O-Week changes denied

With the proposal for a reading break not making it to a vote at the Oct. 19 Wilfrid Laurier University senate meeting, there has been a shift in focus on student mental health and academic success. A reading break is now out of the question in terms of being instated for next fall, and is being called a ‘victory’ in favour of O-Week by many orientation week volunteers.

Kyle Hocking, WLU student senator, clarified the issue. “There were a bunch of students that showed up, not in support of a reading week but just because of O-Week concerns. Although they treated it as a victory, they didn’t have an effect on it.”

At the senate meeting, a representative from the WLU School of Business and Economics raised an issue with the scheduling of midterms and exams, and Hocking claims it was issues such as this that prevented it from reaching a vote.

“They were more interested in talking about how it is going to affect their exam schedules and their midterm scheduling,” he said. “[Orientation week] was a very small, even minimal concern. There were far more important [concerns]. The School of Business and Economics was probably one of the more important ones.”

Nick Gibson, Wilfrid Laurier University Students Union president and CEO, said “I think the frustrating thing was that logistical issues tended to be the overwhelming contributors to the lack of confidence in the proposal,” said Gibson. “I think it’s fair because it’s not in front of their eyes. It was not a bad reaction.”

Hocking was disappointed in the lack of focus on mental health and wellness at the meeting. He claimed a reading break should have been prioritized in terms of its effect on student mental health and academic success, and not on logistical factors such as exams and orientation week.

“If they really felt like it was a mental health issue for students, [they would] give them the time,” he said. “If they need to go away and just relax for a couple days, and just do nothing but forget about the issues that they’re having in school, then that’s maybe what they need to do. [The senate meeting] wasn’t a very good discussion, because we weren’t able to focus on the right issues.”
Gibson was upset about the proposal’s failure to come to a vote.

“I was personally very disappointed. I think I said this very clearly to everyone, to anyone I talked to and even in the post that I put out there,” he continued. “I think the school needs to address mental wellness and student success.”
Gibson agreed that Laurier does need some sort of break in the fall.

“Think of the semester as a marathon, and you’re sprinting the whole way. It’s much easier to sprint and go as hard as you can and then take a little break and then sprint more. It’s almost like interval training.”

Hocking also criticised the lack of patience for mental issues. “There’s a lot of profs out there and deans, and department heads who don’t really understand the issues that plague students and [they] don’t understand how difficult of a time students are having.” He confirmed that there is no chance there will be a reading break next fall.

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