On Thursday November 26th, after months of uncertainty, it was determined that Orientation Week 2010 would indeed be a full week of activities as opposed to the shortened orientation “week” that was proposed by the Registrar’s Office.
The issue of a shortened orientation week was first presented to Senate in January 2009, by the Registrar’s Office as part of the 2009-2010 calendar dates. The shortened orientation week was proposed as a means to ensure that students received the 60 required teaching days per semester. In addition to the 60 required teaching days, it is also required that there be a minimum of 12 exam days, a minimum of 2 exam study days (not including weekends), and that exams be scheduled no later than December 22nd, 2009.
In October 2009, the Registrar’s Office tabled a motion to Senate to address the issue. Two Options were provided for the Senators to vote on. Option 1 proposed that orientation activities would start a day earlier, and that classes would start on Thursday resulting in a shortened orientation “week”. Orientation activities would run from Saturday to Wednesday, followed by classes on Thursday and Friday, followed by more orientation activities on Friday night and Saturday. Option 2 proposed that one day of Saturday class would occur towards the end of the term, and orientation week would run from Sunday to Saturday as per normal procedure. The motion generated much discussion and the motion was deferred to the November 16th meeting at the request of the student Senators in order to gather student opinion on the subject.
Petitions in support of the full length week were circulated. In addition, many students chose to show their support for a full length week by attending the November 16th Senate meeting, many of them wearing their favourite articles of orientation week clothing.
At the November 16th Senate meeting the motion was voted upon. At this meeting 47 out of 80 Senators were present. Senate is composed of 14 students, 62 faculty and administration, and four alumni. The vote resulted in a tie, as 23 senators were for changing the structure of orientation week while 23 senators were opposed to it. In the event of a tie, the UW President is given the opportunity to cast a deciding vote. However, President David Johnston declined to vote.
Following discussions between student senators and the Provost on Thursday November 10th, it was announced that Orientation Week 2010 would run in the typical full week format from Sunday September 5th through Saturday September 11th. Although Orientation Week 2010 will be a full week affair, further discussion and broad-based student polling will determine the future length of orientation weeks past 2010.