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Advocacy Update – September 2021
There was a lot going on in September. It was great to welcome students back to campus and the SU was busy advocating for you and making sure everyone was safe as classes resumed.
First, the SU is continuing its advocacy with regard to the last-minute course changes imposed by the university and resulting steep financial costs students unnecessarily incurred as a result. The university moved hundreds of courses online at the discretion of instructors in late August and early September. We heard from hundreds of students who had most or all of their classes move online suddenly. The SU was not consulted on this decision at all.
Many affected students incurred travel, accommodation, or parking costs under the assumption that the university would honour the course delivery type students registered for. We have heard from international students who have spent up to $5,000 to be here and domestic students who have spent around $3,000. Now they get to learn from a laptop.
Unfortunately, the university hasn’t stepped up to fix the problem they created. The bursary they announced covered only $500 or $1000 of costs and only included a fraction of students who had their courses changed. The university has refused to meet with the SU on this topic and we are continuing to demand a meeting. Our demand is that the university fully reimburse travel and accommodation expenses for students for course changes announced to after the August 20th deadline. We will keep you up to date as this progresses.
Next, the SU won a delay to the university’s Exceptional Tuition Increases in Medicine and Engineering. The university was asked to consult with students again since they only consulted after classes had finished for the summer. The consultations are better this time but it remains unclear how student feedback has changed the proposed increases. The tuition increases will go to the Board of Governors on October 22.
The SU hosted a Mayoral candidates forum on September 23rd and it was quite the event. CBC News host Rob Brown moderated the nine invited candidates who discussed issues like campus voting, transit, downtown revitalization and more. If you haven’t decided who to vote for yet, you can listen to the debate on the SU website.