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Our students

Our students

At our recent town hall, I spoke about our division’s through line – our mission. In everything we do, we seek to provide exceptional financial and business support to the institution and deliver high-quality administrative services to students, faculty, instructors and staff. At times, we have more challenging circumstances – the recent labour disruption was one such time.

As I’ve been reflecting on our discussion at the town hall and the conversations I’ve had with colleagues over the last week, I couldn’t help but think about the specific impact of the labour disruption on our students, and what we were able to do to help.

While the disruption had challenges for many, it undoubtedly had the greatest impact on students. When the University announced that members of CUPE 3903 had voted to accept an agreement with the University, bringing the labour disruption to a close, nine weeks of a disruption to normal operations had already elapsed. I am grateful that the University and the union were able to come to an amicable agreement that both sides found to be favourable and equitable, but I continue to reflect on the impact for students. Following the ratification of the agreement on April 19, the remediation period swiftly began the following Monday; a keen effort to bring students back to learning and make up the time lost during the disruption.

Across the DFA, our teams too moved quickly to support students in navigating the remediation period. Housing & Conference Services offered residence extensions to any student staying on campus to complete their courses and final exams, at no additional cost. Food Services extended dining plans throughout the remediation period and organized a new carry-forward policy that enables students to carry-forward a portion of unused meal plan funds to the 2024-25 academic year. Parking Services extended parking permits to ensure students driving to campus could park, at no additional expense. Facilities Services worked to ensure classrooms that had not been in use were cleaned over the weekend and ready for student arrival. UIT ensured all systems and in-classroom technology was in order to make for a seamless return to learning. Community Safety continued to provide on-campus support to students to ensure everyone’s collective safety amidst a stressful time.

These examples, and many more, stitch together to create a quilt of support – perhaps our division’s greatest contribution to students in the wake of the labour disruption. Though this period has been challenging, I have been heartened to witness how teams have worked together in support of students. Many of you have made tough decisions that will have business and financial implications, but you did so with a clear understanding of the responsibility we have to help students navigate challenges in their University experience and enable them to continue on their pursuit of learning.

You may have noticed many of my reflections align with the seasons. Spring is a season often known for life – rebirth, bloom and joy. It’s the season where days start to get longer, the sun starts to shine brighter, and the flowers are more colourful.

In the spirit of the season, I’ll leave you with a final thought – when we work in service of our students, we all bloom.