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Student rep says he’ll oppose motion

Removal of supplementary exams could pile on the pressure for first-year Engineering students. Photo: comedy_nose (Flikr creative commons)

The University of Ottawa’s faculty of engineering is pursuing a motion to eliminate supplementary exams for first- year engineering students, according to the undergraduate engineering student representative on the university’s senate.

“I started my mandate as a student senator in May and I was made aware that the faculty of engineering passed a motion to modify academic regulation 9.6,” said Jean- Philippe Dubé, which concern supplementary exams for 1000-level courses. The supplementary exams are important for first-year students especially, according to Dubé, because many “have never taken a final exam before.”

Removing the supplementary exams may force students to add another semester to their degree if they fail a prerequisite, said Dubé. “It’s not necessarily easy for students to retake a class in the summer,” he added, because many students don’t live in Ottawa year-round.

Retaking courses can also be a significant financial burden for students, he said, as students have to pay for more classes. The current regulation states, that “students registered in a 1000-level course in the Civil Law section, at the faculty of engineering or the faculty of science who obtain an ‘E’ in these courses are eligible to write a supplementary examination.”

The process began at an April 29 faculty of engineering council meeting where they approved a motion to eliminate the extra exams. The council noted that most students who do take supplemental exams fail, and that many advisors encourage students to retake the course anyways, according to the meeting minutes.

The issue was then brought up for debate at the U of O’s senate, which is responsible for the university’s academic policies. The senate’s council on undergraduate studies approved the motion on May 28, but the senate mandated at their June 8 meeting that the executive committee review the file and make a recommendation before giving their approval. No minutes for either meeting have been posted online at the time of publication.

The Senate’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. in Tabaret 083.

The faculty of engineering denied the Fulcrum’s request for comment because the motion is still under review.

Dubé said he intends to oppose the motion when the topic is up for discussion. “Most (students) were unaware of this change, and the ones that are being informed do not see that as a positive change,” he said.