Fighting for Students on Parliament Hill

Fighting for Students on Parliament Hill

Last week, UNB Student Union President, Richard Du and Vice President Advocacy, Simal Qureshi attended the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations’ (CASA) Advocacy Week Conference in Ottawa, Ontario, where they represented UNB students.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a union comprised of 23 student governments across Canada, representing over 250,000 students. With this joint voice on the national level, CASA is able to speak and advocate on behalf of Canadian students to the federal government. Recent CASA successes in 2018 include $10 million invested to expand financial support to Métis students and $5.5 million invested to address gender-based violence on post-secondary campuses.

At the conference, Richard and Simal, along with 70+ other student leaders met with over 150 Canadian Members of Parliament (MP’s), Senators, Ministers, and key government stakeholders. They discussed six key advocacy points at these meetings, focusing on areas such as international student barriers, sexual assault legislation, experiential/work-integrated learning programs, and additional funding for student-led research.

Overall, the conference was a huge success. CASA’s advocacy strategy is effective and robust, allowing many key politicians on Parliament Hill to be exposed to the same student issues. Additionally, this was a great opportunity for Richard and Simal to meet other student leaders, learn about what is working on their campuses, and share ideas on how to better advance the student movement.

If you would like more information on CASA and/or their Advocacy Week conference, please do not hesitate to reach out to President, Richard Du at president@unbsu.ca or Vice President Advocacy, Simal Qureshi at advocacy@unbsu.ca.



UNBSU CAMPUS EVENTS & THE CAPITAL COMPLEX PARTNER TO DELIVER INNOVATIVE CONCERT SERIES IN WINTER 2019

FREDERICTON, NB: A ground-breaking partnership between UNBSU Campus Events and Fredericton’s premiere music and entertainment venue, The Capital Complex, will see a number of high-caliber concerts come to New Brunswick’s capital city.

UNBSU Campus Events and The Capital Complex will co-present two concerts at the iconic Fredericton Boyce Farmers’ Market in the winter of 2019. These concerts will feature Canadian and East Coast talent.

This is the first time in recent history that the UNB Student Union is partnering with an external organization to co-present large-scale events.

“The UNB Student Union’s 2018-19 executive team has made it a priority to transform the student experience at UNB,” said Kristian D’Amore, UNBSU’s Director of Campus Events. “My job is to create unique and memorable experiences for UNB students all year long, with this partnership being a major part of the puzzle.”

In September 2018, UNBSU Campus Events organized a sold-out Welcome Back: MUSIC FEST in the Student Union Building to kick-off the academic year. 750+ UNB and STU students jammed out to JUNO Award winner Kardinal Offishall and “Dancing Kizomba’s” smash hit artist Alx Veliz.

“We are committed to enhancing the entire experience for UNB students, creating memories aimed at impacting the greatest percentage our student body,” concluded D’Amore.

The Capital Complex has built a reputation for fantastic music and entertainment in the city.

“We are excited about the talent that will be coming in! They are established Canadian musicians that will appeal to a wide range of demographics,” said Zach Atkinson, General Manager of The Capital Complex. “These events are about bringing the entire Fredericton community together; we are excited to deliver them in partnership with the UNBSU Campus Events.”

The concerts will be 19+ and open to the public, with student tickets being half-priced. Both Atkinson and D’Amore promised that the events will be more than just music, re-emphasizing the ambiance and community feel offered by one of Fredericton’s most unique venues (The Fredericton Boyce Farmers’ Market).

Our first of two announcements will be coming Wednesday, December 5th. Stay tuned on social media for details.


About UNBSU Campus Events
UNBSU Campus Events is a new events brand - created by the UNB Student Union - with mission to maximize the student experience far beyond the classroom. Uniting our strong, vibrant UNB community is at the core of everything we do.


About The Capital Complex
The Capital Bar has been Fredericton’s small but mighty premier venue for 20 years. Named in the Top 10 during CBC’s Searchlight for “Venue of the Year 2009”, The Capital’s main goal is live music: local, national and international. We eat, sleep, breathe music. Period.


Media Contacts:

Kristian D’Amore
Director of Campus Events
UNB Student Union
events@unbsu.ca

Zach Atkinson
General Manager
The Capital Complex
atkinson.zach@gmail.com

UNBSU Successfully Advocates for Extended Library Hours

UNBSU Successfully Advocates for Extended Library Hours
November 1st, 2018

We are happy to announce that the Harriet Irving Library will be open until 3:00 a.m. as of November 12th (from Sunday-Thursday).  UNB Libraries and your Student Union are excited to share this announcement, that will enable provide a safe and welcoming space to study into the early hours of the morning! Our VP Internal Alison Balcom has worked especially hard on this initiative.


