mandatory poll after logging into their TUPortal accounts about two weeks ago. Its choices included keeping the current structure, only having Thursday and Friday off or having a four-day weekend in mid-October in addition to having Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off during Thanksgiving week.

Betsy Tutelman, the senior vice provost for strategic communications, said the poll was introduced to gauge how the university community felt about the current break.

“The provost and some of the senior leaders, in consultation with the Faculty Senate and others, just thought it might be interesting to see what people felt,” Tutelman said.

She added that other university schedules nationwide were considered as models when creating the new options in the poll. Results will not be disclosed until Provost JoAnne Epps discusses them with the Faculty Senate and other faculty members, Tutelman said.

Multiple students who spoke with The Temple News last week said they would prefer keeping the current week-long break.

“I think it’s kind of nice to just power through the semester up to a point and get a nice long break,” said Jeb Taylor, a sophomore psychology major. “As opposed to getting two shorter breaks that kind of break it up … and a lot of people probably wouldn’t get the opportunity to go home for Thanksgiving.”

One of those students affected would be Abigail Whitehead, a sophomore political science and global studies major from Dickson, Tennessee. Whitehead said a change to the schedule would prevent her from making the long commute.

“It would still be nice to have two separate breaks, but I’d rather go home,” Whitehead said.

Kareem Johnson, a psychology professor, would like to see a change. He voted for the October long-weekend option, citing the mental break it would provide for students earlier in the semester. He said he understands why students would want to travel home during break, but added winter break starts soon after finals.

“The problem is Thanksgiving is so close to Christmas that you’re already going to have that extended time to go home with family,” said Johnson, who has been at Temple for 11 years. “The earliest parts of the semester are where you need the mental adjustment. You came here, you gotta adjust out of your summer mode.”

Tutelman said Epps and other administrators from her office will discuss the results this week with faculty and decide whether they will change the schedule in the near future.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@temple.edu or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

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