ASLU resolution emphasizes the importance of midweek break

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On Monday, March 8, the Associated Students of Linfield University (ASLU) sent a resolution to the McMinnville campus addressing student concerns surrounding midweek breaks. At an ASLU senate meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 23, student representatives shared frustrations from members of the student body who still had mandatory classes during the first midweek break on Feb. 9. 

The resolution, written by ASLU Vice President Michayla Sponsel, asked faculty to respect the upcoming midweek break day on March 10. It was originally sent to administrators who forwarded it to their respective faculty on March 3. Students on the McMinnville campus received the resolution March 8.

“It might not be ideal for the teaching of material, but the downstream effects of burnout and poor mental health for students and faculty are less ideal. With that, we are asking that all faculty and students take the midweek break seriously and do not hold lectures, labs, or ‘optional’ class meetings,” the resolution stated. 

In a Linfield University press release posted Oct. 19, 2020, Jill King, an employee in the office of strategic communications, announced the decision to include three, one-day midweek breaks in the schedule. Instead of a typical spring break, three days were scheduled throughout the spring semester to give students a pause and encourage them to relax while staying on campus. 

As King said, because administrators want to “condense the schedule in an attempt to keep students safely inside ‘campus bubbles,’” consecutive days off during the school year have been limited.

In these fast-paced academic settings, students are burning out fast. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, 71 percent of students experienced an increase in stressors due to mental health and 82 percent stated increased concerns for their academic performances.

“While one day might not seem like a huge deal to some, to others it can make a world of difference whether it is for their mental health, motivation, or even simply their grades,” Sponsel wrote in the resolution.

While many students appreciate a day off, some reported that midweek breaks feel awkward and disrupt their normal routine, especially for those with a science lab.

“I believe science classes are largely disadvantaged because of these breaks, We have to reschedule our entire weeks every time we have one of these days due to figuring out when we can fit in time to get into the lab,” Nicole Bender, a sophomore in ecology and chemistry labs, said.

“Having breaks in the middle of the week often throws you off routine and can be stressful to adjust to,” she said.

Stella Davis, a sophomore in the pre-nursing program, said she has to reschedule her Wednesday lab because of the break, and due to limited capacity, it may be difficult to fit a different time into her schedule.

Davis explained that missing a lab day means that she won’t get to hear the curriculum that will inevitably be on the test. 

“I feel more stressed with the midweek break, because I have to rearrange other parts of my week to make sure I get a lab time that works,” she said. “Not to make it sound like my teacher isn’t doing his best because he totally is. He even offered to come in an extra day.”

After the resolution was presented to administrators last week, Linfield provost and vice president of academic affairs Susan Agre-Kippenhan confirmed how important it is to maintain these select days off.

“I have to tell you, I am absolutely in support of the resolution from students because of our commitment to give students a break, and recognizing that, you know, there’s a lot of stress on everybody, and taking time away is critical,” Agre-Kippenhan said. 

She is sympathetic to the lab classes, but still finds it necessary to give students time off. “I really believe that it is in the best interest of our students to get this break,” she said.

A handful of students who spoke to The Linfield Review wished to remain anonymous. They echoed the need for time off from classes, but also recognized how hard their professors were working to adapt their curriculum for the midweek breaks.