WLU senate votes in favour of fall reading week

Paige Bush
Photo by Paige Bush

In January 2014, the Wilfrid Laurier University Senate approved a three-year pilot project that would test a fall reading week. The week consists of four days off for students after the Thanksgiving weekend in October.

Having completed the pilot period this past reading week, the Senate met again on October 18 to discuss the decision to implement the four-day fall reading week permanently.

The Senate offered two alternative options for the reading week: keeping the four-day break after Thanksgiving weekend in October, or instead implementing a two-day break at the end of October.

Jennifer Casey, assistant vice-president of enrolment services and registrar at Laurier, began the meeting by introducing the findings from an assessment done which covered thoughts from a variety of groups on the success of the fall reading week.

Overall, the consensus seemed to be an agreement in support of the week among student groups including the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, the Graduate Students’ Association and student senators, among others.

Student senator, Kanwar Brar brought forward the motion in favour of the four-day reading week.

During the discussion, several points were brought up in favour of the four-day option.

The idea was brought up that adding the four days onto the Thanksgiving break eased the financial burden on students who lived far from the university, as they used the time to travel home and would have to spend money to travel twice if the reading week was moved to the end of October.

It was also brought up that students who work as employees on campus appreciate the break, as it allows them to make alternate plans or work additional hours at off-campus jobs.

Ultimately, the motion was passed 42-7 with three who abstained from voting.

Laurier will now permanently have a four-day reading week following Thanksgiving weekend in October.

Dates for the fall term will be adjusted accordingly.

For the September 2017 term, classes will begin September 7. The fall term study break will be from October 10-13, classes will end December 6 and the final date of exams will be December 22.

The need for the four-day week was reiterated by students across the Waterloo campus.

“It’s something we should have because of academic success, because students really need it and as a don, the feedback I’ve heard is basically that it’s really necessary and it’s had a lot of positive impact. I was in the Senate meeting in April where we had the presentation based on all of the surveys and the data and all the evidence points to that it’s beneficial for students. I think that’s a reason that we should move forward keeping it,” said Brar.

The Students’ Union actively promoted the four-day option, as well, through a post they made on their university affairs Facebook page earlier this week.

“The Students’ Union still firmly believes that the four-day break following Thanksgiving is the best option for undergraduate students at Laurier,” read the Facebook post.

“We are definitely in support of the four-day break. Data shown in the April 16 Senate meeting shows that students use it as a time to catchup from school, for their courses do readings and stuff like that,” said Colin Aitchison, vice-president of university affairs for the Students’ Union.

“At the end of the day I don’t see why the winter semester should be special. Why should the winter semester get a reading week when the fall term doesn’t? Every semester should be about the same.”

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