FEB eases the rules for toilet breaks during exams, but it’s not really a relief

Students at the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) are not prohibited from going to the toilet during exams anymore. At least, on paper: it will still be up to examiners to decide whether a student is allowed to leave the examination hall for a toilet break. ‘It shouldn’t be all about students being potential fraudsters.’

Last April it turned out that FEB was one of the few faculties that doesn’t permit toilet breaks during either online or on-campus exams – unless due to a medical necessity. The faculty board requested the board of examiners amend these regulations. Five months later, they had been taken out of the document. 

Full bladder

‘Examiners can deviate from that rule now,’ says FEB vice dean Manda Broekhuis. ‘But they are still responsible for the exam, so we can’t have a policy where there’s no supervision on our students during the exam, either offline or online.’

But some faculty council members question whether the amendment actually means a difference for students in practice. 

Putting the actual decision into the hands of the examiner is shifting the problem without solving it, says student faction member Taco Haseloop. ‘Does it mean on paper that we have the opportunity to go to the bathroom, or does it actually mean that students will still have to finish their exam with a full bladder?’

Daan Swets (The Independent Student) also fears that the new policy might lead to arbitrariness and will create confusion among students. ‘The focus shouldn’t be solely on students being potential fraudsters’, he adds. 


Faculty council member and assistant professor Marijke Leliveld says the policy will be of great help to examiners, though. ‘Now I can allow students to go out of the examination hall and that wasn’t an option before.’

Students are not free to go where they please. If they get permission to go for a number one or two, they will be escorted to the toilet. This should prevent possible cheating and has to ensure the quality of the examination, says Broekhuis. ‘The number of invigilators has remained the same.’



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