A motion was passed by the OUSU Council’s 5th Week meeting on Wednesday 27th May in favour of setting aside time on Wednesday afternoons for students to pursue extra-curricular activities.
The policy was proposed by Louis Trup and called for Wednesday afternoons to remain free from any mandatory course commitments.
This would allow students “the opportunity to take part in extra-curricular activities”. The motion proposed that these might include taught and research courses.
The motion began by mentioning OUSU’s previous adoption of this policy, “OUSU once had policy in support of having Wednesday afternoons free for course commitments for students”.
This referenced OUSU’s last affiliation with the idea of free Wednesday afternoons which ended in Michaelmas of 2003. This was because the motion lapsed when no one campaigned in favour of it.
Louis Trup, OUSU President and proposer of the policy, told Cherwell, “I’m proud to be bringing this motion alongside the legend that is Hector Bagley. Wednesday afternoons are free in other universities, and it certainly enhances the student experience.
“It allows for more people to get involved with extra-curricular activities like sport, which I believe can only be a good thing. That is why I think it should be OUSU policy.”
During the meeting he also defended his motion, saying it would “give us more choice”. He also said that students shouldn’t be forced into doing things by timetabling, concluding that “it’s a start to bringing about change”.
OUSU’s return to this policy was sparked by a meeting between the President and the University’s Sports Strategic Sub-Committee, where the issue was raised.
Wednesday was suggested as suitable because it is the day many national universities choose to allow students time to pursue extra-curricular activities.
It is also the day that the majority British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league matches take place in many sports.
When asked whether he thought he was representing students’ wishes, Trup responded by citing OUSU’s role as representing students. The agenda for the meeting concedes, “as OUSU has no policy on this, OUSU’s representative, Louis trup, could only speculate as to what students want”.
First-year English and French student Emma Millington commented, “The idea of having delegated time where you’re not working is quite radical and could benefit students’ physical and mental health. I have two and half hours of French class on Wednesdays when I would like to go to our college’s Zumba class.”
However, she highlighted how the motion may be short sighted in its understanding of the logistics behind the way the university creates its timetables.
She said, “If the class wasn’t in the evening it would clash with some English contact hours.”
This debate comes in the wake of calls for a reading week, which so far have remained unanswered.