Early winter break return upsets DePaul community

Many students don’t assume their New Year’s Day activities will consist of either a plane ride or a road trip, but this year it will be an unfortunate reality for many DePaul students.

The winter quarter will begin on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. It is a national observance day for New Year’s Day because New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, but DePaul will have school and regular office hours regardless.

On-campus residence halls will open for move-in on Jan. 1, 2023. Housing workers, as well as several other on-campus student workers, are required to be back on campus by Dec. 31, 2022. Many student workers have been told by their departments that if they choose to not return to campus by Dec. 31, they will be fired.

Every few years, depending on the days of the week holidays fall on, the Office of Academic Affairs, the University Registrar and Faculty Council has to make the decision of whether they want to cut spring break short or cut winter break short to ensure that each quarter includes the full 10 weeks of instruction, according to Kristin Matthews, a representative for DePaul University. While there are numerous administrative and faculty members choosing the beginning and ending dates of each academic quarter, Student Government Association (SGA) is not included in these discussions, despite partaking in discussions such as hiring university leaders and waiving final exams when a pandemic hits.

Maya Oclassen

“This year, the choices were to start winter quarter on Jan. 2, or remove a day from spring break. Neither of these options was ideal,” a press release from the Office of Academic Affairs said. “Academic Affairs, University Registrar and Faculty Council, which votes to accept the calendar, agreed in 2019 that starting Winter Quarter on Jan. 2, 2023, was the better option for the 2022-23 academic year.”

Ann Mathew, a DePaul freshman who lives on-campus, said she would rather the school give the DePaul community the day off on Jan. 2 then begin school on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023, like how the university began the fall quarter on a Wednesday.

“I am not happy,” Mathew said. “Although we get all of December off, Jan. 1 is still a holiday and we should be getting off for that. I’m going to have to move back into the dorms on Jan. 1 after staying up the night before, and I’m going to be exhausted for classes on [Jan. 2].”

Kevin Holechko, SGA president and senior, said returning to campus earlier than usual is a little upsetting to him. 

“Unfortunately, that is the way the academic schedule fell this year,” Holechko said. “I acknowledge that a number of out-of-state students will be affected by this, especially those who have to return before Jan 1. So what I would be asking is what are those departments doing to make the return at least somewhat enjoyable for both students and staff who are leaving the family gatherings a little bit early? What are they doing to say? ‘I’m sorry you have to be here, and I’m grateful you are doing this’?” 

Holechko said while the news is upsetting and students may reach out to the Office of Academic Affairs about their concerns with the start date, he said students should “not hold out hope that the university will be adjusting its schedule anytime soon.”

The Office of Academic Affairs encouraged students who are returning to school for the 2023-2024 academic year that the schedule will not be the same. The winter quarter in 2024 will begin on Saturday, Jan. 6, according to the academic calendar on DePaul’s website.