This past Tuesday, University faculty and staff took part in the semester’s first of three “Quiet Days.”
Two additional Quiet Days are scheduled for March 9 and April 13.
According to an email sent Feb. 8 by President F. Javier Cevallos, faculty and staff were encouraged to participate in Quiet Day in order to reduce stress levels.
Cevallos’ email recommended those observing Quiet Day to respond only to high-priority emails, avoid scheduling meetings, and refrain from scheduling tests or large assignments.
However, these recommendations are only encouraged and are not something that can be enforced by the University.
According to the email, the University hopes these efforts will allow for individuals to “not feel the need to keep checking emails frequently throughout the day or be glued to a long series of Zoom meetings.”
Quiet Days, however, do not entail the cancellation of classes.
Without that, who is really benefiting from these Quiet Days?
Professors are still expected to participate in Zoom or in-person courses, which contradicts the intended purpose of the day.
Quiet Days in and of themselves do the opposite of their intended purpose. Although the day is supposed to help with relaxation, professors will still be staring at Zoom screens during their classes.
If they follow the recommendations, professors will now have to play catch-up on meetings and emails at another time.
Because students are exempt from these Quiet Days, not only do they not get a break, but neither do the professors who have to teach.
Administrators and staff are the only individuals truly getting some stress relief on Quiet Days as their meetings are rescheduled and non-urgent emails avoided.
Meanwhile, professors still need to teach, and students still need to attend classes.
If the University wants to be dedicated to relieving some of the overwhelming stress our community has been under during the pandemic, it needs to extend a Quiet Day to all of us – and that means cancelling classes.
In addition to not extending Quiet Days to students, the University never even told students they were happening, leaving room for confusion when professors don’t respond to student emails or reschedule non-urgent meetings.
Quiet Days result in professors – who are hired to help their students succeed – becoming less accessible.
They also result in the administration becoming less accessible.
It is the responsibility of the University’s faculty and staff to be accessible to students. When the University encourages its faculty and staff to “only respond to high-priority emails,” it does a disservice to the students of the University who depend on their professors’ and administrators’ timely responses.
If the University truly wants to give its employees and students a break, it needs to realize a break for select individuals on our campus is not really a break for everyone.
Rather, students, faculty, and staff alike should all be given a Quiet Day instead of excluding students.
Students deserve a break once a month, too.
Students deserve more than just the one Spring Day the University is providing.
We understand the University is under a lot of pressure and administrators are being overworked to keep it running smoothly in the midst of a health crisis.
However, we are supposed to be a FRAMily, and we are all experiencing pressures and stress.
Although we understand why spring break was canceled, we deserve more than what we are currently given.
With the lack of days off, students are going to be burnt out by the middle of March. Some of us are already frayed and we are doing our best to make it to the end of the semester.
What are students getting out of these Quiet Days?
The University needs to acknowledge the stress of its students and incorporate us into these days as well.
Instead of focusing almost exclusively on the stress of its administrators and staff, the University needs to take the concerns of its entire community seriously and stop leaving students out of these Quiet Days.
At the very least, students deserve to know when these Quiet Days occur.
It may be a Quiet Day for administrators, faculty, and staff, but the only thing you’re silencing is students’ shouts for help.