Fall break survey divides faculty societies

Graphic by Ashley Quan

On Thursday, the AMS executive released the results of the fall reading week break survey to members of AMS Assembly. 

Commissioner of Academic Affairs Tyler Lively, ArtSci ’16, told the assembly that the AMS found that the results were evenly split between those in favour of the reading week and those opposed.

The fall reading week presented in the survey would consist of a two-day break attached to a weekend. The tentative timing for a fall break is during Week 9, the week of Remembrance Day (Nov. 11).

This would place Move-In Day and the beginning of Orientation Week on the Saturday before Labour Day and the start of classes on the Thursday after Labour Day. Faculty Orientation Week activities would resume on the following Saturday, shortening the Orientation by a day.

The survey also found that around 82 per cent of survey respondents replied that they would rather sacrifice a day of University Orientation rather than their Faculty Orientation if they had to choose.

Lively said respondents who voted against the proposal indicated that they didn’t want the proposal to interfere with Orientation Week. Respondents voted in favour of the proposal, on the other hand, cited reasons concerning student mental health.

The results of the survey indicate that there’s support for the possibility of a fall reading week, Lively said. During Thursday’s assembly session, student society representatives agreed that the AMS executive should prepare a motion to establish a working group moving forward, which will look into the possibility of establishing a fall reading week.

Survey results showed a divided response from students in different faculties. Only 15 per cent of engineering student respondents voted in favour of the proposed fall reading week, while 63 per cent of arts and science voted in favour of the proposal.

The Queen’s Engineering Society (EngSoc) took an official stance against the proposed fall reading week on Wednesday in a statement released on their Facebook page.

(Click here to see our previous coverage)

According to their statement, representatives of EngSoc council collectively agreed to take a public stance.

“The Engineering Society and its members discourage the adoption of any changes to the academic schedule that would reduce the potential number of pre-exam days and/or change the current Orientation Week schedule,” the statement read.

“A significant number of Engineering students responded to the survey, indicating that they do not want a Fall Reading Break with consequential impact on Orientation Week.”

EngSoc’s statement identified several items as top priorities for engineering students when considering a fall break: the preservation of a Faculty Orientation Week, the pre-exam period, changes to tuition and student fees, the federal accreditation of the Engineering and Applied Science degree and the effects of any proposed break on university and student-run services.

The society also stated that they’re working with the AMS to ensure that both societies are aligned to advocate on behalf of students.

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