We appreciate the Libraries ongoing commitment to student success and adapting to the needs of students in 2018. This announcement is particularly timely, as the hours begin just after the Fall Reading Week, a Student Union initiative by VP Internal Herbert Bempah two years ago. 

UNBSU Releases 2018-2019 Strategic Plan

This year, we are focusing on our shared UNB story; what it means to be a University of New Brunswick student. Looking back at your time on this beautiful campus and remembering moments when you felt connected with not only your peers, but with our great university. 

The UNB Student Union has drafted an annual strategic plan that details all of the initiatives we will be undertaking throughout 2018-2019. This strategic plan is derived from the context of student life over the last few decades and drafted through years of talking to countless UNB students.  For the first time, we are excited to share this annual plan with the UNB community.

This year, we are delivering brand new large scale events, introducing new services, and delivering advocacy efforts that will benefit students. This plan has been created to make sure that everything that we connects to a greater vision and purpose: igniting engagement and spirit in the UNB student community.

To read the entire plan, go to unbsu.ca/aboutus.

UNBSU Statement on the Recall of Saudi Arabian Students in Canada

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Last week, the Saudi Arabian government released a statement instructing all of their students studying at Canadian post-secondary institutions to cease their studies and leave the country.

Saudi Arabian students are now faced with having to pursue their education in countries other than Canada, and students will no longer receive funding to study at Canadian institutions. Saudi Arabian students have until the end of the month of August to leave Canada.

The announcement of this decision is unfortunate in many ways, particularly for students in the midst of their studies. For Saudi students already pursuing or starting their academic journey in less than a month, uprooting their studies to continue with scholarship elsewhere still poses great risk to stagnate their academic success.  As opportunities to apply and pursue post-secondary education for the upcoming academic year have already passed, Saudi students are now faced with a tremendous barrier.

UNB deeply values the diversity that is found amongst students from various backgrounds. The international community is an integral part of this campus; therefore, it is extremely unfortunate that 36 of our valued students- 14 from Fredericton and 22 from Saint John- will have to discontinue their studies here in Canada.

At the end of the day, regardless of ethnicity, nationality or creed, we are all students at this great university. We all roam this campus in the pursuit of an enriching educational experience - one that is free from disturbances. In situations like these that affect the diversity of our student body we, as UNB students, shall stand united.

-Your Student Union

 

 

 

 

 

Planning Student-focused Policy for Parliament Hill

Last week, UNB Student Union President Richard Du attended the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations’ Policy and Planning Conference at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver where he represented UNB students.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a union of over 22 student governments across Canada. With this joint voice on the national level, CASA is able to speak and advocate on behalf of Canadian students to the federal government. Recent CASA successes in 2018 include $10 million invested to expand financial support to Métis students and $5.5 million invested to address gender-based violence on post-secondary campuses.

At the CASA Policy and Planning Conference President Du discussed with other student governments and helped contribute to a yearly policy priorities list for CASA. Keeping UNB students’ best interest at heart, he also voted on important issues that CASA was going to advocate to the Canadian government in the upcoming year.

 Atlantic student government representatives. 

Atlantic student government representatives. 

 Richard with the President of the UNB SRC (Saint John) Samuel Palmer.

Richard with the President of the UNB SRC (Saint John) Samuel Palmer.

 Student government representatives gathered in a meeting to vote on policy priorities to bring to Parliament. 

Student government representatives gathered in a meeting to vote on policy priorities to bring to Parliament. 

There are four CASA conferences through the year. This conference follows the CASA Foundations Conference that VP Advocacy Simal Qureshi attended in May, where student governments were briefed on how to best communicate with the Canadian government and Members of Parliament (MP’s). The next conference will take place in October at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where Richard and Simal, along with other student leaders will meet with MP’s to fight for the issues that are on hand such as sexual violence on campus, increased experiential learning opportunities and international student support.

If you would like more information on CASA and/or their Policy and Planning Conference, please reach out to president@unbsu.ca.

Funding Announced for NB Student Experiential Learning

FUNDING ANNOUNCED FOR NB STUDENT EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

 UNBSU VP Advocacy Simal Qureshi (2nd from left) pictured above at the announcement

UNBSU VP Advocacy Simal Qureshi (2nd from left) pictured above at the announcement

Earlier today, Vice President Advocacy, Simal Qureshi, travelled to Moncton to attend an announcement made by The Honourable Roger Melanson, the Minister of Postsecondary Education regarding a five million dollar investment in experiential learning. This funding includes the establishment of the Student Experiential Learning Fund (SELF), which stems from over two years of work by the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA). The SELF will be launched in the fall of 2018, and will be accessible to all students in New Brunswick.

