The University Council feels that exams and deadlines at weekends and on public holidays are detrimental to students’ well-being. Therefore, the representative body wants the Executive Board to tell the faculties to ban such scheduling. In addition, the Council wants students’ interests to be considered when deadlines and exams are scheduled, e.g. by allowing students to have a say in the scheduling.

Deadlines on Easter

The request was initiated by Armand Gozé, a student representative on the Council. “I’m on the Student Well-being Taskforce, and I’m often told by students that they had to sit an exam at the weekend, or had deadlines on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday,” the IBA student told EM. “That’s taking things way too far. Students must be given a chance to rest.”

Gozé is not quite sure how often exams and deadlines coincide with weekends or public holidays, but he does know it happens at several faculties. “For example, Erasmus MC often schedules exams on Friday evenings or resits at the weekend. At ESL, exams are often held at weekends. And students attending ESSB recently complained about having deadlines on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.”

Take a deep breath

Gozé thinks that the issue is caused by a systematic problem: increasing pressure to perform. “Students are expected to be flexible, and that’s being taken very far. It’s taking its toll on student well-being.”

He is critical of the way in which the university is dealing with student well-being issues. “It’s great and wonderful that they’ve set up all sorts of initiatives designed to improve mental health, but all too often they forget to tackle the systematic underlying issues. Allow students to take a breath and relax on weekends and on public holidays. That will actually solve one of those underlying issues.”

The Executive Board has not yet responded to the University Council’s letter. A spokesperson stated that the Board first wishes to determine how common exams and deadlines on weekends and public holidays are. The Board is expected to address the letter next month.