Students who hail from far-flung corners of the country and cannot travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday can take heart in a proposal put forward to the faculty on Monday.
The proposal, spearheaded by Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs Margaret Hazlett and Associate Professor of Psychology Suzanne Lovett, recommends a week long Thanksgiving break. Under the plan, the lost teaching days would be recovered with the elimination of the Tuesday of fall break and by applying a Monday/Wednesday schedule to the first Friday of the semester.
Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) first suggested the extension of Thanksgiving break last fall, stating in a November 10 resolution that the current system constitutes "geographic discrimination" against students who live far from Maine. BSG President Derek Brooks, a West Coaster himself, explained that expensive trips home are not practical for a five-day break.
"For me to go to California and come back, it's not really a lot of time," he said.
Hazlett said the administration sympathized with students from distant regions. She added that the current calendar is "based more on a student population that was from New England rather than what it is today, with more than 50 percent of students coming from outside New England."
BSG has not yet endorsed the proposal submitted to faculty, since its own plan from last November did not involve shortening fall break. Brooks is hesitant to accept this change.
"We think the fall break is necessary. The question is, does having only Monday off constitute a break," he said.
Brooks says BSG plans to conduct a survey in the coming weeks to see if the student body supports the proposal from the administration.
Hazlett cannot predict whether the proposal will pass, but says she is optimistic. She did acknowledge that music, science and language professors have raised concerns over the proposed changes, due to the pacing of their courses.
Hazlett and Brooks both encourage students to make their voices heard regarding the proposal.
"My recommendation is that if you really like this idea, talk to your faculty. Let them know. The biggest concern I've heard from faculty is that students might actually not want this," Brooks said.