The UNB Student Union is one of the four member schools of the NBSA and both Simal and UNBSU President, Richard Du, serve on the Board of Directors with the Alliance. This student organization represents over 12, 000 post-secondary students and focuses its efforts on creating an affordable and accessible post-secondary experience for students in New Brunswick based on policy development and advocacy work.

In addition to her role with the NBSA, Simal is also a part of New Brunswick’s Experiential Learning Steering Committee (ELSC), which is the primary body responsible for the development of this significant investment. This committee contains representation from the provincial government, all four publicly-funded universities in the province, the private and non-profit business sectors, and students. The ELSC has worked diligently since 2016 to ensure that New Brunswick institutions can offer competitive and comprehensive experiential learning opportunities for their post-secondary students.

In 2017, the NBSA approached the provincial government to discuss the creation of a student funding model that would be beneficial for students across all disciplines as often times, the majority of existing learning opportunities are within STEM and business programs. However, the commitment announced today will enable students to tailor experiential learning opportunities around their own unique field of study.

Experiential learning fosters creativity and growth, and has proven to promote on-the-job skills development, leading to an overwhelming positive impact on job acquisition upon graduation.

The SELF will reduce financial and quantitative barriers preventing access to experiential education opportunities. Any students wishing to pursue experiential learning opportunities in their academic discipline will be eligible to apply for up to $10,000 per annum in funding to cover the costs of travel, living, and material support.

In addition to the SELF, the $5 million investment also includes $500, 000 in targeted funding for Indigenous learners, and funding to cover the costs of mandatory work-placements in education, nursing, and nutrition programs.

Ultimately, this funding for experiential learning is inclusive as it ensures that students from a variety of fields and diverse academic backgrounds have access and can benefit from experiential education opportunities.  

For more information on the NBSA and the Student Experiential Learning Fund, please visit nbsa-aenb.ca. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Simal Qureshi at advocacy@unbsu.ca.

Who Will be the Next UNB President?

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The university is in the process of beginning the selection for the next President and Vice-Chancellor of UNB. 🔴⚫

We are pleased to have our VP Internal, Ali Balcom, on the Joint Nominating Committee for the Office of the President. She will represent the student voice in a decision that shapes our campus. 

Our Executive Team has also met with the committee to ensure that we have a vibrant and energetic leader of our community. 

The committee wants to hear from you. Please complete this survey: https://bit.ly/2MhF458 to share your input and feedback on this important process. 

Updates on the Presidential Search will be available here: https://bit.ly/2MfgPEm

Laying Foundations, A Week at CASA's National Conference

Last week our Vice President Advocacy, Simal Qureshi, travelled to Ottawa to attend the CASA (Canadian Alliance of Student Associations) Foundations Conference.  CASA is a student-run, non-partisan and not-for profit student organization focused on improving post-secondary education through advocacy. This organization represents  22 student unions as member schools and approximately 270, 000 students across Canada.

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As an advocacy organization, CASA recognizes that successful lobbying starts with research and creating policy solutions that the government can then adopt to help solve common student issues. Therefore, CASA researches the problems students are facing and works with members to develop and review policies. When working on such policies to improve post-secondary education, CASA has four principles: innovation, quality, accessibility, and affordability. After developing policies, CASA presents them to influential people within government, such as Members of Parliament, Senators, and Ministers.

Foundations was the first CASA conference for the new academic year and was primarily a learning conference. The conference was incredibly insightful for learning about CASA’s structure, governance, purpose, and history as an organization. Additionally, Foundations enabled members to have the opportunity to learn about government relations, policy development, advocacy training, and become familiar with several valuable organizations that hold potential for partnerships in the future. Finally, this conference provided valuable insight into how student organizations can work alongside each other to be effective advocates to the federal government.

 
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Simal Qureshi, VP Advocacy, and Richard Du, President,  serve as the primary and secondary delegates, respectively, to CASA. This representation allows them to have the opportunity to sit in on CASA committees, such as National Advocacy, Federal Policy, and Member Relations. As a result, these UNB Student Union executives are responsible for sharing any updates on policies that are created and passed with UNB students. These students then have the opportunity to be involved in CASA initiatives such as the Get Out the Vote campaign, Sexual Violence Prevention campaigns, and Mental Health campaigns, for example.

