Weekly Briefs: Jan. 24 – 30

(Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

UNBSU Fredericton withdraws from NBSA

Tyler MaGee, the St. Thomas University Students’ Union president, announced the University of New Brunswick Students’ Union for the Fredericton campus decided to withdraw from its membership status with the New Brunswick Student Alliance. The decision was passed by UNBSU’s student representative council and will be effective starting in September.

MaGee said STUSU is planning on having future meetings with the remaining members of NBSA, including Mount Allison University and UNB Saint John. MaGee was also in contact with New Brunswick Community College, which has expressed a desire to potentially become a member of the NBSA.

Affirmative Action Bursary applications

Alex Nguyen, St. Thomas University Students’ Union vice-president administration, said there are almost 40 applications for the Affirmative Action Bursary and expects more to come in by the deadline in two weeks.

Online learning roundtable event coming soon

Julia Evans, St. Thomas University Students’ Union at-large representative, and Sydona Chandon, STUSU’s vice-president of education, are planning a roundtable event to allow STU students to share their concerns about online learning.

“[The] main intent of this event is to give students a platform to discuss their experiences with remote learning and their experiences with a hybrid model,” said Evans.

She said there would be discussion prompts for students and this event would allow their concerns to be heard by STUSU, who can then advocate on their behalf. The event is still in the works and a date has yet to be announced.

Student concerns regarding return to in-person classes

Tyler MaGee, St. Thomas University Students’ Union president, addressed the petition that is going around the STU, University of New Brunswick and New Brunswick Community College campuses. MaGee also said in recent days, the STUSU executives have been inundated with emails from students expressing their concerns about going back to campus.

MaGee said the New Brunswick Student Alliance had a discussion regarding this issue at a recent board meeting and said it was very divisive and split on other campuses as well.

“We’re starting to explore drafting a letter to the university accessibility offices, as well as senior administration, that is advocating for the use of virtual classrooms, so the choice can be given to students,” said MaGee.

MaGee said this choice would not be challenging for professors, since they would still be able to teach their in-person classes normally, it would just allow students to join with an online Zoom link.

Tory Desroche, grad class president, said she heard some of these concerns in regards to the upcoming graduation and whether going back in-person now will affect those events in the coming months.

Victoria Young, STUSU’s vice-president of student life, said the only arguments that should be made around this issue should be due to COVID-19 concerns, such as the Omicron variant, the spread of COVID-19 and potential events being cancelled in the future.

“I don’t think that on a personal level, … issues regarding uncertainty of moving or where you’re going live should be taken into account just because the university did announce that we would be going back in-person and that has been expected,” said Young.

She said they should be pushing for a hybrid model or at least giving the students the options, as per MaGee’s proposal.