Cambridge students say yes to a reading week

Will week 5 blues now be a thing of the past?

In a referendum organised by the Cambridge Students’ Union, students voted for the introduction of a week-long reading week in the Michaelmas and Lent terms.

2,763 students (63.8 per cent) voted for a reading week, and 1,492 (34.4 per cent) voted against it. The total turnout for the referendum was 4,330 voters, reflecting both undergraduate and postgraduate participation.

The campaign for the introduction of a reading week (written hereon as the Yes campaign) was led by Ben Dalitz (Welfare & Community Officer 2021-22), Tara Choudhury (BME Officer 2021-22), and Anna Ward (Disabled Students’ Officer 2021-22).

In a press release, the Yes campaign stated that it was “really excited to have the support of the student body on this proposal,” announcing that it would give them “a strong position” as they work with the University, Colleges, and Faculties to implement a reading week.

They drew attention to “all the JCR and MCR Officers and academic reps who’ve worked with [the Yes campaign] over the last two years, without whom this proposal would not be where it is today.”

They also expressed their intent to “consult with the student body to address any reservations that arose over the course of the Referendum, to make sure that the Reading Week is a positive change for everyone.”

Areas that the Yes campaign plans to give “special attention” are “rent and room licenses, systems for safeguarding against any increase in workload, impacts on international students, and ensuring the Reading Week proposals are equally applicable to all taught courses.”

They also encouraged “anyone who’d like to raise a concern or get involved” to contact them at [email protected] or the team’s work Facebook accounts.

Image credits: Cambridge SU

As it stands, the proposal for reading week is to start term three days earlier (on a Monday) and end term four days later (on a Sunday).

The referendum was conducted to confirm to the Cambridge Colleges, Faculties, and Departments that a reading week would have a positive impact on students’ wellbeing. When consulted previously by the University, the aforementioned trio had shown “a lack of certainty” that it would (read more here).

Feature image credits: Keira Quirk