Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) hosted members of the Committee of Governance and Faculty Affairs (GFA) and Associate Professor of Government and Legal Studies Jeffrey Selinger Wednesday to discuss faculty attitudes about extending Thanksgiving break.
BSG President Paul Wang ’24 introduced preliminary data from the all-school BSG survey asking students their opinions regarding the extension of Thanksgiving break. So far, there have been 850 responses with the vast majority of respondents in support of extending the break.
In prefacing questions from the BSG, Selinger stated that the faculty do not have the final say over extending Thanksgiving break, but rather will offer their recommendation to President Safa Zaki, who will make the ultimate decision.
BSG asked Selinger about current faculty opinion on an extended Thanksgiving break. Selinger noted skepticism from faculty regarding a break extension given uncertainty about how many students actually supported the change. Faculty were also concerned about impacts of an extended break on international students and first-generation and low-income students, who historically are more likely to spend Thanksgiving on campus. The BSG survey responses aim to ease some of that skepticism and provide clarity for GFA and President Zaki.
Selinger also raised the faculty concern about a possible increase in carbon emissions from more students traveling home if Thanksgiving break were extended. BSG representatives countered that the increased opportunity to visit family and loved ones outweighs the emissions impacts of more students traveling home.
Regarding the faculty vote on Thanksgiving break at the December 1 faculty meeting, Selinger explained to BSG that the faculty will vote twice. First, there will be a yes or no vote on extending Thanksgiving break. If the affirmative wins, there will then be a ranked-choice vote of the five options outlined at the October 13 faculty meeting which detail the logistics of extending the break.
BSG will reconvene the Wednesday following Thanksgiving break.