Education
5:21 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

UT Votes Against Fall Break

At a special meeting Monday afternoon, the general faculty of the University of Texas at Austin voted "no" on a proposal that would have given students a "fall break" of two more days off in October.

The proposal was fueled by student support, including from UT's Student Government and UT's Graduate Student Assembly. Diane Bailey, chair of UT's Academic Calendar Committee, said the proposal would have started the fall semester two days earlier to give students two days off in the middle of the semester. 

Bailey said the proposal was aimed mostly at helping incoming freshmen who are new to college and could possibly use a few days off to help the transition from high school to college.

27 faculty members voted for the proposal. 58 voted against it.

The meeting Monday afternoon was called only after a large amount of opposition to the proposal formed. The faculty council voted in support of the proposal in February, but more than 59 faculty members filed petitions against the proposal. Only 25 are needed in order for a special meeting to be called of the general faculty.

Many faculty members found issues with the idea of a fall break. In the College of Natural Sciences, for example, Alan Campion, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said the break  would disrupt lab schedules. Currently, UT has 12 full weeks of classes for labs. The fall break would mean there would be 11, not counting the first week of school.

If the general faculty had voted in favor of a fall break, the proposal would have gone to the UT System, with a recommendation from UT President William Powers. While waiting for votes to be counted, Powers would not say how he felt about the possibility of a fall break.

"Ultimately I have to make a recommendation one way or another to the board, and I'll take into consideration the issues that were raised on both sides of the issue," Powers said. "But I haven't made up my mind."

Because the general faculty voted against the proposal, Powers will not have to make a recommendation to the system.