Last night, students and faculty received an email from President David Smith announcing the addition of one mental health day for the semester. Scheduled to take place on Friday, April 23, all classes will be cancelled that day.
The decision came as a response to the petition initiated by SA President Sheryl Kambuni calling for two mental wellness days. The petition, found on change.org, received a total of 1,481 supporters.
“We have heard the distress expressed by many students regarding the mental health of the campus,” Smith wrote in the email. “We understand how the changes and uncertainties brought by the pandemic have affected stress levels. Administration wants you to know that we share your concerns, and we have seriously considered the request of many students to accommodate mental health days this semester as one way of helping relieve stress.”
In addition to the cancellation of classes on April 23, faculty will not be allowed to schedule any assignments or assessments to be due during that weekend. However, the campus will remain open.
Though the original petition requested two mental health days, administration had to consider the number of classroom hours required by accreditors to award academic credit before reaching their decision, according to the email.
“We recognize that adding one day off from classes will not fully address the needs of all students,” Smith wrote. “By providing a Friday, we do hope the student body will benefit from a longer weekend of rest and rejuvenation.”