Students report dissatisfaction with flexibility week as spring break replacement

Students+waiting+in+front+of+the+Lion%27s+Den.

Photo: Hongyu Liu

Students waiting in front of the Lion’s Den.

By Alec Klusza, Assistant News Editor

Emerson’s “Flexibility Week”—meant to provide students with a reduced work load for the week—was received poorly by many students, who cited ineffectiveness, and in some cases, an inadvertently increased workload.

Faculty Assembly voted in March to implement Flexibility Week—a period from March 22 to March 26 meant to lessen students’ workload in the absence of a spring breakafter outrage from the student body over the lack of a scheduled break. The student frustration sparked legislation passed by the Student Government Association, which demanded administrators give students some type of break for the sake of their mental health. The college asked all professors to “reduce the pressure of assignments” via any solutions they deemed appropriate during the week, like holding asynchronous classes or providing extensions on coursework. 

Despite the attempt at giving students time off, some said the compromise fell short of supplying an adequate break.

Rivke Goodman, a sophomore creative writing major, said while some professors took the time to work with students to find some way to provide a respite, most chose not to participate. 

“I didn’t get the Flexibility Week,” Goodman said. “Only one of my professors actually did anything flexibility-related, and I’m very grateful that she did. She actually emailed us a survey and was like, ‘Hey, what do you guys want?’ And we had an asynchronous class instead of Zoom-ing, which was really nice.”

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Goodman noted the complications created by the week and the college’s wellness passes, which allow students to skip one class per course whenever they choose, saying they force students to play catch-up on their own. 

“It did not change my workload,” Goodman said. “My wellness passes aren’t affecting anything, it’s just giving me more homework to do.”

Jay Rosato, a senior communications major, said they felt the compromise was an insufficient break.

“It didn’t really work that well,” Rosato said. “I didn’t notice much of a difference in any of my classes, I think that professors tried but it just didn’t really work out. I didn’t notice any change in my routine. I got up, went to classes, did school work.”

Eli Fresco, a first-year visual and media arts major, also said the compromise led to more work from professors.

“It was pretty lame because the only difference was that I had one class drop one period,” Fresco said. “One class offered one period off, and all the other professors actually seem to assign more work, if anything. They’re thinking, ‘Oh, since we’re not going to be as engaged in class, we’re not going to be doing as much in class, we can assign more work,’ but then it just made a shitload of work piling up that I couldn’t manage. It was not effective at all.”

 

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