The three-week winter break that UC Davis has come to know will be changed to two weeks for the 2014-15 school year. Due to conflicts with religious holidays, Fall Quarter 2014 will begin a week later than before for all UC schools running on the quarter system. Winter break will be shortened from the regular three weeks to two weeks.
“All UC quarter academic calendar campuses will have an Oct. 2, 2014 instruction start date for the fall 2014 quarter,” said Senior Associate Registrar at UC Davis, Barbara Noble. “This is to meet a UC system requirement for a common instruction start date across all similar academic calendar UC campuses.”
The change in the schedule was done to comply to UC rules and policies. Noble also said that the schedules for the academic calendars are created by all of the UC campuses together and at one time.
“The decision for the academic schedules are planned years in advance,” Noble said. “We have to make sure it fits with all of the UC restrictions.”
The University Registrars, along with the Academic Senate and Office of the President staff plan the academic calendars every two to three years.
Because the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana falls on the same weekend as move-in weekend, the Fall Quarter 2014 schedule must be pushed back in order to not overlap with the holiday. Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year, and it, along with the day of atonement, Yom Kippur, normally occur in September and October respectively.
UCLA University Registrar Frank Wada said that this specific change is due to a policy that addresses religious holidays during move-in weekend.
The Policy for Addressing Religious Holiday Conflicts with Residence Hall “Move-In” Days, which was created in 2007, states that, “in setting the common academic calendar after 2010, the responsible University bodies … shall choose calendars (semester and quarter) that avoid scheduling fall residence hall move-in days for students that conflict with the observance of a major religious holiday.”
The academic calendar has not yet changed since the policy has been implemented. The 2014-15 school year will be the first time that the policy will create a change in the schedule.
“This is the first time that this sort of change has been made since the policy went into effect in 2007,” Wada said. “The calendar will change again based on when Rosh Hashana is.”
The policy was implemented because of a concern among the Jewish community regarding conflicts with move-in dates affecting students’ ability to celebrate these major holidays.
According to a letter to the Chancellors by former UC President Dynes which clarifies the policy, “representatives of the Jewish community and members of the California Legislature have expressed a desire for the University to avoid the conflicts that have arisen between fall residence hall move-in days.”
Future academic calendars, from years 2015-16 up to 2017-18 have been released. These calendars are tentative, but predict a normal start date for Fall Quarter during the last week of September and a three-week winter break.
— Melissa Dittrich