ECU students protest for wellness days

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Students at East Carolina University held a protest and silent sit-in after a request to implement student wellness days was denied by the faculty senate.

Tuesday, dozens protested at the ECU Heart Institute, where the next senate meeting was.

“As someone that goes through a lot of mental health things and has a lot of friends that go through a lot of mental health things, those days would be so important to us,” ECU senior Jordyn Strupp said.

Back on March 26th, the Student Government Association President and Vice President put in a request to ECU’s Faculty Senate for student wellness days.

Junior Wyatt Gable said wellness days would benefit students’ mental health.

“Students have a job, they have class, clubs, sports, all these things can pile up and mount on and it can add a lot of stress to your life so being able to have that time off is really important to make sure we’re mentally and physically healthy,” Gable said.

However, the request was denied after some concerns arose.

“How would it work? What would it look like? What would faculty be required to do?” ECU Faculty Chair Anne Ticknor said.

Ticknor said the wellness day was proposed to be on a Tuesday. This could cause problems, including some courses not being able to meet, and possibly shortening final exam schedules.

“That would shorten our final exams schedule to a shorter timeline which would mean students could have 3 final exams in a day and nobody wants that,” Ticknor said.

Strupp said they hope by showing up and speaking out, the faculty senate may reconsider the vote.

“I hope they can look into what works at other schools and how to implement that at ECU and what works best for our university,” Strupp said.

Ticknor said they are working to find alternative possibilities to provide students the break they need.

“We do see them,” Ticknor said. “We do hear what they’re asking for.”

According to Ticknor, talks for a wellness day began 5 years ago and gained more traction after NC State had wellness days following multiple suicides.