Fall Break 2020 dates adjusted

A change is being made to Fall Break scheduled for October 2020 due to the Vice Presidential Debate scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall. Following a visit to campus from representatives of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), and after thoughtful deliberation with leaders of the Academic Senate and ASUU, it has been decided to adjust the dates for fall break to Sunday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020.

A memo announcing the change was sent from the Office of President Ruth V. Watkins and her cabinet on Jan. 29,, 2020. It explained that the change was made in order to minimize disruption to the campus community during the debate, and also to enable more students to participate and pursue opportunities as volunteers and interns for the event.

The hope is that those who are interested will be able to participate in this important component of the political process. Recruitment of student interns and volunteers is expected to begin later this semester and will be coordinated by the Hinckley Institute of Politics under the direction of Jason Perry and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs under the direction of Lori McDonald.

For more information please see the memo below.

Jan. 29, 2020

To:                  Council of Academic Deans and President’s Leadership Council

From:              President Ruth Watkins and Cabinet

Subject:           Revised Date for Fall Break 2020: Oct. 4-Oct. 11, 2020

Following a recent visit to campus from representatives of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), and after thoughtful deliberation with leaders of the Academic Senate and ASUU, we have agreed it is in the best interest of the university and our key stakeholders to adjust the dates for Fall Break to Sunday, Oct. 4 through Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. This change to the registrar’s previously published dates will help minimize disruption to our campus community during the Vice Presidential Debate that is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020 at Kingsbury Hall. This adjustment will also enable more of our students to participate and pursue opportunities as volunteers and interns in this major national event.

We recognize this decision will have a wide impact and we thank you and your colleagues for accommodating this decision. We encourage you to communicate this change with your teams as soon as possible. This information will also be shared with the broader campus community in next week’s @theU email.

Hosting the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate provides an exceptional opportunity for our students to participate in an important component of the political process. It will be a valuable educational experience for our community. Civic engagement is a core value of our democracy and students will be able to see firsthand how being involved in the political process matters. Recruitment of student interns and volunteers is expected to begin later this semester and will be coordinated by the Hinckley Institute of Politics under the direction of Jason Perry and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs under the direction of Lori McDonald.

While specific plans are still being finalized in coordination with the CPD, this is what we know:

  • A significant fenced security perimeter surrounding Kingsbury Hall and incorporating some areas of Presidents Circle will be established in the days prior to the debate. Due to security precautions, specific details of this perimeter will not be finalized until closer to the event.
  • Faculty, staff and students requiring access to research facilties that may be located inside the security perimeter will be contacted in the coming months to ensure proper credentialing and access.
  • Buildings surrounding Kingsbury Hall will be used to provide temporary offices and meeting locations for staff and officials from political campaigns, national political parties and the CPD. Other areas of campus, including some roadways and campus shuttle routes, may also be impacted as plans are finalized.
  • Upwards of 1,500 national and international journalists are expected to cover the debate and will operate out of a temporary tented media center and broadcast area outside of Kingsbury Hall on Presidents Circle.
  • Major media networks (CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS) are expected to establish pop-up operating areas in the vicinity of Presidents Circle in coordination with the university and the CPD.

Over the next 10 months, our planning teams will provide regular updates to the campus community via the weekly @theU email. Answers to frequently asked questions will be posted online at debate2020.utah.edu. In the meantime, the following individuals have agreed to serve as a point of contact for members of the campus community who may have specific concerns or questions.

Faculty: Sarah Projansky, Associate Vice President for Faculty, 801-581-8763, sarah.projanksy@utah.edu

Staff: Wendy Peterson, Deputy Chief Human Resources Officer, 801-587-9327, wendy.peterson@utah.edu

Students: Jason Ramirez, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, 801-581-7066 or jasonramirez@sa.utah.edu