‘Being able to go to the toilet during an exam is not a right’

Due to a lack of communication, students at the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) were still banned from toilet breaks during some of the first block’s exams. ‘We don’t want to communicate that it’s the right of students’, says the faculty board.

Two months ago, the faculty board announced that examiners have now the right to allow students to go for a toilet break. But only if examiners can ensure that the examination proceeds without cheating and only under supervision. It turned out, however, that the implementation of the plan fell short during some of the first block’s exams.

FEB students were immediately informed that temporarily leaving the auditorium was forbidden. ‘Every exam announcement had in bold letters: students are not allowed to go to the toilet. Faculty rules’, says faculty board member Taco Haseloop of The Independent Student. ‘Every examiner or every student I contacted had the same message, except for one exam.’

A real pity

The faculty board admitted that they didn’t succeed in communicating the new rule to the staff and students. ‘It’s a real pity that the implementation didn’t go right’, said vice dean Manda Broekhuis during the faculty council meeting. ‘We put a lot of effort in our discussions with the board of examiners to communicate that examiners can decide whether to give the permission or not.’

The Rules and Regulations, nevertheless, don’t explicitly state the rule since it is difficult to outline all the reasons why examiners may prohibit students from leaving the auditorium, adds Broekhuis. ‘We don’t want to communicate that toilet breaks during exams are the right of students. Rather, it’s an exception because it is the examiner who decides.’


Secretary of the FEB board of examiners Frans Bakker agrees: ‘Nuances that could only lead to increased ambiguity should be avoided.’

The fact that students – even if by exception – may be permitted to go to the toilet during exams feels like a victory to Haseloop and The Independent Student. ‘We have been pushing for this permission for years, so I hope the faculty board will take more care into communicating it better.’



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