Dal: No academic penalty for attending Day of Action

Dalhousie senate unanimously supports academic leniency for those students participating in Day of Action

Dalhousie senate continued their 12+ year long support of students attending the Day of Action. Photo: Jessica Flower


Dalhousie University’s senate voted Monday evening in support of a motion to grant students academic leniency to attend the Day of Action scheduled for Feb. 4.

Ali Calladine, student senator, put forth the motion inviting the senate to support the students in advocating the government for increased funding, which in turn would help lower tuition. Dalhousie Student Union president Ramz Aziz seconded the motion and later voiced his support and approval.

After a lengthy process of “wordsmithing,” and the retraction of an amendment that required a student making written arrangements with their professor 24 hours in advance, the motion was passed unanimously to a round of applause.

The approved motion would allow students to be absent from class next Wednesday  from 11a.m. until 4 p.m. without any academic penalty.

Senator Tarah Wright commended the motion saying, “it’s a great learning opportunity for students to be involved in advocacy.”

Senator Carolan McLarney said the senate has passed a similar motion continuously dating back to the early 2000s, saying that the motion has never forced a professor to agree but has merely requested compliance from faculty members.

Though the motion is allowing absence, it does not call for accommodations such as make-up lectures or tests and is a voluntary request — the senate is merely recommending leniency, and professors and teaching staff have the right to refuse to observe the motion.

Afterwards, Calladine expressed her excitement in anticipation of the day of student advocacy, an event that happens every four years.

“I’m incredibly optimistic and excited for the Day of Action … It’s important for students to see something well-organized and collaborative. I think a ton of people will come out.”

Calladine explained that having the senate’s co-operation of student participation in the event helps give the cause credibility.

“This shows that it’s a real thing we’re asking for.”

In addition to the senate support, the DSU has unanimously supported the event and has set up an open group specifically dealing with organizing and raising awareness.

Mount Saint Vincent and NSCAD universities have already made such academic allowances for their students and University of King’s College is expected to vote this week on whether it will follow suit.