University students will find themselves less stressed out next fall if the University Board of Regents votes tomorrow in favor of a two-day study break every October.
In addition, an announcement of the members of the presidential search advisory committee may come at tomorrow”s regents meeting.
“People are being invited to serve” on the committee, said Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor). An announcement will be made when all the positions on the committee are offered and accepted.
Rackham Dean Earl Lewis heads the committee, which is to be comprised of seven faculty members, two staff members, two students, two alumni, and one representative each from the Dearborn and Flint campuses.
The Michigan Student Assembly has been actively pursuing a plan for a fall break since last semester and has worked closely with the administration in planning it. Interim Provost Lisa Tedesco has recommended the proposal to the regents, who are scheduled to meet at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Fleming Administration Building.
MSA President Matt Nolan said the fall break would give students time to catch up on work, relieve stress on campus and increase students” health.
“The fall break project is really a testament to the fact that when students think out what they want and work through the system that”s been set up and really dig in and put thought into it, the University will recognize solid student concerns and is willing to address those issues,” Nolan said.
The regents have the final say in whether the fall break will be incorporated into the academic calendar.
“While they have the power to (reject the proposal), there”s no incentive for them to do it,” Nolan said.
Regent Andrea Fisher Newman (R-Ann Arbor) expressed concerns about the proposal at the last regents meeting. Regent Katherine White (D-Ann Arbor) questioned whether athletic programs would see the long weekend as an opportunity to host events, which might defeat the purpose of a study break for some students.
But Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor) said she supports the proposal.
“I”m all for it. The time has come,” she said yesterday.
Regent Olivia Maynard (D-Goodrich) said she was also in favor of the proposal.
“I”m not saying it”s going to be a unanimous decision, but I don”t think it will have any problem passing,” she said. “Matt really did his homework.”
The proposed break would be Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 14 and 15 in next year”s fall calendar. To make up for missed time, classes would start the day after Labor Day Tuesday, Sept. 3 next year instead of the following day. This would shorten the University”s Welcome Week by one day but would have no effect on the ending date for classes. Classes would end Wednesday, Dec. 11, and the last day of finals is scheduled to be Friday, Dec. 20.
The proposal would not affect the winter term.
The regents will also be asked tomorrow to approve changes to the athletic bylaws proposed by University President Lee Bollinger.
The changes would modify the name of the Board in Control to be the Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics.
The plan has come under fire in the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs. SACUA Chair Moji Navvab plans to speak to the regents and submit a letter expressing SACUA”s concerns.
“Basically, our concerns are that we do not want to dilute the faculty governance in the board of control,” said SACUA Vice Chair Jack Gobetti, a Dentistry professor, who added that the power of the two students and two alumni on the board would also be diminished.
The Board in Control has a say in financial and academic matters in the University”s athletic program. The Advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics would be purely advisory.
The changes would give the president of the University the final say in athletic matters and would give the faculty control over only those matters related to academics. The modified Board in Control would no longer have power over the athletic director.
Gobetti said he feels the changes would leave open the possibility that the athletic director could nominate faculty members who might not put student athletes” academic interests first.
“The athletic director, by nature of the beast, is looking at an athlete who happens to be a student,” he said.
“I”m not adverse to the changes in the bylaws at the moment,” McGowan said, adding that she has not heard any opposition to the proposal aside from SACUA”s protests.
Maynard said she agreed there need to be changes but expressed some reservations. “I think there need to be changes. We”re not in compliance with the Big Ten,” she said. “But if there is going to be too much of a conflict we might be better off to wait.”
The regents will also be asked to approve a project to construct a separate building for the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and to name Robert A.M. Stern Architects as the firm handling the project. The parking lot on the northeast corner of Hill and State streets is the proposed location for the building.
The firm has not designed any buildings on campus, but has worked with Harvard University, the University of Virginia, the University of South Carolina and Rice University.