Proposed fall term break presented to Senate

Feb. 23 Senate recap: Queen’s to spend $1 million on improving classrooms


The Feb. 23 Senate meeting began with Principal Daniel Woolf asking for a moment of silence for a Queen’s student who passed away on January 29. He left the student unnamed out of respect to his family.

Woolf also announced at the meeting that Queen’s will be spending $1 million over the next three years to improve and renew classrooms across campus. (The Journal will be providing an update on the announcement when more information becomes available.)

The Senate passed all four proposed motions, with some disagreement regarding the introduction of a Professional Master's of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership program.

Fall Term Break

Senator Morelli presented the proposed Sessional Dates framework for 2016-17, which incorporates a fall term break.

According to Morelli, Senate received a petition with 1750 signatures in November 2015 advocating for a fall term break. Morelli informed Senate that the number has risen to 2154 as of this week.

The proposal suggests that the fall term break fall on the week of Thanksgiving in October. Were it to be implemented, classes will be cancelled as usual on Thanksgiving Day and will not be held on the following Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, giving students a weeklong break.

Residence move-in day would be one day earlier — on the first Saturday of September — and Orientation Week would be split across five days: the Sunday, Monday (Labour Day) and Tuesday along with the following Saturday and Sunday. 

Senator Rapos told Morelli that Orientation Week is six days, not five. In response, Morelli said orientation activities aren’t considered academic and that there was a debate over even mentioning it in the proposal. He said there will be an alteration of the structure of orientation week if the proposal is approved.

Morelli added that should this framework be approved, Senate could be confident that SCAP would approve the sessional dates.

Morelli stressed that the intention of a fall term break is to improve the mental health and well-being of students, staff and faculty, and not to increase student workload with more content.

Truth and Reconciliation Act

During the question portion of the meeting, Senators J. Hill, MacDonald, and Morelli proposed questions with regard to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in response to the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. The report details the history of Residential Schools, partially through the statements of people personally affected by them.

Provost Harrison responded to the question by informing Senate that at the last meeting of the Aboriginal Council of Queen’s University (ACQU), a Task Force was established with the following responsibilities (as outlined in the agenda):

  • Identify the Calls to Action in the final TRC report that concern Canadian universities and particularly Queen’s.
  • Compose a comprehensive account of existing Queen’s initiatives related to the TRC Calls to Action.
  • Develop recommended initiatives in response to or building on the TRC’s Calls to Action.

All four motions carried

The Senate:

  • Approved the proposed name change of the undergraduate degree in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science from Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) to Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.).
  • Approved the introduction of a Professional Master's of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership program in the Faculty of Arts and Science and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
  • Approved recommendations regarding Senate participation via technology on an interim basis.
  • Approved the nominations of Eric Rapos (BCmpH '10, MSc '12, PhD '16) to the Senate Governance and Nominating Committee and James Gibbard-McCall to the Senate Orientation Activities Review Board.

All motions were passed with one against from Senator Pappano for the introduction of a Professional Master's of Earth and Energy Resources Leadership program.

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