Western will end self-reported absences next term following a review of the initiative’s three-year trial period.
Western University announced in early spring that it would be reviewing and potentially revising the SRA policy, and the University Students’ Council confirmed in a council meeting last Wednesday that the program would not be renewed going forward. The university introduced SRAs in 2019 on a three-year trial basis, which ended in the 2021-22 school year.
The SRA policy, which allowed students to excuse themselves from classes and receive an automatic 48-hour extension on assignments worth 30 per cent or less of their final grade, received widespread support from students since the trial period began.
“I think it gave students choice, especially when we’re navigating a really inundated medical system as well as academic accommodations offices,” said outgoing USC president Zamir Fakirani.
Some faculty members have suggested that the accommodations have created a difficult workload for professors with little support for faculty members.
“It is important to remember that faculty are the ones that are dealing with the workload challenges associated with accommodations, SRA, and now [the Self-Isolation Reporting Tool],” said professor and university Senate member Mark Cleveland in a Senate meeting last month.
Fakirani hopes that the incoming USC executive team will advocate for the reinstatement of SRAs or other similar accommodations for students.
“I’m really hopeful — and I did say this at Senate — that the university will look into other solutions for students in the interim, but on the whole I would say that we’ve been working hard to advocate for SRAs and I’m disappointed in the decision,” said Fakirani.