Should We Ditch Dead Hours?

In response to students’ crazy schedules, and trying to balance classes and extracurricular activities, the University of San Diego offers a unique solution: dead hours.

While the name sounds scary, the concept itself is not. For those that do not know, dead hours are the two-hour periods on Tuesdays and Thursdays when all classes cease. Dead hours allow students a time to schedule club meetings, talk to professors, or grab an extended lunch.

In theory, dead hours are long enough for students to accomplish whatever they need to get done, making them an ideal solution. In reality, dead hours can actually increase scheduling conflicts, especially for those that find themselves involved in a variety of activities.

The problem stems from too many organizations relying on dead hours as a time when all students theoretically should be free. For instance, a club meeting, an informational on study abroad, and a professor’s office hours may all overlap, forcing you to pick and choose what to go to.

Junior Alyssa Avery pointed out that, because so many organizations are trying to make use of this time period, events are bound to conflict.

“[Dead hours] are useful for club meetings, but it’s unfortunate that a lot of meetings I want to go to are at the same time on Tuesday,” Avery said. “[Often, I have] to choose one over the other.”

These timing conflicts can be especially challenging when you have two commitments with set schedules that repeatedly coincide. It prevents students who want to get more involved from doing so. They are forced to limit their activities to a few organizations simply so they can attend all the mandatory events.

Senior Rachel Lloyd believes adding more dead hour periods during the week might solve this problem.

“I think dead hours are completely vital to USD’s extracurricular activities,” Lloyd said. “However, because they are only twice a week, they tend to just cause an overlap of meetings. [And] to truly be effective, we need more dead hours spread throughout the week.”

While often times dead hours are packed full of activities for students, the time seems to be incredibly useful for faculty and staff that want to make themselves available to students.

Professor Greg Ghio noted that dead hours are still one of the most effective times to meet with students.

“I hold office hours during dead hours, and more students come [during that period] than any other time,” Ghio said. “[Dead hours are] very effective.”

Having the opportunity to meet with professors uninterrupted is certainly a perk of the current dead hour system, as often times popping into office hours in between classes doesn’t allow for students to spend as much time with the professor as they might need. However, for many students, attending office hours during dead hours might mean skipping another activity scheduled at that time.

It is this type of either or situation for many students that calls for improvements to be made within the dead hours system. While it’s not reasonable to ask for dead hours everyday, or to double the amount of time during dead hours, there are some small adjustments that could be made to better the overall system.

Maybe that means upping dead hours from four hours a week to six, adding an extra day of dead hours, or allotting certain portions of dead hours to different activities to minimize scheduling conflicts. Another possible solution might be encouraging more communication among organizations on campus, to limit continuous overlap of activities.

No matter the solution, in order to maximize efficiency, the dead hours system on campus need to be modified.

Written by Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor