Presidential Update Holiday Edition 2022
Interested in writing for OUSA? Contact Irum Chorghay, our Operations & Communications Coordinator.
“Ontario welcomes international students because of the diverse perspectives they bring to our institutions of higher learning.”
Throughout the summer, I have often found myself in discussions about international students. During these discussions I have constantly heard about the “benefits” these individuals bring to Canadian universities described as “unique perspectives in class discussions” or “a significant economic impact.” This is true – international students do provide immeasurable benefits; however, they also face significant barriers while attending our institutions. We need to start shifting our focus from the benefits these students bring, to ways that we can help them succeed while they are attending our institutions.
Separating people of different ages into “generations” is something I have never really understood. Titles such as “Baby Boomer" or “Generations X and Y” have become common colloquialisms. These loaded terms are often relied on when praising, critiquing, or homogenizing lived experiences based on age. Ever since my introduction into student leadership I have heard many positive things about students within our communities; “generation of the future” is one common phrase in academic settings. I think it is true in temporal progression as well as in responsibility. But throughout dialogue about my “generation," one term (and its use) continues to trouble me: the dreaded “millennials."
"Much of the current state of troubled relations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians is attributable to educational institutions and what they have taught, or failed to teach, over many generations. Despite that history, or, perhaps more correctly, because of its potential, the Commission believes that education is also the key to reconciliation. Educating Canadians for reconciliation involves not only schools and post-secondary institutions, but also dialogue forums and public history institutions such as museums and archives. Education must remedy the gaps in historical knowledge that perpetuate ignorance and racism."
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
“What’s the hardest question we could ask you right now?”
I remember sitting at that interview table, in a very nice house, at the end of Sterling Street in Hamilton. I felt confident and prepared, like I knew the answer. Thinking back to what I said at the time, I can now think of a new answer to indulge in – and maybe that’s the point. What happens when our plans don’t exactly work out the way we envisioned?
In a climate with strained university budgets, a dichotomy is often formed between teaching and research, with these two priorities pitted against each other and portrayed as in direct conflict. While there is undoubtedly a struggle in finding an appropriate balance for university faculty to divide their time between teaching and research capacities – particularly at U15 schools – undergraduate research can bridge this divide between university priorities.
The more people talk about mental health and wellness, the more important it is that we listen. Especially when it comes to students.
We’ve all heard the statistics. We know that 'one in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness at one point in their life’ but that ‘five in five people have mental health.’ We’ve started the important conversations needed to de-stigmatize mental illness and have participated in conferences such as The Jack Project where we talked, listened, and learned about the challenges people face everyday.
My name is Marc and I am very excited to be starting my role as a Research & Policy Analyst for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. The reason I am thrilled to be a part of OUSA is because this position combines two of my passions: higher education policy and student advocacy.
Written by Colin Aitchison and Zachary Rose
A disturbing proposal from members of a tech industry lobbying group, the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI), has been making the rounds in Ontario recently. As reported a few weeks ago in the Globe and Mail, it seems that several CEOs associated with the organization have suggested that there should be policy in place to punish Ontario graduates who choose to leave the country for work.
By now, many of us have heard about the sexual assault that occurred at Stanford University, the perpetrator who got off easy in part because of his great swim times, and the victim statement that was read across the world. The story broke at a time when universities across Ontario are in the process of creating new policies regarding sexual violence. In March, the Provincial Government passed Bill 132, which requires universities to create new standalone policies addressing sexual violence on their campuses. As university administrators both at my own institution and across Ontario work to create these policies, I find myself thinking about the Stanford victim statement, and all students closer to home who are survivors of sexual violence. When I think about all of the pain this crime has caused, I find myself wondering if we are doing enough.
Hopefully you are all enjoying these summer months and are finding creative ways to enjoy this wonderful heat we are having. It is hard to believe that OUSA’s steering committee has been together for 2 months. We have been hard at work preparing for a great year of post-secondary research, lobbying, and advocacy efforts. As this year’s President, I am thrilled to be writing monthly updates to you all – giving you the “ins and outs” of what we have been up to and what is potentially to come.