For more than two years the Student Senate has been promoting a mid-October Fall Break. Their resolutions and supporting arguments have been increasingly refined, culminating in a May 2005 "Proposal for a Fall Break." The Staff Senate Executive Committee on August 18 endorsed the fall break concept in a letter to Vice Provost James Brink; on August 31, however, the Staff Senate decided to undertake further study of the issue.
The Faculty Senate examined this issue on December 8, 2004, March 9, 2005, and May 11, 2005, and September 14, 2005. Senators are divided. Many would accept a break if it could be implemented without greatly disrupting calendars and curricula. However, most proposals would at least sacrifice pre-graduation-ceremony diploma certification (by running final examinations up through the Friday prior to graduation). Some academic schedules do not fit easily into a fall break calendar: Law School, already stretched for sufficient mandated days, would need to opt out; chemistry labs, which require set-up time and coordinated schedules, are difficult to rearrange in mid week; Biological Sciences and Geo-Sciences have registered similar complaints. October theater productions could be disrupted. A Senate committee report lists various concerns with any fall break proposal. Discussions on May 11 still did not produce any resolution, as indicated by a summary letter from President Wilde. When the Faculty Senate addressed the issue again in its meeting on September 14, it voted on five contradictory fall break motions, ultimately passing one endorsing a full week break at Thanksgiving (actions summarized in a report to President Whitmore). Representatives of the Student Government pledge to continue their drive to obtain a mid-October fall break.