Students continue to express suspicions about the motives behind the university’s designated “Self-Care Day.”
On Nov. 4, in an email sent by IUP President Driscoll’s office, students were informed that Friday, Nov. 6, was designated as IUP Self-Care Day.
A day, according to Driscoll, that was to be used by students to decompress, relieve stress, build self-confidence and lay a foundation of wellness throughout the rest of the semester and beyond, was viewed as something different by students.
Many students on campus feel as though this day was an attempt to “shut them up” amid their growing concerns about retrenchments on campus.
“I feel like they are doing this for extraneous reasons to cover up what’s been going on around campus lately,” Allison Lencer (senior, nursing) said. “It’s a cover-up, not really a self-care day.”
Another student shared a very similar perspective as Lencer.
“I personally think they are just trying to make the students happy because they are cutting our professors, and we are really upset about it,” Savannah Santiago (senior, music) said.
Brianna Adkins (senior, education of dance arts) said she believes the self-care day is a small concession of a larger issue.
“It’s a ploy to appease us, and it was mildly effective,” she said.
“On paper, it sounds like a good idea, but in practice, it’s not,” Jesse DesMuke (junior, social studies education) said. “With all the crap that is going on with IUP, this sounds like a reactionary thing.”
Though another student, Evan Weaver (senior, psychology) said that the designated self-care day by the university is a “good move,” he does not believe that the university is doing it for the right reasons.
“It’s nice to have a day to take off classes to recuperate a little bit because things are starting to get stressful in the semester,” Weaver said. “But I believe it’s a late attempt to quell some of the storm that has been happening at the university.
“The retrenchment has been on the minds of students and teachers, and I think there’s a lot of animosity coming from students. I see this as administration wanting to hopefully try to quell some of their complaints.”
Mara Aubrey (junior, criminology) said the university should have geared this self-care day toward faculty because they are the ones that need it the most, since they are the ones going through retrenchment.
Other students are suspicious of the self-care day because they said it came “a little too late,” and it wasn’t planned properly. Though IUP wanted students to use this day to rest and recharge, the decision on whether to cancel classes on this day was left up to the discretion of individual professors.
“Please note that classes are still scheduled for Friday,” Driscoll said in the email sent to student about the IUP self-care day.
This warning, according to students, has led them to believe that the university did not have the students’ best interests in mind when this self-care day was being planned.
“It doesn’t feel right, and I believe it was too late,” Santiago said. “If they had this planned, they should have let us know a little bit in advance.”
Students said that though some professors chose to cancel class last Friday, student’s workload did not lessen because everything was still the same. They think professors are “required” to give the day off, even if they are against it.
Lencer said she believes not all the professors were on board with the idea, but they felt like they had to do it because of all the “firing” that is happening.
“Maybe they don’t feel safe, so they are trying to follow along with what president Driscoll wants them to do so that they don’t have to fear for their job,” she said.
She and her roommates, Lencer said, got lucky because they are pretty good at keeping up with their work. She said they used the afternoon of the day to do schoolwork and used the evening to relax. But, according to her, it was still hard to get the full day of relaxing Driscoll talked about in his email.
Lencer said she does not believe this self-care day was beneficial to students.
According to Adkins, she initially thought the self-care day was silly because nothing was different. Though, she stated, she got a “little” break from classes.
“By designating a self-care day, my roommate and I believe the university is giving us bubbles to make-up for our impending doom,” she said.