Fall reading week in question again

The possibility of fall reading days at Wilfrid Laurier University is up for consideration again, despite last year’s proposal being tabled by Senate.

Due to mixed feelings from students and logistical issues with faculty, last year’s proposal to shorten Orientation Week (O-Week) by two days and insert reading days somewhere in the fall semester was never voted on. A new committee led by the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) has been formed to re-evaluate the proposal with the aim of meeting both faculty and student needs.

Chris Walker, vice president of university affairs, explained that the committee’s intent is to submit the proposal to senate in November, when the academic days for the following year are usually approved. It would then be implemented fall 2013.

“There are a number of different proposals on the table that will change the academic scheduling from the last proposal,” said Walker.

He mentioned that some of these options “may or may not affect Orientation Week.” Furthermore, the committee is mindful of the need to balance the importance of orientation programming for first years with the mental health component of fall reading days. However, according to Walker, the official proposal has yet to be decided on.

“We haven’t ruled anything out yet,” he said.

Michael Obabolu, CEO and president of WLUSU, gave a different account of the progression of the proposal.

“We’re basically looking at having two exam days on Sundays,” he explained.

That would allow for two fall reading days to be inserted in October, most likely around Thanksgiving.

“It went through the committee and they seemed to appreciate and like the idea,” Onabolu explained. “So they’re bringing it back to their own individual councils within the university to talk about it and pitch the idea. Then it’ll go before the senate.”

Under this proposal O-Week will remain untouched.

“Hopefully, it’ll help with the mental health side of things,” said  Onabolu regarding the fall reading days.

“Students will actually get a chance to take a break and recuperate from the stresses from the first part of term.”

Walker also commented on the big picture of the proposal.

“At this point it’s part of a larger mental health strategy. Because mental health is such a large issue right now and something that there’s a big push to address, fall reading days has definitely come up in response to that,” he stated.

In accordance with Walker’s statement that there is a possibility of O-Week still being affected, icebreaker and third-year philosophy and sociology double major, Nathan Groskopf, remarked, “I don’t want to see O-Week become less than what it is right now.”

Second-year kinesiology major Lisa Alexander also expressed her opinion on the proposal.

“I have no problem with exams being on Sundays,” she said.

“But I think a better way to do it would be to start classes on the Thursday instead of the Monday and just continue O-Week around classes.”

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