Split on fall reading week

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By Matthew Prescott Oxman

Students in the faculty of engineering, architecture and science (FEAS) are fighting over the ramifications of a contentious Senate motion to add a fall reading week.

FEAS students met on Jan. 13 at the Centre for Computing and Engineering, to voice their concerns at an emergency town hall organized by the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU).

At the event several options were presented with main concerns over increased class hours, less prep time before exams, staying at school during a fall reading week to attend a single class.

“Everybody’s worst case is going to be different,” said RSU Vice-President Education Liana Salvador, who, during the discussions, described the complicated time puzzle as a “headache.”

The motion was part of Salvador’s campaign platform.

Salvador said this was because a fall reading week was something she had heard students, in arts and business particularly, said that they wanted.

A fall reading week would give both the fall and winter semesters 12 weeks of classes. Currently the fall semester is 13 weeks long.

The Senate is set to vote on a fall reading week at their meeting on Jan. 25.

Salvador said most other universities in Ontario have two 12-week semesters, with the exception of some engineering programs at these schools.

Unlike most programs, engineering is dependent on accreditation, which limits its flexibility.

“If it stays the way it is, I’m ok with that,” said second-year computer engineering student, Xerxes Engineer.

Engineer said if balancing semesters is the issue, he would rather see a week added to the winter half of the school year.

“I’d like more, not less, if anything.”

Keith Poore, a third-year medical physics student and member of the department council for physics, would welcome a fall reading week.

“The break would allow me to focus on my work,” said Poore.

Many science students like Poore have overlapping classes with engineering students. This means that if the engineers opted out of a fall reading week, some science students would have to stay at school that week to attend as little as one class.

On the other hand, if the engineering students were to have a fall reading week, they would have to make up for lost classes, which could result in more hours of class per week or losing the current weekend of preparation time before exams start.

At the town hall, Salvador encouraged all interested students to attend the upcoming meeting.

She specified that a vote for a fall reading week in the Senate would not bind FEAS to having one.

Faculty will vote on the issue this December.

Engineer said his before university, he never would have opted for a week more of school, rather than a week less. But, “This isn’t high school anymore,” he said.

Students in the faculty of community services are invited to their own town hall to discuss a potential fall reading week on Thurs., Jan. 20, at 4 p.m., on the fourth floor of the Library Building.

Photo: Lindsay Boeckl

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