The week-long break will be implemented in fall term of 2023
The newly-approved fall reading week break is scheduled to happen each year in the second week of October, during the same week as the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Isaiah Joyner, student senator and general coordinator of the Concordia Student Union (CSU).
The two-year delay to implement the break is due to the adjustments that will need to be made to the fall academic semester schedule. As a result of the break, the fall term will be shortened to a 12-week academic term, instead of the current 13-week academic term.
This change will mean the winter and fall semesters will both have a week-long break, and an equal amount of academic weeks.
Passed with overwhelming support by senate members on March 19, Joyner explained the initiative took three years of student-led work, calling it a ‘generational’ project.
Former Advocacy and Academic Coordinator Sarah Mazhero presented the motion to implement fall reading week during her mandate as senator in 2018-2019. In 2019, a majority 86.6 per cent of students voted in favour of the CSU referendum question, which proposed enacting the week-long break.
Joyner said the success of the initiative was not possible without the support from students, stating, “Students voted overwhelmingly in support, which is what supplied pressure to make this happen.”
Following the voting results and Mazhero’s initiative in the senate, an ad hoc committee was created to carry out the proposition. Joyner, who was a member in the committee, said they “continued to work with the administration to make this a reality.”
Initially, second-year Journalism student Maria Bouabdo did not support the fall break in the referendum, because it was unclear about what the new semester with the break would look like. “The [referendum] question didn’t say whether the semester would go longer or shorter because of the break,” said Bouabdo.
Now that it has been approved, Bouabdo says she supports the initiative, explaining “We need a break during the middle of the semester when everything’s intense during midterms and [with] assignments.”
Her only concern was what having a shorter academic semester would mean for students — whether the material would be condensed and students would have more work, or whether the extra weeks’ worth of course plans would be cancelled altogether.
These are questions that will be presented and worked on in the upcoming months. Going forward, Joyner explained that “Administration would work with staff and faculty to begin seeing how to make the shift, but students will remain involved in the process in some way.”
Logo courtesy of the Concordia Student Union (CSU)