University officials have confirmed that proposed plans for semesterisation at York have been postponed, after a “lack of clear consensus on the right course of action” according to the University Registrar.
David Duncan, University Registrar and Secretary, told Nouse that “There are no plans to implement semesterisation in the near future.”
He said he was unable to be more specific in terms of a time frame but according to Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, the proposal has been delayed for at least a year.
Taylor confirmed that the University were not currently discussing semesterisation, saying: “We were told that the big semesterisation question would be delayed for a year, but there’s absolutely nothing about it doing the rounds.
“It’s not yet in the current draft of the University Strategy too… And to be honest it’s a pretty huge thing—impacting on literally everything here.
“So if it is being lined up, it needs talking about as early and as openly as possible.”
Koen Lamberts, the new Vice Chancellor, had previously indicated that semesterisation was a viable choice for York, saying that there were “compelling arguments in favour” of the move, but that any issues would have to be “ironed out” and Sir Christopher O’Donnell, Chair of the University Council had stated that “ultimately, we will have to move in that direction”.
The semester system would consist of two fifteen-week semesters instead of the three ten-week terms that the University currently has. It was first proposed in 2012, with University officials signalling that the move was inevitable.
Student feedback was generally negative, with most saying that semesterisation would have a negative effect on their educational experience. Under the plans the first term would run from 2 September to 21 December, with the second term starting in early January and ending on 6 June. There would be no Easter holiday during this time, only a long weekend and some assessments would have to be held before Christmas. The annual Roses tournament could not be held, as it would not be possible to coordinate dates with Lancaster University. In a survey over two thirds of students stated a preference for the current term system.
One second year Politics student expressed their delight with the University’s decision: “I think semesterisation is utterly farcical. It doesn’t match up with many other universities’ holidays or term systems. Why must York insist on being different to every other Uni?
“I’m glad they have decided to postpone the decision. Hopefully the University will actually listen to the students for once and keep the three term year.”
Oxford Brookes, Edinburgh and Newcastle are among the universities with a two semester system. When semesterisation was first introduced at Newcastle students came out in protest against the move.