Reading Day policy out of touch with students

Most students know that UConn offers one reading day on Thursday during finals week, giving students a day to study with no scheduled exams. The university asserts that students have a second reading day on the Sunday before finals begin, as reported in The Daily Campus on Nov. 5. UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz explained that the semester ends on Saturday, students are given their first reading day on Sunday, three days of exams follow, a second reading day occurs on Thursday and another three days of exams follow.

While conceptually this situation may sound fine, this interpretation of the UConn finals week schedule is far removed from the experiences of most students.

First, UConn’s calendar lists Friday, Dec. 11 as the last day of the fall semester classes.  This being the case, it makes little sense for the university to consider Saturday as the last day of the semester. Second, and perhaps more obviously, students expect their weekends to be open. Students do not typically have academic obligations on Saturdays or Sundays.

Treating a weekend day students expect to have off as though it were a study aid generously offered by the university is at best naïve and at worst disingenuous. If the university genuinely considers Sunday a reading day, it is unclear why it is not listed on the university calendar as the Thursday reading day is.

Furthermore, the claim that the Thursday reading day splits the exam week evenly is misleading and at odds with the experiences of students. While the Thursday reading day may fall evenly among the number of exam days, it certainly does not fall evenly among the actual number of exams. The vast majority of exams occur before the Thursday reading day. This is because, while exams do occur on Saturday and Sunday, far fewer occur on these days than on the weekday exam days.

For most UConn students, the Thursday reading day occurs after they have taken most of their exams rather than breaking up their exam schedules evenly. Some students do not even benefit at all from the reading day, with all of their exams occurring between Monday and Wednesday.

The university should adopt a reading day policy that actually reflects the experiences and concerns of students. Calling the Sunday before exams a “reading day” and treating Thursday as the middle of the exam week are positions that are out of touch with student perceptions of the finals schedule.