You can find out more about CASA at www.casa-acae.ca. If you have any questions about CASA or its campaigns, please contact Simal Qureshi at advocacy@unbsu.ca

UNBSU Response to the Tuition Hike

Board of Governors passes Tuition Reset

This afternoon, the University of New Brunswick Board of Governors voted on the Tuition Review Task Force’s recommendation to approve the tuition reset for UNB students starting in the Fall of 2019. At this meeting, despite serious concerns from UNB faculty, staff, and students, as well as Senate’s recommendation to delay the vote until October, the Board of Governors decided to approve the tuition framework and proceed with the reset. This reset will drastically increase tuition for new UNB students across all faculties.

It is profoundly disappointing that the Board of Governors did not accept the Senate’s recommendation to delay the vote until October. The timing of the vote is particularly disconcerting as many students are away for the summer term.

Led by the incredible passion of students for affordable education, the UNB Student Union has worked diligently to reflect students’ unified disapproval of the proposed tuition increase to the UNB Administration. Our official memo to the members of the Board of Governors outlined several reasons for our opposition, including lack of student consultation, an inappropriate timeline, and the consequences for students having to bear the burden of balancing a deficit we did not create. Furthermore, the Student Union Town Hall enabled students to have their concerns and questions regarding the reset addressed directly by Vice-President (Academic) George MacLean.

On March 27th, with over 100 students present, student senators successfully passed a motion for Senate to officially oppose the tuition hike and strongly urge the Board of Governors to delay the vote on this proposal to October at the earliest, in order to continue student and faculty consultations.  UNBSU councilors also shared powerful testimonies expressing the personal implications of increased costs.

Earlier today, an email released by Dr. MacLean stated, “while the framework for the tuition reset has been approved, specific rates will not be ratified until next year’s budget is presented in the spring of 2019. The consultation process around rates will continue.” Over the next year, we will ensure that student voices are heard in these further consultations.

Over the past few months, UNB students from all faculties united on this important issue. We are empowered and encouraged by the unified efforts demonstrated by UNB students in opposition to the tuition hike. Our student voices resonated across our campus loud and clear, and we should be incredibly proud of this. Over the next months and years, we will continue to come together with the same resilient spirit on issues affecting our lives here at UNB.

- Your UNB Student Union

Copy(Rights) for Students

Yesterday, UNB Student Union Vice President Internal, Ali Balcom, spoke before a federal Parliamentary Committee to ensure educational materials are accessible and affordable for students.  

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We ask for your support in student access to materials that enhance our education, rather than compromise our learning through increased costs that would inevitably be passed along to us.
- Ali Balcom, VP Internal 

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology (INDU), tasked with reviewing the Copyright Act, began its cross-country consultation process in Halifax, Nova Scotia on May 8th, 2018.  Of particular interest in the context of education is the fair dealing clause that enables students and professors to utilize minimal portions of Copyrighted materials for educational purposes without additional cost.

Following afternoon deliberations where numerous professionals, including UNB President Dr. Eddy Campbell, shared their institutional perspectives, Ali addressed the committee to share a missing perspective: that of students – the everyday users of Copyrighted materials, such as textbooks, course readings, and videos.

As the only student from New Brunswick, she emphasized that diverse sources and perspectives, primarily accessible digitally, are fundamental to a well-rounded education through their promotion of critical-thinking and dialogue. Furthermore, she shared a position that students are all-too-familiar with but often goes overlooked in discussions such as these: the financial burden that accompanies a post-secondary education.  

Drawing upon the recently proposed tuition hike at UNB and the already intense costs of pursuing a post-secondary education, she asserted that finances are a key factor in determining whether students are able to receive a university education. This was substantiated using data collected through TextBroke, a campaign previously conducted by the Student Union to understand the cost of textbooks and the potential for open educational resources; the results indicated that UNB students spent an average of $400 a semester on textbooks and 43% – nearly half of respondents – did not purchase one or more of their required textbooks

To maintain academic the integrity and quality expected at institutions such as UNB, we must ensure that our textbooks, readings, videos, and other course materials are accessible and affordable for students; our education depends upon it. 

If you are passionate about this issue or have any thoughts on this topic, please contact Ali Balcom at internal@unbsu.ca. 

We are hiring the REDs Organizing Committee!

The UNBSU introduces the RED Awards!

We are currently hiring 5 lead members for the RED Awards Organizing Committee!

Learn more and apply here!

