November Advocacy Update

November Advocacy Update

November Advocacy Update 150 150 Michael Brown

The SU has continued its advocacy on many fronts throughout November, including the credit granted option, tuition and fees, and meetings with government officials.

On the Credit Granted option (CG), the SU is disappointed and frustrated that the university chose not to follow through on promises it made in the summer to ensure that all undergraduate students have some type of access to CG.

The initial proposal allowed for CGs in up to three semester-long courses over the duration of a student’s degree. Students would need at least a C- in the class in order to use CG. The SU was told there may be reasonable restrictions to CG for required or prerequisite courses.

However, the university has instead allowed the faculty of Engineering and other faculties such as Nursing to completely restrict out of existence the use of CG. Engineering and Nursing students will have no access to CG at all.

CG is important for two reasons: First, it allows students explore academically. They can take classes outside their program at reduced academic risk. Second, and more importantly, CG can help students should they face mental health challenges during their degree.

The university has claimed it takes student mental health seriously but those claims clearly fall flat given the CG decision. The Faculty of Engineering agrees that CG can help address mental health concerns but that was not enough for them to prioritize student mental health in their CG decision. Instead, they refer student to academic supports only, rather than add a new tool to deal with the issue.

The SU is continuing its fight on this issue and our expectation is that the university be held to account for the promises it makes to students.

On tuition, the SU met with the Advanced Education Minister’s Office on the university’s plan to increase Engineering tuition by more than 30% and Medicine by more than 15% for student starting in 2022. The university has failed to provide itemized lists of program improvements funded by these increases. They have also failed to outline performance metrics that will be used to show how the programs have improved thanks to the additional student money.

On the regular and annual tuition increases, the university will increase tuition by 7% for most programs, along with increases to several fees as well. This is going to the Board of Governors for approval on December 10th. The SU will present and provide the student perspective on this third consecutive year of significant increases.