Former faculty senate chair and Interim Associate Dean for Faculty of Business Administration Janet Hecsh urges the faculty senate to consider a longer fall holiday during the Faculty Senate meeting on Oct. 6. (Photo by Rin Carbin)
Former faculty senate chair and Interim Associate Dean for Faculty of Business Administration Janet Hecsh urges the faculty senate to consider a longer fall holiday during the Faculty Senate meeting on Oct. 6. (Photo by Rin Carbin)

Potential holiday extension tabled for another year

Faculty Senate members debated whether Sacramento State should extend the fall holiday coinciding with Thanksgiving Day to include the whole week, include the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day or keep the academic calendar the same during the Oct. 6 Faculty Senate meeting.

Former faculty senate chair Janet Hecsh, now the interim associate dean for Faculty of Business Administration, said during the meeting that left as is, the week is problematic for students.

“Is it humane to ask students to be here on Wednesday when Thursday is a national holiday and the most traversed day of the year?” Hecsh asked.

While some professors like Hecsh believe that an extended fall holiday is in order, others such as recreation, parks and tourism administration professor Anthony Sheppard said that adding even one extra day is not as easy as it sounds.

“Even it it’s one day, you still have to put (that day) somewhere else,” Sheppard said. “You run the risk of having a weird semester that starts on a Friday … where nobody would show up anyway, so you just move your problem.”

Economics professor Ta-Chen Wang described a more drastic consequence of adding an extra day or week to the fall holiday.

“If we make these kind of adjustments, we have to give up something substantial. Not just a day here or there, but we have to remove a period of time in which students could take classes,” said Wang, alluding to the removal of winter intersession or summer classes if the holiday were to be extended.

The 2017-2018 academic calendar was approved as is and the discussion of extending the fall holiday was put on hold due to time constraints.

The extension of the fall holiday is not a new question for the faculty senate.

A previous attempt to have a fall break that would coincide with Thanksgiving Day was rejected by an earlier senate, according to English professor Hellen Lee.

Lee also warned other members of the faculty senate about cancelling Wednesday classes for this year’s Thanksgiving in a reminder of the Provost’s stance on professors canceling class arbitrarily.

Child development professor Amber Gonzalez opined that cultural considerations must be made when debating the issue.

“Especially because we are an HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) that means we serve students of color,” Gonzalez said. “Oftentimes, in their cultures, in their communities, family is very important to them. These students need — not want -— to go home. I hear students every day (say) ‘I need to replenish my soul with my family.’ ”

Sacramento State was named a Hispanic-Serving Institution in February of 2015 after the full-time undergraduate enrollment rate for Hispanics/Latinos was found to have reached 25 percent by data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. Being designated as an HSI allows Sacramento State to receive specific federal grants.

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