O-week becomes issue again
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O-week becomes issue again
By Stephanie Cesca
Frosh week festivities have been extended for next year, after Western's Senate approved starting classes on the first Monday after Labour Day, instead of the usual Thursday.
The recommendation, made by the Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Admissions Friday, was passed by Senate to save professors the hassle of having to introduce courses twice, due to a lack of attendance on the first Thursday and Friday of the term.
"There were a number of considerations that were weighted quite heavily," said SCAPA chair John Thorp. "One, it's absurd to start a term on a Thursday or Friday."
Thorp said only about half of students attend classes during the first week. "It's very awkward to kick off tutorials in the middle of the week when classes haven't started," he added.
However, Kathleen Okruhlik, dean of arts, said she was concerned this move would allow Orientation Week to be extended to those two extra days. "I think the reasons for the concerns are very obvious. We work very hard to shed our party image. I would hate to reverse that progress."
Okruhlik said one of her main concerns was that a large percentage of new students were under the legal drinking age and extending Orientation Week might exacerbate excessive underage drinking. Okruhlik said she believed if classes started later, the official move-in date should be moved to a later date as well.
Thorp, however, said neither SCAPA nor Senate had any control over the move-in date, which was decided by housing and ancillary services. "Presumably, the move-in day would be set later on in the week."
Susan Grindrod, Western's senior director of housing and ancillary services, said move-in day could possibly be extended to two days, something housing has discussed in the past. Grindrod said such a decision would only be made after consulting with the University Students' Council.
USC president SzeJack Tan said he encouraged administration to consult with him or the USC with any inquiries regarding Orientation Week.
"As far as we know, it's going to be exactly the same. We're assuming everything is a-OK," said Mark Kissel, VP-education for the USC. Kissel said administration had not contacted the USC, so Orientation Week was planned to start on Labour Day.
Ideally, Kissel said the USC would like to see O-week remain a week-long experience. "The academic component is a very important part of orientation week and has been especially important for the past three years," he said. "It's not going to be seven days of hard-core partying everyday no way."
Huron College councillor Chris Sinal said although housing could push move-in day to the end of the week, reducing or eliminating Orientation Week altogether, it would be unlikely.
He added it made sense to keep move-in day on the Labour Day holiday because it was convenient for parents.