On each semester, a meeting between the EPFL management and the entire student representation takes place. The student representation raises agenda items through CERES, which is the body bringing together a student representative from each section.

1. Respect, Harassment, and Loss of Confidence (Martin Vetterli)

Point raised by CERES:

Following the article in Le Temps published on September 13th, students are perplexed, saddened, and disappointed. This leads to a loss of confidence in the current procedures and also a lack of understanding regarding the school’s silence.

The current RCO and TSN system emphasizes de-escalation but lacks sufficient support for victims.

We demand a public statement from EPFL regarding the facts mentioned in the Le Temps article, a reform of the sanctioning process to be decided by a representative committee, and a revision of the specifications along with an increase in resources allocated to external investigations to effectively handle the protection of EPFL community members.

Professor Vetterli acknowledged that there is work to be done on communication regarding respect and harassment on campus.

In response to the external commission’s request, it was stated that decisions are not made by a single person (the EPFL presidency) without discussion, but only after consultation with various entities.

There was no comment on the issue of resources allocated to external investigations.

2. Mental Health, Workload (Kathryn Hess Bellwald / Pierre Dillenbourg)

Point raised by CERES:

The deterioration of students’ mental health is a concern. Indeed, considering the results of last semester’s survey, student mental health deserves attention. Faced with this data, we question the impact of workload on mental health.

The issue of the inadequacy of workload compared to ECTS credits was raised 2 years ago, with the principle of “1 credit = 2 hours per week,” not accounting for work during the revision period. Recall that one ECTS credit represents 25 to 30 hours of work.

We request an external audit of workload within EPFL by class, comparing it with other universities starting with ETHZ, as well as a tool quantifying the average workload of a student per section.

Professor Hess presents the report on the mental health and well-being survey conducted in 2022, [link here]. From the results, exhaustion and overall mental health in the red, with significant variations by sections and gender, can be inferred. Various working groups have been launched on issues arising from the report, including one on education.

Professor Dillenbourg thinks it’s a good idea to try to quantify, find figures, to compare at least with ETHZ. Prof. Hess mentions other measures for mental health, such as the upcoming introduction of a break that could be taken during studies.

Psychotherapeutic consultations were then discussed following recent posts on PayeTonEPFL, among other topics, including the training of student assistants, exam evaluation methods, the upcoming fall break week, etc.

3. Deferred Exams and Consultations (Pierre Dillenbourg)

Point raised by CERES:

Following the last meeting, we were optimistic about the announcement of the project on deferred exams and the proposal of the working group. What is the progress of the file? What obstacles is it facing?

Regarding copy consultations, we request that copies be sent by email with the statement, the scale, and the correction of the exam ahead of consultation sessions, with the possibility of asking questions during any in-person consultations on the Lausanne campus.

There is a working group composed of student representatives (AGEPoly) as well as professors addressing these two questions.

For deferred exams, the solutions found will likely be specific to each stage of the EPFL curriculum, as well as the possibility of changing the format of an exam (e.g., from written to oral).

For consultations, discussions are still in the preliminary stage, but many student requests above do not seem to be a subject of debate.

4. Education Budget (Jan Hesthaven / Pierre Dillenbourg)

Point raised by CERES:

Last semester, the management and deans were consulted on the subject, stating that the budget for education in each faculty would not be reduced this year. This is evidently not the case: in some courses, fewer assistant hours are paid, and mentorship hours are reduced by more than half.

What are the plans regarding the education budget in view of budget cuts?

Professor Dillenbourg said that for student assistants, a budget of 600,000 CHF has been found, which will be distributed over 2 years to sections needing more budget for student assistance.

As for mentorship, whose paid activity has been reduced to 6 weeks this semester, Daniel Chuard said that the initial plan of the sections was to stop it completely. CERES (all section delegations) and the EPFL management will examine the utility and role(s) of the body.

Finally, concerning the coaching funds for sections, Professor Dillenbourg will ask the sections not to cut them, as is starting to happen in the CGC section, for example.

5. Cybersecurity (Rafael Corvalán)

The point was not raised by the student representation but by the management.

Caution was advised regarding phishing emails. Also, information was given that Gaspar and Tequila will soon be replaced.

6. Coupole, Esplanade, and RLC Project (Franco Vigliotti)

The point was not raised by the student representation but by the management.

Various announcements:

7. Catering Models and Meal Prices (Franco Vigliotti)

Point raised by CERES:

At the last representation-management meeting, the drafting of two reports, one on the internalization of catering and the other on the study of price grids, was discussed. What findings emerge from each of these two reports? Prices are still considered high by the student community.

Today, we notice that the catering offer generally consists of fewer vegetarian dishes than others. We believe this trend should be reversed. Moreover, we request an increase in the diversity of vegetarian dishes, with most vegetarian dishes still being pasta, and vegan dishes often missing from the menus.

It is first recalled that Epicure has become a workplace. The question of the lack of outlets at Epicure has been raised and should be addressed soon.

Regarding the reevaluation of prices, a new tariff grid should come into effect in the fall of 2024, slightly revising prices downward. The internalization or not of cafeterias would have a negligible effect on the operating costs of catering at EPFL according to the report in question.

Various other questions were raised, such as the possibility or not of serving oneself (which turned out to be a contractual obligation of catering points), changes in the menus mid-service, etc.