Weekly Briefs: March 18 – 22, 2019

Resignation

St. Thomas University Students’ Union sexuality and gender diversity representative Sara Nason sent in their resignation via email, to be read aloud at the student representative council meeting on March 24. Nason walked out of the SRC meeting on March 17 during a discussion between the council and those, including themselves, about universal free tuition. Petitioners were present, demanding STUSU leave the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations and the New Brunswick Student Alliance. Nason was upset with how the meeting was going and said they couldn’t ethically sit on the union anymore and felt unsafe being in the room.

“This email is to confirm my official resignation from the St. Thomas Students’ Union.  Please let me know if there are any further steps you require I take. Best wishes,” the email read.

Jarrod Ryan, the chair of the SRC, declared the sexuality and gender diversity position vacant.

Provincial budget 

The Government of New Brunswick released their budget on March 19. The budget includes expanding the free tuition and tuition relief for the middle-class to both public and private universities and colleges. During the budget speech they said they plan to extend these to part-time students, as well.

Brianna Workman, the president of the St. Thomas University Students’ Union, said the Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour has been reviewing student financial aid programs since the beginning of December. They asked for stakeholders to submit their thoughts and opinions on financial aid, like the free tuition program, tuition relief for the middle class and the former tuition rebate.

Workman said the NBSA submitted their thoughts on the topic.

“The NBSA will be very very happy and speak very positively of the expansion to part-time students. As we identified, even last week, sometimes the students who are in the most financial need are part-time … to extend those programs to them would be exceptional,” said Workman.

The government also plans to introduce legislation to bring back the New Brunswick tuition tax credit. Students can claim it in 2020.

“One of the big things, is the The PC government said they will honour the [memoranda of understanding] that are signed, maintaining a one per cent increase to operating grants for publicly funded universities,” said Workman.

“That’s definitely positive to see that they’re not going to change that up because that would really cause some panic for universities.”

Academic assistance request approved 

The finance committee approved a request for $300 for academic assistance submitted by fourth-year economic student Nicholas Jackson. He will be attending the Canadian Economics Association Annual Conference in Banff, Alberta in late May. Jackson has worked with Fariba Solati, an economics professor at STU, on research about North American and Middle Eastern women in the labour force in Canada. He will be presenting his thesis and paper at the conference.

Panel discussions on campus

A mental health panel organized by the mental health committee will be hosted in the off-campus lounge in James Dunn Hall on March 26 at 7 p.m. It was supposed to be hosted on Feb. 13, but was cancelled because of a storm. The panel will discuss mental health and how anyone can be affected by mental illness.

The Reality of Immigration in Canada: A Film and Panelist discussion will also be held on March 27 at 7 p.m. in the Ted Daigle Auditorium. Migrant Dreams, a film about the oppression and exploitation seasonal migrant workers face in Canada, will be shown. There will be four panelists, including Wasiimah Joomun, the vice-president student life, to talk about education, food security and their own lived experiences.

Jazz concert

STU Jazz will hold a concert on March 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Kinsella Auditorium. Admission is by donation and some of the proceeds will go to the Fredericton Music Teachers’ Association Piano Fund, a fundraiser to purchase a concert-level grand piano.

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