UVic examining policy regarding washroom breaks during exams

Following a Martlet interview with Robin Novlesky, an engineering student who was denied re-entry into his deferred exams after a washroom break, UVSS chairperson Kayleigh Erickson contacted university officials about the issue last week.

“For me, it was really upsetting,” said Erickson. “I read [the article] online right when it came out and immediately I thought, ‘This isn’t okay,’ and it’s not okay for any facility to be imposing some sort of washroom rule over exams.”

This September, while trying to write deferred exams, Novlesky was forced to leave the room because of urinary urgency that was brought on by medication he was taking on a trial basis. After being denied re-entry into two of the exams, Novlesky failed the three courses and was asked to leave the university.

“In my position,” said Erickson, “the main thing that I try and do is help as many students as possible with as many things as I can. So when I notice things happening on campus that I personally disagree with, that are harming other students and their ability to succeed at the university, I feel like it’s my obligation to step in.”

Erickson contacted Jim Dunsdon, the Associate-Vice President Student Affairs, about the issue last week. In a follow-up phone call, Erickson said that she and Dunsdon have been discussing the issue and that the practices of preventing students within engineering will be looked over in the upcoming weeks.

In a phone call, Dunsdon stressed that this had never come up as an issue in the past, and that common sense should prevail when invigilators supervise exams. He further stated that this issue presents an opportunity to look at other institutions and address the issue on campus. There is currently no university-wide policy at UVic to prevent students from leaving an exam.

“Having spoken to Robin, I’ve never heard anything like this,” Erickson said. “I’m in the political science department, and a lot of our exams are written and no one has ever had a problem, from what I’ve understood, from getting up and leaving and coming back.”

Erickson further pointed out that, “My end-goal is to make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again, or if a department feels as though they are short-staffed that this isn’t the option that they turn to.”

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