The SU hope to hold the referendum alongside the SU electionsLucas Maddalena/VARSITY

The Students’ Union (SU) passed a proposal for a referendum on a mid-term break in Michaelmas and Lent terms at a Student Council meeting on Monday evening (7/2).

A majority of 83% voted in favour of the motion, which required a two thirds majority to be adopted.

Student Council meetings bring together the eight SU sabbatical officers, as well as campaign, college, and subject representatives.

In a statement, the Undergraduate SU President Zak Coleman said that the referendum “offers students a powerful opportunity to have their say” on the matter.

“Demonstrating ongoing student support for this proposal as a pragmatic, urgently needed solution to widespread issues of burnout and poor student mental health forms a crucial part of our broader strategy for ensuring the Collegiate University agrees to the change.”

The SU hope that by holding the referendum, they can provide the university with evidence of widespread student support for the week five break, often referred to as a “reading week”.

“When the University consulted Colleges and faculties on the proposal, some raised questions about whether it would actually improve students’ experiences.” Zak said.


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“We believe students, who have the on-the-ground experience of just how relentless Cambridge terms can be, are best placed to determine what changes would make a difference for them.

“I hope this referendum will remove any doubt across the University that the majority of students are strongly in favour of a mid-term break in what will be a crucial few months for this proposal.”

If approved, the “mid-term break” would take place in Week five of Michaelmas and Lent term, beginning in 2022.

The SU are also campaigning for a full freshers week in Michaelmas term.

The SU have requested to the Democracy Committee that the referendum will take place at the same time as the SU elections in Lent, in order to encourage higher voter turnout.

The Democracy Committee will decide when and how the referendum will take place.