The RED Awards is the first annual awards ceremony hosted by the Student Union to highlight and celebrate remarkable individuals and associations in the UNB community. This awards program is a community choice award that seeks to celebrate student engagement and positive impact by both students and staff on campus.

UNBSU Announces SafeRide Expansion

The UNB Student Union is proud to announce the expansion of their SafeRide program. The expansion includes, not only a new van, making it a fleet of three, but a new partnership with the NBCCD Student Alliance, increasing the amount of students served. This expansion will ultimately allow the SafeRide program to reach for students and provide this quality service in addition to an amazing part-time job opportunity.

Read full press release here.

Women's Representation and UNBSU

This is a letter written by Shea MacLaughlin, the UNB Student Union's Women's Representative. 

The UNB Fredericton campus is fortunate to be hosting the Women for 50% Conference. This event was organized by a group of New Brunswick leaders for the purpose on shedding light on the need for greater female representation in the legislature, and with the additional aim of actually encouraging more women to run for office. The topic of women’s representation isn’t just important on a provincial scale but also at a UNBSU scale. The incoming council is 40% women, which isn’t bad but there is still work to be done.

 In a society where women continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles in many fields, the importance of events like this cannot be understated. There are many myths and misconceptions about why women are underrepresented in leadership roles, with some arguing that women simply do not want leadership roles, with others believing that women are not qualified to be leaders.

These beliefs are not only sexist, but also hint at deep seeded prejudices towards women and female leaders. The reality is that there are more complex barriers that prevent women from attaining leadership positions or running for office. Some of these reasons include the fact that women are still responsible for most of the household labour, and that women are less likely to be encouraged to take on leadership positions. Additionally, the aforementioned gender biases mean that female leaders women are forced to contend with double standards for their behaviour, meaning that they have to ensure they display a stoic and tough leadership style while simultaneously receiving backlash for being too tough.

 There are steps that can and must be taken to disrupt the status quo and promote the value of female leaders, in society and on a UNBSU level. To begin, we need to actively seek out and empower women to occupy leadership positions. The UNBSU can cooperate more closely with groups that serve women on this campus, groups like Women in Engineering, or have a stronger partnership with the UNB/STU Women’s Center.  Education on the value of women in leadership positions must also occur, and it must be made clear that having women in leadership positions is an essential step in creating a more inclusive, equal, and balanced society.

These are only a few suggestions, but the key takeaway is this: the promotion of female leadership is not solely a women’s issue. It is everyone’s responsibility to champion the value and role of female leaders, and to do their part to help build a more equitable society.

Open Letter: The Restructuring of Residence Life

Report

On March 24th, the UNBSU presented the report below to the Joint Board Senate committee responsible for reviewing the restructuring. This report is a follow-up from the open letter to UNB administration seen below to ensure that the student voice is authentically heard at the table. The information in the report is a synopsis of both the work of the UNBSU and the results from the 285 survey responses collected. 

 

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

 

NB Government Unveils Two Assistance Programs

The Government of New Brunswick announced two major financial assistance programs for students on Thursday afternoon. The provincial government has created a new program known as Tuition Relief for the Middle Class (TRMC). TRMC is a tuition bursary which is awarded based on family size and income. New Brunswick undergraduate students studying at publicly funded institutions will be eligible for this program, which shall be implemented on August 1st, 2017. Premier Gallant also unveiled an initiative that will extend healthcare coverage to international students studying in New Brunswick.

More Information:

Bylaw Adjustment

Over the past 8 months, the UNB Student Union reviewed the governing documents (bylaws) to ensure that they accurately reflect each position. As a result, the UNBSU is in the processes of amending Bylaws 1, sections 19 and 38-55. These sections outline Executive Councillor duties, Councillor duties, and councillor removal processes. For the executive positions, the bylaws have been amended to remove the specific duties of each of the executives and substitute it for a short description of the position. Each position will have a job description along with a contract to be signed at the beginning of the executive's term.

In order to distribute the workload more evenly, the VP External position will take on the advocacy portions of the VP Internal position and be renamed VP Advocacy. This allows the role to focus on advocacy efforts as a whole so as not to create excess overlap between positions.

Additional changes:

·         VP Student Services is being renamed VP Student Life to more accurately reflect the duties performed under the role.

·         VP Internal will take on the role of overseeing council, council chair and secretary from President.

The intention is to make the bylaws more reflective of the duties performed by these positions, to distribute the workload more evenly, and remove excess/redundancies within the bylaws. If passed, these changes would come into effect on May 1st, 2017. See the changes here.  If you have any questions or concerns email questions@unbsu.ca

Bylaw Adjustments

Draft Job Descriptions