York University students around the province can start celebrating; the university has officially announced that reading week will actually be a weeklong break for the first time in the 2018-2019 academic year.
Unlike their Ontario college counterparts, whose reading week breaks are being shortened or obliterated entirely due to the Ontario college strike, university students from York will soon be enjoying the same length break that other university students from around the province have had for some time now.
The new ruling for a longer reading week in the fall term was passed at the latest York Senate meeting this month, meaning that York U students will now be breaking for a total of four school days, beginning the day after Thanksgiving Monday until the following Monday.
York will now be joining the other Ontario universities who have passed similar rulings in recent years, such as U of T, Ryerson, Brock, Western and countless others.
But the real question is why was "reading week" allowed to be misleading for so long? Why wasn't it ALWAYS the much-needed (and earned) weeklong break that students deserved?
Senator Habbiba Ahmed, Vice President of Advocacy with York United Black Students’ Alliance, supported the proposal for a longer reading week and included several poignant statistics in her address to the Senate: "Eleven per cent of our students have contemplated suicide,” she said. “Forty-eight per cent have felt so depressed they could not function, and 6.8 per cent have felt an overwhelming amount of anxiety this year."
Other Senate members noted that despite what the Registrar’s Office says, many York U students do not have a one-day gap between classes and exams, meaning that longer break periods before exams are warranted and hugely beneficial to students' overall wellbeing and ability to adequately prepare for exams.