Students have reacted negatively to the University of California’s decision to postpone the start of the next school year and cut winter break to two weeks instead of three. The changes were implemented to accommodate the Jewish high holidays.
Rosh Hashanah, Judaism’s two-day New Year holiday, starts at sunset Sept. 24. For this reason, UC campuses on the quarter system, including UC Santa Barbara, will start fall classes on Oct. 2 and end the quarter on Dec. 19, giving students two weeks of vacation before the winter quarter begins Jan. 5.
Students throughout the UC system have greeted the calendar change with hostility, arguing that significant changes should not be made to accommodate a small minority of the population.
The petition — “Universities of California under the Quarter System: Maintain our 3-week Winter Break — expresses disapproval for the shortened winter break and already has received nearly 28,000 signatures.
“We as students and staff of the Universities of California under the quarter system require the third week,” Amaya said.
He proposed adding an extra week at the end of the new winter break and pushing back the start of winter and spring quarters. This would mean that the school year would end a week later than usual.
Many students weighed in in the comments section of the change.org petition.
“Have you ever heard of separation of church and state?” asked McKenna Renkenberger of Santa Barbara.
Added Jimmy Huynh of San Lorenzo: “Our UC (system) should remain as neutral as possible toward all ethnic and religious groups.”
It remains unclear whether the student opposition will force UC officials to reconsider the schedule change.