Why doesn’t UNF have the full week of Thanksgiving off?

Nathan Turoff, Features Editor

Any and all students need breaks within the wind and grind of homework and jobs, but not all these breaks are created equal. For both the Spring and Fall semesters, there is a relatively large respite offered to students between the Winter and Summer break. For the Spring semester, this is the Spring Break typically offered in March, and for the fall semester, this is Thanksgiving Break which ends the month of November.

These two breaks are hardly similar though. For Spring Break, the whole week is off for students, leading to a total break of nine days including the two weekends. Thanksgiving Break on the other hand, is just three days off for what is essentially a glorified five-day weekend. This seems especially bizarre given how, unlike Spring Break, Thanksgiving Break is given to celebrate an official federal holiday, yet is only given half the time of Spring Break.

Some schools do give students the full week off for Thanksgiving, and last year, UNF was one of them. This was not to be continued though, as this year, UNF fell back to just the three days for Thanksgiving. UNF Registrar Chad Learch gave a statement on why this was the case.

The 2021/22 academic calendar instituted two non-instructional days in October as a Fall Break (also referred as Weather Days). These two non-instructional days were moved in an effort to provide a brief respite in the middle of the academic term. Subsequently, the October Fall Break non-instructional period has been approved through the 2023/24 academic year. Currently the UNF Calendar Committee is drafting the 2024/25 academic calendar.

So, it seems that the university decided to sacrifice the full week off for Thanksgiving in exchange for the four-day weekend a few weeks back, and this will stay the case for several years.

But what do UNF students think of this trade-off? Spinnaker set up an Instagram poll to see which set-up students preferred. The results are featured below.

Results of the Instagram Poll, compiled by Nathan Turoff.

Students who responded voted overwhelmingly in support of having the full week of Thanksgiving off. Of the 417 respondents, 378 preferred having the full week off for Thanksgiving Break, over 90 percent. Only 39 students favored the University’s current system of a “Fall Break” in October.

Unfortunately, the calendars for the next few years are already set in stone, but maybe the university will keep this student feedback in mind for the Academic Calendars that have yet to be finalized.


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