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Spring break might get a holiday

Shamrocks, leprechauns and pots of gold. These traditional images associated with St. Patrick’s Day can be found in windows and stores across campus when March rolls around.

But during the academic year of 2009-2010, these stereotypical characters might not be the only things associated with the Irish holiday.

According to Liesl Dye, an Undergraduate Student Government senator on the committee for Academic Affairs, spring break may be pushed back a week in order to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day.

‘The Academic Affairs committee and I wrote up a report on the effects a change such as this would have on the academic community,’ she said. ‘We looked at other programs in different schools and for the most part, the idea seems to be effective.’

The change was proposed after a minority of students celebrating the holiday began attracting attention from the University and the city.

‘Students were showing up to class intoxicated, some were getting sick in class and there were reported incidents of vandalism walking to and from the bars,’ Michael Ginsburg, the associate dean of students, said. ‘It has not been the greatest representation for the students by those [intoxicated] minorities.’

With St. Patrick’s Day occurring during spring break, both Ginsburg and Dye hope this problem will be eliminated.

‘I feel, not only will it eliminate the issues on St. Patrick’s Day, but it will help students with their academic problems as well,’ Ginsburg said. ‘A lot of students are really burned out by the time spring break rolls around.’

With spring break taking place a week later than usual, students would be given more time to catch up on long-standing projects and forgotten assignments before going off on vacations or back home.

‘Right now, I feel that it’s too early,’ Ginsburg said. ‘It creeps up on you and no one seems to be ready for it.’

However, Dye noted that there are also negative aspects that must be mentioned when discussing the change.

‘Even if we move [spring break], students still might be drinking at home,’ she said. ‘We are concerned with the welfare of the students, and if they continue this behavior while away from school anyway, then there is really no point in changing.’

Local business owners may also be negatively affected by the change, Dye said. Because of the break, students would not be around for the holiday, which could lead to a drop in sales.

And although the potential change may seem to only affect the BGSU community, it is actually becoming quite controversial within other universities as well.

According to Dye, a perpetual academic year calendar for the University was created and approved by the BGSU faculty senate and provost in the 1980s. This meant that calendar dates, such as spring break, would experience no changes from year to year.

However, the break was moved from the end of March to the beginning of March during 1996.

The finalized calendar was then adopted by a number of schools in northwest Ohio who based their own academic calendars around BGSU’s.

‘Because other schools adopted our calendar, this issue is turning into a little firestorm,’ Dye said. ‘It might seem like a small change, but because of the impact, it’s major.’

USG President Johnnie L. Lewis agrees with the change but feels there is no need for the dilemma the idea has caused.

‘For those students who have heard about the issue, I’m sure most of them don’t really care,’ he said. ‘They will get to celebrate a holiday and have days off school at the same time.’

And though the issue is currently causing controversy, Dye hopes that by the time 2010 rolls around, all problems will be cleared up.

‘It’s a good idea and I’m happy with it,’ she said. ‘It needs some clarification in some aspects, but overall I feel great about it.’

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