Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Thursday, May 26, 2022 — Houston, TX

Breaks aren’t breaks if there’s a test the next day

By Thresher Editorial Board     3/22/22 11:01pm

Here at the Thresher, we, like most students on campus, like to complain about academic accommodations. Still, we feel the need to bring it back up because some issues persist. Issues that, if we’re being honest, seem easily addressable, especially in this time of constantly-shifting campus norms. We’re talking about professors scheduling exams the week after, and sometimes in the days immediately following, spring break.

We have not collected data to support our point, and we don’t find it appropriate to call out specific professors, but there are many members of our staff who either personally have, or have heard from friends who have, multiple exams this week. The same goes for papers and other substantial assignments. This flies in the face of what spring break is meant to be: a much-needed break where students can recharge and not have to think about school for a week.

The idea that a break from school should be an actual break from schoolwork is not a novel one. In fact, faculty should be well acquainted with it. Just before this past midterm recess, the provost and future president sent an email to faculty requesting that they “please provide students the opportunity to rest and enjoy the recess without having work due during or immediately after midterm recess. They truly need it.” 



Even more to the point, during the spring 2021 semester, COVID caused spring break to be replaced with what became affectionately known as sprinkle days: non-consecutive days off throughout the semester that in total represented a spring break. To ensure their similarity to an actual spring break, professors were prohibited from making assignments due or assigning exams on sprinkle days, and eventually administration prohibited doing so on the day immediately after a designated sprinkle day. These precautions were necessary because, in the words of the Academic Restart Committee, “it is intended that, to the extent possible, [sprinkle days] be real breaks for students and instructors.” You would think the same wouldn’t need to be said for an actual spring break. 

Professors, we understand that semester schedules are already packed, that exams have to be scheduled sometime and we’re willing to admit that in the eyes of a student there is no “good” time to have an exam. But there is definitely a bad time to schedule one, and immediately following spring break is right up there with the worst of them. 

To have assignments due during breaks, and papers and exams the days we return forces students to work during what is meant to be our break from school, which defeats their purpose. So we ask, please, be cognizant of our breaks and do your best to plan around them and respect their purpose.

​​Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Savannah Kuchar, Ben Baker-Katz, Nayeli Shad, Talha Arif, Morgan Gage, Daniel Schrager and Brandon Chen.



More from The Rice Thresher

OPINION 5/12/22 4:05pm
The Wellbeing Center should be transparent about its true confidentiality policies

Before you attend a counseling session at the Rice counseling center, you will be told that “the RCC maintains strict standards regarding privacy.” You will find statements from the university that your mental health record will not be shared with anyone outside of extreme situations of imminent harm, and only then that your information will be shared with only the necessary officials. This sounds great, except that these assurances bear no teeth whatsoever — no enforcement agency ensures that Rice follows its public confidentiality promises, and there are no penalties for Rice if they break them. The Wellbeing and Counseling Centers should more directly communicate the limits of their confidentiality policies when compared to unaffiliated counseling centers, and students in sensitive situations should take the necessary precautions to protect their information.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:11pm
We’re in student media to learn

This week marks the last issue of the Thresher for the year, and for the seniors like myself, our last issue ever. I have been a part of the Thresher since freshman year. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has defined my Rice experience. As someone pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, there has been no better place to learn than at this paper.

OPINION 4/19/22 11:02pm
Philanthropy doesn’t excuse slavery

In January, the Rice Board of Trustees announced plans to move the Founder’s memorial to another area of the academic quad as part of a whole redesign, adding additional context of his “entanglement” with slavery. This comes despite continual calls from the student body to not have the enslaver displayed in the quad regardless of the context provided. It would be just for these calls to action and the majority of the Task Force Committee who voted to not keep it there that the Board of Trustees decide to not keep the memorial prominently displayed in the quad at all.


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.