Section: Editorial

Staff Editoral: Disgraceful period

The term “grace period” is meaningless to many students, though emails are typically sent out informing students on the subject every time finals draw near.

The grace period encompasses the seven days before final examinations, during which professors are only allowed, by College rule, to assign papers and projects already established on the syllabus or a regular amount of homework – “regular amount” meaning that professors are not allowed to hold finals during these seven days or give major assignments that were not originally on the syllabus.

According to the Kenyon website, the purpose of the grace period is “to ensure that students have adequate time free from extraordinary pressures to prepare for final examinations and that students may have vacations free from substantial additional assignments.”

But, in fact, professors often ignore the grace period and leave students to balance their regular amount of schoolwork and finals at the same time. Some students are glad to have final exams and assignments due the final week of classes rather than during finals week – if they can get their work out of the way, they can go home for break earlier. For others, these last-minute assignments seem to only add to a myriad of other exams and essays to which they must give their attention. Regardless of whether students find the general disregard of the grace period to be a burden or a relief, it raises the question of why we have the grace period if it is rarely abided. The only reason we can speculate as to why the grace period exists is to cover up the fact that Kenyon, unlike many colleges and universities throughout the U.S., does not have an actual reading days period before final examinations, save for the Saturday and Sunday immediately before finals week, which would have been free studying days even without being emptily proclaimed “reading days.”

Kenyon professors should either acknowledge that dismissing the grace period can lead to overly-condensed, stressful periods and begin taking the policy seriously, or get rid of the policy altogether. This would eliminate future confusion and undue stress. While it might lend the advantage of an early holiday to the occasional student, the current widespread disregard for the grace period rule is unfair to the student body overall. Students should be able to predict their final schedules with accuracy and attend to examinations with an amount of stress that is not unnecessarily large.


Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at