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UFV’s reading break lands on Family Day, not fair?

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With reading break on the horizon, there is a mounting sense of reprieve growing on campus. Finally, students, like myself, will have time to get started on that ever piling up to-do list that most of us probably have somewhere. For most, reading break is a time to relax, go on vacation, celebrate the freedoms of having time away from schooling, or to simply binge Netflix for a while. For me, it means a week of writing term papers while listening to music and podcasts. Absolutely glorious.

While pre-planning my writing schedule for the break I noticed that on UFV’s event site, where reading week is posted, it lists the break as only occurring from the Tuesday (Feb. 19) to the Saturday (Feb. 23). This means that the official reading week, by UFV’s standards, skips the Monday and instead adds the Saturday to the days listed as the official reading week break. At first I thought that this was odd until I realized that the Monday is actually a provincial holiday: Family Day. This means, that UFV’s campuses are still closed on the Monday but they extend the official break period into the upcoming Saturday. UFV has done this for a few years now and will continue to do so.  This works for UFV, and probably makes the university look good. By officially including the holiday Monday in the reading week break, it seems that UFV has one more day of active classes.

Other universities do similar things, opting to hold their reading breaks during the week of Family Day. The University of British Columbia (UBC) declares on its website its reading break will run the Family Day week from Monday through Friday, while Simon Fraser (SFU) will run from the Tuesday through Sunday. Kwantlen Polytechnic (KPU) closely follows but not quite with the Monday through Sunday. Many, like UBC and KPU, opt to include the Monday holiday and bits of the weekend, while others like SFU and UFV simply ignore the Monday holiday and extend the official break into the weekend. And those poor souls at British Columbia’s Institute of Technology have no reading break, but they do have my sympathy.

UFV isn’t doing most of us any favours by including the Saturday, as it cuts us one day short of additional holiday time. In all likelihood I’ll pick up work on the stat Monday, but I’m still a little frustrated that UFV undermines the hard work of students by cutting on available holiday time. The worst of it lies in the idea that many universities do this. UFV is particularly noticeable in how they do it. They exclude the Monday from the break listing. While other universities include the holiday in order to subvert how many days they are actually cutting of potential class time, UFV is blatant about it.

In essence, this scheduling of reading break seems to work for UFV. The university has been using it for several years now making this hardly a new debate. The reading week scheduling benefits the majority of UFV students by not sacrificing addition class time; however, it’s a cheeky and unfair means of undercutting students from their well-deserved vacation time. If the university chose to push the break to the week of Monday, Feb. 25 it would infringe dangerously on midterms, but why not schedule the reading break on the week of Monday, Feb. 11? That way we would get a Monday truly off from classes without the usage of a provincial holiday. However, this would also mean a sacrifice of class time. Either way, the struggles of reduced class time and pressures from upcoming exams loom. The only question remains: Is there a better, more effective, way of scheduling the break?

Image: Cory Jensen/The Cascade

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