Cut Senate a break

Student anger over fall break is aimed at the wrong party

If you want to write an angry letter about how important Orientation Week is to you, you should be writing to your faculty, not Senate.

Since the Principal’s Commission on Mental Health released a report recommending a fall term break in 2012, the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures (SCAP) has been tasked with putting together a proposal for a break that will please everyone.

The current proposal — a product of three years of consultation — will be put forward as a motion for approval at upcoming the April Senate.

It proposes that Move-In Day take place on the Saturday immediately before Labour Day, with classes beginning on the Wednesday after. With the proposal, Orientation Week wouldn’t occur on consecutive days.

After a change.org petition was created entitled “A call for better procedure regarding a fall reading week at Queen’s University” — which has gathered almost 2,500 signatures — misdirected students have been targeting the University Senate with emails. 

I’m not surprised that these 2,500 students don’t know what the proposal actually is: it’s just a suggested set of sessional days by SCAP for the faculties to consider when setting their calendars.

Ultimately, it’s the faculties that choose whether or not to implement the dates suggested by SCAP, including the length of Orientation Week.  

While it’s an issue that the ill-targeted petition is misleading students about procedure, the AMS’s recently announced motion to block the fall break proposal, in favour of more student consultation is also a problem. 

Any more consultation on the SCAP proposal would be redundant backpedaling. After three years of consultation, we’ve learned that there’s no perfect proposal that would make every student happy.

Creating a fall break isn’t as easy as adding a couple extra days to the school year. SCAP has created a proposal that conforms with all existing policy — work that’s underappreciated. I commend Jordan Morelli, the chair of SCAP, for his dedication and dealing with the backlash in creating the proposal.

The AMS and faculty societies need to take a definite stance with the current proposal and decide whether a fall break is worth losing consecutive Orientation days.

If the AMS is concerned with student wellness, they need to be asking how to make new and current resources accessible to students instead of making a filibuster out of fall break.

While I’ve heard that “students know what’s best for them”, there’s little evidence that students even understand the current proposal, and yet they’re still asking for more.

Mikayla is one of The Journal’s Assistant News Editors. She’s a second-year Economics major. 

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