March 13, 2020
Toronto, ON - Yesterday, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) suspended the biannual meeting of its General Assembly, which was scheduled to take place this weekend at Western University. This decision was made in accordance with the statement put out by Western University yesterday afternoon, which advised that all discretionary events on campus with more than 50 people currently scheduled until April 30, 2020 be cancelled, postponed, or offered virtually. Western’s decision was made in consultation with Middlesex-London Health Unit and is motivated by efforts to ensure the health and safety of visitors to the campus and local community.
“We are disappointed with the situation, but fully support Western University’s decision and are confident we will find other ways to proceed with the policy process,” said Catherine Dunne, Vice-President of the University Students’ Council at Western and President of OUSA. “We recognize all members of our campus community have a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and the health and safety of our students is a top priority.”
OUSA General Assembly conferences bring together student delegates from our eight member institutions across the province, and delegates meet frequently over the course of several days to debate and discuss policy solutions to issues facing post-secondary students. OUSA Steering Committee and student authors have been working hard to present policy papers to the Assembly that propose solutions to the issues faced by international and rural and northern students, and to address gender-based and sexual violence at post-secondary institutions.
OUSA remains dedicated to finding an alternative avenue to ensuring our General Assembly can pass policies and engage in discussion on current issues. It is important that the decision to suspend this meeting of the General Assembly does not limit the Assembly’s ability to make policy and advocacy decisions in support of the 150,000 students in OUSA’s membership.
OUSA looks forward to convening the General Assembly in an alternative format that protects the health and safety of all of our students and allows for meaningful engagement on each of the proposed policy papers.
- 30 -
OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.