OFFICE OF THE DIVISION CHAIR - ACADEMIC SENATE
April 22, 2015
As the May 3rd Sun God Festival approaches, we encourage faculty to hold classes and administer exams as scheduled on the Monday following the Festival for the reasons detailed below.
The Associated Students-sponsored Sun God Festival is a valued tradition spanning more than thirty years at UC San Diego. The vast majority of students behave responsibly at the Festival; unfortunately, in recent years there has been a rise in the number and severity of problems associated with drinking and other substance use. A Sun God Health and Safety task force comprised of faculty, staff and students has met regularly during the past two years. This year, with stronger student input and collaboration, changes were made to reflect the following goals:
*Continue the Sun God Festival, which students report is an event that
is both enjoyable and builds community spirit;
Students have been involved in all stages of task force deliberations, and student focus groups appreciate that their concerns have been taken seriously. This partnership is predicated on treating students as adults and affording them both rights and responsibilities.
Based on best practices on risk reduction at large scale events, the task force launched a number of initiatives and changes to this year's Festival. The change most relevant for faculty is that the event was moved from Friday of Week 8 to Sunday of Week 5, ending at 8:00 PM instead of midnight. Over the years, faculty have complained that students have skipped classes on the Friday of the Sun God Festival. Having the event on a Sunday encourages moderation and gives students a day to celebrate and enjoy the Festival, while still keeping academics as a top priority. Thus, the move of the Sun God Festival to a Sunday mid-quarter was intentional as a risk reduction strategy.
While decisions concerning instruction always rest with individual faculty members, we encourage faculty not to change their course schedule based on the date of the Sun God Festival. We trust our students as young adults to enjoy a wonderful tradition, while upholding their academic responsibilities.