Western students are gearing up for their winter week-long reading break kicking off next Monday – while others are battling for more time off.
Western’s senate is debating a motion Friday over extending a fall reading week in the upcoming academic year. Students currently enjoy a two-day break during October; however, a petition to extend to a week that garnered up to 6,000 signatures put Western on the hot seat in October.
Jamie Cleary, vice-president of the University Students’ Council, brought the motion to the table along with other university student councillors and through engagement from the community. He says a week is essential to tackle mental, physical, and emotional health battles from academic pressures.
“We’ve seen a spike in the number of people needed accommodations or looking for health services for psychiatry or they’re seeing a psychologist,” he said. “We associate this with stress and exams and midterms, there’s definitely a clear need for a break there.”
Reports found that up to 75 per cent of Universities in Ontario have scheduled for four or more study days during the fall season. However, a fall reading break isn’t the only change Cleary is vouching for.
“This motion is a holistic view of wellness,” he said. “It’s not just one issue, we’re trying to tackle multiple ways. Not just fall reading break, but we’re talking to look at how academic policy can better accommodate our students.”
The motion looks into the restricting of the academic year, as well as the re-evaluation of academic performance and management over adding and dropping courses.