Good Policy Begins With a Willingness to Listen
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Coming into university, I was blissfully ignorant. I thought that racism was over, feminism was unnecessary, and I had never even heard of the term “ableism.” Upon coming to Western, each student must fulfill one Arts credit. I had initially enrolled in Spanish, but decided last minute to switch into “Introduction to Women’s Studies,” thinking it looked interesting.
The latest post-secondary scandal to hit the news comes from the University of Toronto, where Dr. Jordan Peterson, a professor at the university, has refused to address students by their preferred pronouns. His commentary was sparked by Bill C-16, An Act to Amend the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code, which passed its first reading with a proposed addition outlawing harassment and discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. In response to this bill, Dr. Peterson created his “Professor Against Political Correctness” lecture series - in the first video, he reveals that if a student asked to be addressed by a non-binary pronoun, he would not recognize the request as it infringes on his right to determine what pronouns he uses to address them.
It is nearing the end of the month which means that the colours of our campuses are slowly changing, mid-terms and essays are upon us, and OUSA is preparing for our Fall General Assembly hosted at my home school of Western University.
When will financial literacy leave a lasting impact on students? | Savons-nous faire un impact durable chez nos élèves quant à la sensibilisation financière?
We have made it past thanksgiving, fall reading week, and Welcome Week is but a faint memory. It is around this time of year that many of us begin to look at our bank accounts and see the money from our summer job(s) start to dwindle down. This is when we all start to wonder, “How am I going to make it through the rest of the year? How can I make this work?” November is Financial Literacy Month which raises the question, “Is it time we change how our education system views an issue that should have been changed decades ago?”
Every fall, thousands of students arrive in university towns and get ready to move into new apartments. However, during the past few years, some students have been encountering a costly, frustrating situation – their apartments are still under construction.
I can hardly believe that the end of September is already here! It’s been a crazy month on our campuses and a great month for us at OUSA. We saw excited first year faces, the return of our upper year students, and finally our campuses are filled with the hustle and bustle that we are so used to (unfortunately the coffee lines have returned).
Gap years are ever increasing in popularity amongst students. But can you necessitate taking one?
A gap year is the year between high school and post-secondary or between post-secondary and graduate school during which individuals typically choose to work or travel. In our parent’s generation, gap years were a rarity and though they are growing in popularity, the statistics in Canada are nowhere close to the popularity in Europe, where gap years are considered a rite of passage.
Last January, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) created headlines across the province with a precedent-setting decision related to academic accommodation for students with disabilities. It began when a PhD student at York University was seeking an academic accommodation, and was required to relay her Diagnostic and Statistic Manual (DSM) diagnosis. She refused to accept this – she knew that a label was not necessary to receive appropriate accommodations. Eventually, the OHRC intervened and released new academic accommodations for students with mental health disabilities.
Imagine a centralized location where current and potential post-secondary students would be able to access the admission requirements for every program in the province. Imagine a place where these people could also see the total cost of these programs, including tuition, ancillary fees, and the costs of required educational materials. Maybe this centralized location could also include some information regarding student satisfaction with all aspects of their institutions.
One principle underlines all of OUSA’s advocacy work:
All willing and qualified individuals in Ontario must be able to access and excel within the post-secondary education system.
This includes students from marginalized groups, like those with disabilities.
Unfortunately, students with disabilities continue to be underserved by their universities. They access and complete university at lower rates than those without disabilities; they are likely to experience more exclusion, marginalization, and difficulty than their peers; and their experiences of discrimination can be compounded by other characteristics, including the type of disability they have. Among Ontarians with disabilities, those with physical disabilities are the most likely to attain postsecondary credentials, yet learning disabilities, mental health disabilities, and chronic illnesses are the most common among university students.