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Attack on political correctness: The not so blurry line between academic freedom and discrimination

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.

Why every student should take a social justice course

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 Inclusion of LGBTQ+ Students on University Campuses

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.

Presidential Update - October 2016

Hi Everyone!

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?”

Putting the Residential Tenancies Act in Review

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.

Presidential Update - September 2016

Hey Everyone,

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). 

The ‘Essential’ Gap Year?

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.

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

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.

Continuing the Push for Accessible University Data: Or what Bill 127 could have accomplished

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.