A Fall Reading Week for UTSG students could become a reality. Students will be able to vote in a referendum to implement a Fall Reading Week, which will run from October 27–29, concurrent with the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) by-elections.
Last year, UTSC was granted a fall reading week, yet the possibility of UTSG and UTM receiving the same break was very unlikely. A few months later, however, UTM announced plans to introduce a Fall Reading Week in 2016.
“I believe with the strong emphasis on mental health emerging, a call for Fall Reading Week in students’ interest has a few more keen ears listening,” said Vere-Marie Khan, UTSU vice president, university affairs. “[The] administration is much more interested in hearing how students feel and what would ensure a good mental health atmosphere on campus.”
The referendum question, as drafted by Abdullah Shihipar, president of the Arts & Science Students Union (ASSU), will read, “Are you in favour of moving the start of orientation week to a few days before Labor Day in order to allow for the creation of a Fall Reading Week?”
In order to avoid the loss of teaching days and changes to the exam schedule, it was agreed that the rescheduling of orientation would be required. “As orientation week is student run, the faculty would want a clear indication from the student body that they would be in favour of a restructuring,” Shihipar said, in justification of the referendum question.
Khan, Shihipar, and Ben Coleman, UTSU president, have been consulting with various members of the administration, including the vice provost students and several college deans. Their next step will be to meet with the Council of Deans to present a detailed proposal and the results of the referendum.
When asked why a Fall Reading Week was so unlikely until last year, Shihipar explained that “the scope” has changed. “Last year the focus was all first entry undergraduate programs and due to conflicting schedules that was never going to be feasible. This year, the approach is to take it faculty by faculty — demonstrate the case at one faculty before moving on to the next.”