Faculty Extends Intersession To Seven Days

* Week-long break takes effect in 2000-01

Students can look forward to an additional day on the slopes or in the sun in the future, after the Faculty Council approved a proposal Wednesday to increase intersession to seven days.

The Council approved the recommendations of the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE) and the Undergraduate Council to increase the mid-year vacation to one full week.

For most years, the change will require the addition of at least one day to the intersession period--and the subtraction of a day from the fall reading period. If two days need to be added to meet the seven-day requirement, exams will be held on the Sunday before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, according to Arlene Becella, registrar for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

The intersession motion originated in the Undergraduate Council's Student Affairs Committee, chaired by John Paul Rollert '00. Becella presented the proposal to the Faculty Council.

Faculty Council members said they were pleased to give students a concession they had been clamoring for--not to mention an extra vacation day for teaching faculty as well.


"It would be nice to give the undergraduates a stretch long enough to go home, and to ensure that that would be the case year in and year out," said Faculty Council member Peter Buck, senior lecturer on the history of science.

Undergraduate Council members who worked for the change said students would gladly exchange a study day for a vacation day. And, they added, the change shows that the Faculty does sometimes listen to student voices.

"It's fantastic," Rollert said. "We do a lot of work in the U.C. through different Faculty committees, and it's rewarding to see that work come to fruition, especially on an issue that's important to students."

Rollert said the proposal had to make its way through a complicated process of committee approvals, slowing its acceptance. Undergraduate Council members also had to reassure Faculty members that the additional days of intersession would not come at the expense of instructional time.

But holding exams on Sundays may conflict with some students' religious observances.

"I've never taken any exams on Sunday. It would definitely be weird," said Christopher K. Song '01.

Song said he attends a downtown Boston church every Sunday morning, and an afternoon exam might force him to leave church early.

Sunday exams would also bother Joseph C. Lucas '00, a practicing Southern Baptist, though he said yesterday that he would be hesitant to ask for a religious exemption from the registrar's office.

"There's a principle here, and there's a practicality. I would probably lean toward the practicality," he said. "I would probably only go for the exemption if I needed some extra time."

In other business, the Faculty Council approved a CUE proposal to raise the minimum Advanced Placement (AP) score needed to place out of the College's language requirement from a 3 to a 4.

College officials said the change does not constitute a new requirement--which would violate a stated goal of Faculty to reduce undergraduate requirements--but a balancing of the already existing standards. Those involved with the change said they did not believe a score of a 3 on the AP correlated with other College standards.

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