‘Russ’ partying may be delayed

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Graduating students known as “russ” in Norway may be able to party with even more abandon from 2013, after the Labour Party announced this week that it would consider moving final exams forward from June until the second week of May. The partying could then begin after that.

Russ in their tradition red overalls. PHOTO: Views and News

Marianne Aasen of Labour wrote on Labour’s web site this week that many exam results are ruined because of all the partying that begins around Easter and climaxes on the 17th of May. “I don’t want to deprive the youth of a fine russ celebration, therefore I think it’s time to look for a solution where school work won’t suffer,” Aasen wrote. “We need to evaluate a proposal to move exams up to May, with celebrations afterwards.”

That means the partying would begin around the 17th of May. It was unclear how long it would go continue, especially if school actually ends and students are free to take off for travels, jobs or other pursuits. If the school year is changed to accommodate the partying, it would need to begin earlier in the fall, with some vacation periods in autumn and spring shortened as well.

Labour officials, who decided 32 years ago to delay exams until after May 17 in an effort to dampen wild partying, thus seem to have changed their minds after years of pressure from student lobbyists. Aasen now writes that it’s “problematic” that the students must prepare for their most important exams during a time of high absenteeism, little sleep and lots of partying. The partying also disturbs other younger students at the schools who aren’t russ.

Others disagree, rejecting Aasen’s characterization of a “fine russ celebration” by noting that it’s more a case of students simply getting drunk night after nigh, and they should take responsibility for that themselves. One teacher stressed that the russ celebrations should accommodate the school year, not the other way around.

Many students welcomed the proposal to have exams, then party. Debate was expected to continue, but with Labour dominating the left-center government coalition, changes were expected as well.

Views and News staff