The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Student intervention could bring ‘Dead Week’ back to life

Photo illustration.
Photo illustration.

By Oscar Gonzalez

Universities around the country start their “dead week” in a few days. No, that isn’t a nickname for a The Walking Dead marathon.

Dead week is a week, or sometimes a few days, of no classes or assignments. It’s a time for students to prepare for upcoming finals and a customary practice across most colleges and universities.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio had a dead week before it became a stand-alone campus in 2009. Previously, the university shared an academic calendar with Texas A&M University-Kingsville, which included the week long break and continues to do so.

Once the university had it’s own academic calendar, faculty agreed to cut dead week from the schedule.

“It was an agreement the faculty came up with a number of years ago,” said Tracey Hurley, dean of the College of Business. “Since our students are nontraditional students, we wanted to give them the full 16 weeks of a semester and be more lenient for students who work full time.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires university courses to provide 45 contact hours of instruction along with one week of finals. The choice was either to extend the semester by a week that included no classes or not include the week in order to finish the semester early.

Some students, including those in student leadership, advocate for the week’s return.

“That week in between would be great for studying purposes for the final,” Sylvia Soto, Student Government Association vice president and education senior, said.  “Right now a lot of students are worried about their last class and what they have to turn in to finish the semester, and then on top of that we have students that are worried about their final exam.”

Hurley suggests students interested in reviving dead week can speak with SGA representatives to push for its reinstatement.

Other San Antonio universities with a dead week, or partial week, include University of Texas at San Antonio, St. Mary’s University and Trinity University.

Some universities have long standing traditions that take place during the week such as the University of California at Berkeley, where students run naked through the campus library.

To relieve stress at Columbia University, students participate in “primal scream” by screaming out their windows at midnight on the Sunday before finals.

About the Author

Oscar Gonzalez
Oscar Gonzalez is a communications-Journalism major and a political science minor. He wrote previously at The Pulse at Palo Alto College. In 2008, he started his own news website and is pursuing a career as a journalist. Oscar has a passion for technology and politics.

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