ASWSU Senators endorse no schoolwork on break days

Resolution authored with student mental health in mind; ASWSU Senator interested in partnering with other WSU campuses

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SCREENSHOT FROM MEETING

“If our instructors are unable to recognize [mental health], then we’re going to have students who continue to suffer in silence,” said ASWSU Senator Oluwanifemi “Nife” Shola-Dare.

ABBY DAVIS, Evergreen deputy news editor

ASWSU Senators unanimously passed and endorsed a resolution for no assignments to be due on break days established in lieu of the traditional week-long spring break during a meeting Wednesday. 

The resolution is to ensure students take care of their well-being during break days, according to the resolution. Senator Jilian Hutchison-Blouin wrote the resolution with Senator Oluwanifemi “Nife” Shola-Dare as a sponsor.

The loss of a traditional spring break significantly impacted the health and academics of students and faculty members, according to the resolution. 

“I know that a lot of students have had issues with having assignments due on the mental health break day last week,” Hutchison-Blouin said. 

Hutchison-Blouin included statistics from Active Minds, a nonprofit focused on increasing mental health awareness for students, in the resolution. Twenty percent of college students reported their mental health worsening because of COVID-19, according to data from Active Minds. 

The resolution exclusively targets WSU Pullman because other campuses have their own ASWSU. However, Hutchison-Blouin said she is interested in partnering with them in order to pass similar resolutions.

Senator Jelani Christopher is happy the resolution was written. He said having no assignments due on break days is important for students’ mental health.  

“I have a lot of stuff due this week and it’s been taking a big toll on me mentally,” he said. “So not having a full week off has really hurt as well … and I can imagine a lot of other students dealing with that.”

Shola-Dare said she believes instructors can do a lot more to support students’ mental health. She said the resolution may help faculty members realize mental health is a serious issue for many students.

“If an instructor is unable to recognize that academic workload can lead to a decline in mental health, and you know even mental illnesses can affect academic performances,” she said. “If our instructors are unable to recognize it, then we’re going to have students who continue to suffer in silence.”

The resolution will be sent to the WSU Faculty Senate, WSU administrators and various department deans for review, according to the resolution.   

ASWSU Senators also approved the ASWSU Budget Council’s $467, 553 budget proposal. Senator Dylan Seaman said the council unanimously approved budget proposals from 18 different groups during a meeting last weekend. 

None of the groups asked for a budget increase. Seaman said he is now preparing to present the budget to the Services and Activities Fee Committee for approval.