From the major Sacramento newspaper:
An online petition posted by a UC Davis student on Jan. 22 has obtained more than 27,000 signatures from students UC-wide opposing a change in the academic calendar that shortens next year’s winter break from three weeks to two.You don't want religion to determine the school schedule? Enjoy being in class on Christmas! What? What's that you say? You don't like this because it's the Jewish holidays that are being accommodated? Oh, well it's ok to be against the Joooooooos, I guess. That multi-culti stuff doesn't apply to Jews, white people, or men.
The change, resulting from a UC policy to accommodate major religious holidays, has sparked discussion among students about the tight constraints of the quarter system and what role religion should play in determining the school schedule.
The change.org petition, which is unaffiliated with student government, is addressed to UC President Janet Napolitano. Written by UC Davis student Alfredo Amaya, the petition asks that the start of the 2014-15 winter quarter be shifted from Jan. 5 to 12, allowing the fall start date to still accommodate the High Holy Days while maintaining the three-week winter break. In just the first two days after Amaya posted the petition on his Facebook page, 24,000 students signed it...Why do they start classes so late at Davis?
Changing the 2014-15 calendar to accommodate the petitioners’ demands would only push next fall’s start a week later and re-create the same problem, because the summer quarter cannot be shortened. Adjusting next year’s dates would also disturb events and conferences with contractual obligations...
The UC system adopted the quarter system in 1965 to accommodate a bulge in enrollment, but UC Berkeley switched back to semesters in 1983. The system’s newest school, UC Merced, also adopted the semester model. UC Davis debated switching to semesters in 1997, but efforts to do so failed.
Current students have mixed feelings about the quarter system, said Sandstrom, because it disqualifies them from many summer internships and jobs, since school doesn’t get out until mid-June. At UC Berkeley, by comparison, the fall semester in 2014 will last from Aug. 28 to Dec. 19. Instruction for the spring semester will begin Jan. 20, 2015, and end May 15. Students also get a weeklong spring break.
Next fall, most UC students will start school on Sept. 29, a week later than last year, to allow Jewish students to observe Rosh Hashanah from Sept. 24 to 26. Those students can move in after the holiday and attend the first day of instruction on Oct. 2 before observing Yom Kippur from Oct. 3 to 4.I'm curious if there was a big whoop-te-doo when Ramadan was involved. Just sayin'.
The UC policy mandating that no move-in day conflict with a major religious holiday has been in place since 2007, but this is the first time the dates have conflicted with Jewish holidays, which follow a lunar calendar. The policy was last invoked in 2009, when the move-in dates for the two UC semester schools were adjusted for students observing Ramadan.
Update: I like to think that my regular readers, as well as any newcomers with even a modicum of intelligence, are smart enough to recognize that my supposedly anti-Jewish comments above were in fact a dig at anti-Semites. That assumption of mine was wrong in one case, so I'll clear it up here.