Thanksgiving break will remain an eat-and-run affair after the faculty voted on Monday to keep the College's time off for turkey a brief three days.
Had it passed, the proposal would have extended Thanksgiving break—which currently starts on a Wednesday—to a full week. Faculty would have recovered the lost Monday and Tuesday by removing the Tuesday from fall break and converting the first Friday of the semester to a Monday/Wednesday schedule.
At this point, the decision is fairly cemented.
"There's always a chance that something could be done, but somebody has to step up. I'm not really optimistic," said Associate Professor of Psychology for Advising Suzanne Lovett, who helped pen the proposal.
Despite the results of a student body survey conducted by the College, which showed that 57 percent of students supported the proposal, faculty voted it down 47-28, with one abstention.
The College's survey revealed that a full 94 percent of students support an extension of Thanksgiving break, though 37 percent of those did not support the proposal as they wanted to maintain the length of fall break. The survey also showed that 84 percent of students would be able to travel home during a weeklong Thanksgiving break, as opposed to the 64 percent who return home under the current schedule. Sixty-five percent of the student body responded to the survey.
Some faculty said their departments would be particularly adversely affected by the proposal.
Chair of the Department of Music Robert Greenlee said that an extended break would harm campus musical groups by limiting the number of weekends available for their performances.
"A lot goes on here beyond the classroom. Twelve or 13 performances on one weekend—that would be a real nightmare. I urge you to vote no. I'm sympathetic to students' concerns, but don't think this is the solution," said Greenlee at the meeting.
Language instructors raised concerns, about the disruption caused by a weeklong break, citing the difficulties of losing practice time while learning a language.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy Sarah Conly, who does not believe that the faculty or curriculum would be encumbered by a weeklong break, disputed their claims.
"The cost to faculty is insignificant, and the gain to students is significant," she said.
Director of the Counseling Service and Wellness Programs Bernie Hershberger also voiced his support for the proposal.
"There is a staccato nature to fall term, and stopping and starting is hard. Taking more time off honors families and family traditions. It's not that we're going to eliminate stress, but we need recovery time from stress and this break will enable that," he said.
Students' responses to the faculty's decision were generally unfavorable.
"Having the professors vote on it wasn't a real representation of what the school wanted. The whole idea behind it was for a greater benefit to the students," said Thomas Reed '15. "I'm inclined to say the professors are out of touch, but that does seem a little harsh."
"The faculty all live around here, so they don't have to travel. I'm surprised students didn't have more of a say," said Gabby Lubin '14.
Reacting to the announcement of the proposal's rejection on the Orient Express, an anonymous commentor under the pseudonym 'Poor Student' commented: "This is BS for every single person who cannot afford to go home for 2 days: this school needs to start welcoming, accepting and embracing the socioeconomic diversity in the school."
Some students, however, actually felt that the proposal would have disadvantaged less well-off peers. "I have the financial means to go home, but there are still people who wouldn't be able to," said Ana Ibanez '14. "It's unfair to leave them here for over a week. It would be nice to have the week off, but I understand the decision."
Lovett does not fault the faculty for being unresponsive to students' opinions.
"If it were 90 percent of students who were willing to give up that Tuesday [of Fall Break] to have a week at Thanksgiving, that might have been more convincing," she said. "But it was 57 percent, and that might not have been enough to sway faculty away from concerns they might have."