Council passes motion for increased correspondence fees

MASU holds third council meeting of the year

The Mount Allison Students’ Union’s third council meeting of the year took place on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Council began with an address from Kim Meade, Mt. A’s vice-president, student and international affairs. Meade talked about some of her goals for the 2015-16 year. These goals include increasing enrolment, improving first-to-second-year retention rates, working on the internationalization and indigenization of the university, separating the student governance policy into different parts, reviewing the racism and sexual harassment policies and increasing the focus on experiential learning.
Sustainability Coordinator Clay Steell explained the process behind the Green Investment Fund (GIF). The GIF is funded by students and allows for one or many financially supported green-capital project(s) to take place every year, on or off campus. Steell said he would like to see more small projects funded this year.
Jean-Sébastien Comeau, MASU’s policy research and archiving officer, reported on the union’s political policies. Comeau listed this year’s expiring policies, some of which will not be renewed.
Comeau added that the computer science component of commerce-degree requirements policy will be further discussed with Vice-President Academic Affairs Mary Emma MacNeil before a decision on its renewal is made.
University Ombudsperson Josh Johnson discussed his work on the issue of correspondence course tuition. The provincial government has frozen post-secondary tuition fees for the 2015-16 fiscal year. Correspondence courses were previously considered to be part of the $7,464 tuition fee full-time Canadian students pay. Effective Jan. 1, 2016, students taking a correspondence course will pay additional fees on top of the regular tuition fee. There will be a change of $746.50 per three-credit course and $1,493 per six-credit course.
Johnson said he met with Karen Grant, Mt. A’s VP academic and research, and Chris Milner, Mt. A’s budget manager, to discuss the issue. Johnson said it will be more difficult for upper-year students to reach course requirements, an issue he brought up during his meeting with Grant.
VP External Affairs Annie Sherry said that the issue should be furthered examined, but through the appropriate avenues, such as the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA).
VP Finance and Operations Alex Lepianka tweeted, “Budgets reflect policy, and Mt. A’s policy aspirations have implications for all university constituents.”
Lepianka also tweeted, “There’s opportunities here to better our condition as students, exercise solidarity with @MAFA_MTA, and perhaps better NB PSE.” Lepianka was referring to the Mount Allison Faculty Association and the New Brunswick Ministry of Post-Secondary Education.
MASU President Dylan Wooley-Berry said that nothing is likely to change this year, because the budget has already been approved. Wooley-Berry said the MASU executive should deal with this issue and they need time to come up with a strategy.
At the end of council, councillor Brian Tulle proposed a motion to have the MASU executive report on their strategy regarding the correspondence course issue at the next council meeting. The motion passed.

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