SGA reopens discussion of reading days



Students study in the Bailey/Howe Library.

Readings days are back on the table.

SGA requests to reopen conversations around reading days reinstatement led to a discussion with campus-wide representation on March 6.

“The conversation was productive,” said SGA President Jason Maulucci.

But, he said the Faculty Senate had not fully consulted the SGA before finalizing the schedule.

In November 2015, Faculty Senate voted to remove reading days from the academic calendar, according to a Dec. 13, 2015 Cynic article.

“Any claim that the current calendar was made with consultation with the SGA is untrue,” Maulucci said. “And you can quote me on that.”

Faculty Senate President Cathy Paris stated in an email obtained by the Cynic that the current schedule was created after the Faculty Senate had worked with SGA.

“The calendar followed from a lot of thoughtful discussion between, among others, the Faculty Senate Student Affairs Committee and the SGA,” Paris stated. “Everyone worked together towards a mutually agreeable solution to the age-old calendar problem.”

Maulucci said students reacted negatively to the schedule change this fall, and that he had received hundreds of complaints.

“So many students reached out and said they had anxiety, too much much stress and not enough time,” Maulucci said. “Obviously our first priority was the mental health and well-being of students.”

Reading days are days set aside for studying between exam days during final exam periods. In the past, UVM has placed two reading days in the exam schedule for this purpose.

The exam period this fall included one reading day Dec. 14 and condensed the the two-week exam schedule from previous years into the week of Dec. 12.

Sophomore Kyle Morand said that the one-week exam schedule didn’t provide him with enough time to study.

“With all the tests in a week you’re bound to have to cram several together, and you’re more likely to lose sleep studying,” Morand said. “Two weeks would allow a much more relaxed testing period.”

UVM needs to make changes in order to fix these problems, Maulucci said.

“We need to overhaul the current calendar,” he said. “There’s way too much emphasis on finals grades for there not to be enough time to prepare for the tests.”

First-year Erin Guilmet said she wasn’t concerned by the new one-week schedule.

“I don’t mind only having one reading day because it means exams are done in one week instead of being dragged out over two weeks,” Guilmet said. “At least this way we get them over with quickly.”

Paris stated that the Senate would wait before switching the schedule again.

“We agreed to evaluate the impact of the changes over time and then revisit the calendar after a few semesters,” she wrote.

Maulucci said the Faculty Senate members could make the change in a timely manner if they wanted to.

“There are plenty of examples when they’ve set the academic calendar from one year to the next in the blink of an eye, but they feel like they need to stand their ground,”  he said. “There are a lot of people in the ivory tower who are afraid to admit that they’re wrong.”

Though he disagrees with them when it comes to reading days, Maulucci often works well with the Faculty Senate, he said.

“I try to separate it from all the good work we’ve done with them,” he said. “With this issue, they’re just dead wrong.”