SU President outlines proposal for reforming the structure of the Cambridge term

Louis Mian 11 February 2021
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The Cambridge Student Union Undergraduate President, Ben Margolis, outlined a provisional proposal for changing the structure of the Cambridge term at Student Council (1st February). This would see a lengthening of term, the introduction of a Reading Week, and the implementation of a Monday-Friday working week.

Margolis explained that ‘by moving the start of term forward three days, and the end of term back two, we can create an entire new week in the middle of term that could be used as a “Reading Week”, whilst allowing for a full Freshers’/Welcome Week and (maybe most excitingly) giving students an actual weekend!’

Under the President’s proposal, for Michaelmas term students would move into Cambridge on the 26th and 27th September, with Freshers’ Week lasting until the 2nd October. Students would then have a Reading Week from the 2nd to the 6th November and would move out of residence from the 5th December.

According to Margolis, these changes would have four principal consequences: they would help reduce student loneliness; would allow ‘more designated time to enjoy all the opportunities the Cambridge student experience has to offer’; would result in ‘a reduction in the number of students forced to consider intermission for reasons related to academic work’; and would enable students to have ‘more time to explore areas of academic interest’.

The UG President argued that ‘the Cambridge Undergraduate education doesn’t work for everyone. Students have long known this, and senior figures in the University have admitted this at various points over the last decade.’

He noted that the evidence for this ‘ranges from the exacerbation of students’ loneliness’ to ‘students not being able to engage with extracurricular activities due to worries about academic work’.

‘Our data on why students tend to intermit include frequent mentions of academic work – this is not because of the rigour of the academic syllabus, but because the structure of the term leaves little room for those without capacity to work at the rate demanded by our short terms,’ Margolis continued.

The Cambridge SU stated that ‘officers will be consulting on this proposal over this term, which will culminate in a Student Council vote later this term. Feel free to get in touch with Ben via his Facebook or at ben.margolis@cambridgesu.co.uk.’

To read more about this proposal click here.