March is always a busy month for our student associations, and here at OUSA we have a lot of excitement approaching as well! This weekend, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance will be welcoming students from across the province to work on passing our next round of policy papers. Hosted by the McMaster Student Union, delegates from across the province will engage in conversations about the future of tuition, as well as some of the specific challenges mature students and LGBTQ+ students may face.
The OUSA policy paper on tuition will focus on pragmatically engaging with the province’s new tuition framework. This paper provides a strong overview of the history of tuition in the province and what has led us to where we are today. Following that, the paper will examine how to improve system regulation, ensure fair cost-sharing, address student debt, covering the costs of education and developing fair payment processes. This paper will conclude by examining what the future of tuition in the province should look like. Overall, this is a paper that takes an in-depth look at the current problems surrounding tuition in Ontario while at the same time providing a vision for the future. We are looking forward to hearing what our delegates will have to contribute to this paper.
At McMaster, we will also be having conversations about mature students and some of the specific barriers they face. Universities are bent towards a fairly consistent 9-5 schedule that is not conducive to a good experience for a student trying to go to school while working a full time job. This is just one example of a challenge that are unique to mature students that should be addressed.
Finally, delegates will engage in a discussion about OUSA’s first ever paper on LGBTQ+ students. Surveys conducted by OUSA have demonstrated significant differences in the perceptions of health care provided on campus for students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community. This points to a significant challenge in that services at universities might not be working as well for some students as it might be for others. We are really looking forward to what our delegates will have to contribute to this paper and are glad this will be the next topic we add to our policy library.
This should prove to be a great weekend filled with discussions about important issues for students in Ontario. I look forward to sending everyone an update after General Assembly!
All the best,