Slack week cancelled at three Montreal universities
By Sara Marett
University students in Montreal returned to school yesterday after an extended holiday due to the recent ice storm which shut down the city for almost two weeks. Most, however, received news that Spring Break won't be much of a holiday this year.
Of the four Montreal universities, three have cancelled their reading weeks in February to make up classes that were cancelled during the storm. The University of Montreal, Concordia University and L'université de Quebec ˆ Montreal have all cancelled the week holiday McGill University is the only school that has scheduled the holiday as usual.
Concordia University was closed for two weeks during the storm. Not only has their reading week been cancelled, but the school has also scheduled classes on Sundays for six weeks to make up for lost time.
"We've taken pretty extreme measures but it had to be done," said Donna Varrica, public relations officer at Concordia.
Students there seem to be accepting the holiday cancellation. "I did have plans for the week but then again, I've paid tuition for these classes and I would like to get my money's worth," said second-year fine arts student Marie Milner. She said the time off from the storm was like an extended holiday. "I had power so my apartment was full of people it was like a party."
James Edwards, VP-administration for Concordia's Student Union, said because classes only resumed yesterday, many students do not know that reading week has been cancelled. "We would have liked to see Spring Break spared, particularly in Montreal in the middle of a cold winter, but most students seem to be understanding that it had to be done," he said.
Quebec's Ministry of Education provides guidelines to the province's universities regarding how many hours of instruction are necessary to acquire a course credit. "One course requires approximately 45 hours, but this is only guideline that we encourage schools to follow, it is not an official requirement," said Jean LeClerc, communications officer for the Ministry. Varrica said it was because of these guidelines that they decided to cancel reading week and schedule additional classes.
At McGill, which was closed for six days, students are thankful they are still able to enjoy their Spring Break, said Students' Society of McGill University President Tara Newell. The university has instead scheduled classes on Easter Monday and two additional days at the end of the semester.