Presidential Update July 2022
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Sexual violence prevention and response is a topic that is often difficult to deal with. The stats are bleak: best estimates suggest that between 20% and 25% of young women will be sexually assaulted during their first four years of university, with the risk being especially high in the first two years; in three-quarters of incidents, the attacker is known to the survivor; and while false allegations are extremely rare, survivors and victims of sexual violence continue to be stigmatized by their experiences.
All willing and qualified students should be able to access and excel within Ontario’s post-secondary education system, yet students from rural and northern communities continue to get pushed into the periphery of the sector. A variety of factors contribute to the problems facing rural and northern students, including: a lack of mentors and/or role models with university degrees, generally lower rates of participation and persistence in universities, inadequate transportation funding, poor infrastructure around inter-regional transit, under-resourced satellite campuses and limited employment opportunities for recent graduates, to name a few. These problems perpetuate significant barriers to rural and northern Ontarians, while raising concerns about the overall effectiveness of the province’s post-secondary sector.
Many students enter university with the mindset that they need to perform well and succeed highly to make it through post-secondary education. Students want their minds to be able to consolidate all the information they memorize, just like professors say they should. Professors encourage sleep, but also suggest studying 12 hours or more each week. It is rare for students to find a way to do both, and it is often at the expense of friendship, careers, family, food, and even their mental health.
When the provincial budget was released in Ontario last winter, post-secondary made headlines: free tuition for low-income students. Student groups everywhere celebrated increased accessibility and affordability to post-secondary education for marginalized groups in the province. But another concern remains: entrance scholarships.
Attacking or defending political correctness, somehow, has become a central concern of our political and civil discourse. We see it in Canadian politics, and even more so in American politics, where Donald Trump symbolizes and spearheads a movement — groups of people — who feel disenfranchised by political correctness and see the very concept as an assault to their identity and their right to free speech.
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.