Open Letter: The Restructuring of Residence Life

Attn: Dean Martin, Director of Residential Life

Mark Walma, Associate Vice President Student Services

George McLean, Vice President Academic UNB Fredericton

Re: The Restructuring of Residence Life

The UNB Student Union is writing you today on behalf our members, including proctors, in regards to the decision to remove Dons from residence and the communication surrounding said changes. The UNB Student Union supports and echoes the concerns raised by the Board of Proctors in regards to the lack of consultation, poor communication and unanswered questions surrounding the changes to residence life. 

The UNB Student Union acknowledges that the current residence structure is not perfect. However, we are vehemently against the reduction of support and increased pressure and responsibility on students without adequate compensation. We are concerned that the role of Senior Proctor will cause tensions within house teams and cause additional logistical and mental stress on those Proctors. We cannot support the reduction of direct access to support for residence leaders. Incoming proctors should not have had to sign a contract which no longer accurately depicts the position they had initially interviewed for. 

Our residence leaders are incredibly capable, mature and dedicated individuals. However, the UNBSU is concerned that reducing the amount of onsite, experienced adults will depreciate the feeling of security and support that role provides to both residents and proctors. Replacing 15 Dons with three coordinators reduces accessibility to this support system. Dons are members of the team, they are valued and trusted by proctors and students. Dons help build a community in residences, by removing them it is creating feelings of mistrust and confusion for residence leaders. 

The communication and consultation of these changes was completely inadequate and insensitive. Referencing a Quality Assurance Report conducted in 2014 which students did not understand the implications of does not substitute engaged student consultation. Authentic in person, online and group consultations would have provided more acceptable input and recommendations. Sending out an email during the middle of midterm season had serious emotional implications on Proctors and Dons and was disrespectful and inadequate. 

The adjustments to Residence Life staff have been conducted without proper consultation and has negatively impacted the student experience at UNB. The communication around this topic has been weak. These changes only add to a general distrust in the administration. The UNB Student Union requests a meaningful response to this letter and the document put forward by the Board of Proctors from the University. 

Sincerely, 

The UNB Student Union

Report

On March 24th, the UNBSU presented the report below to the Joint Board Senate committee that is reviewing the matter. This is in effort to ensure that the student voice is authentically heard at the table. The information in the report is synopsis of both the work of the UNBSU on this issue and the results from the 285 survey results collected.