As a Brock alumni, I note with grave concern the changes the provincial government are making to OSAP funding and student fees. The student union, BUSU, offered numerous services to support the student body while I was enrolled. They established their own food delivery service to respond to the higher priced private food outlets on campus. They implemented an emergency loan service for students who were in financial need, and not yet in receipt of OSAP or appealing decisions. BUSU through its president Dave Wells supported the Teaching Assistants in an attempt to organize a TA Association. They created a paid position to support Gender Issues and Awareness on campus. They supported Violence/Victims initiatives, provided volunteer escorts to vehicles after evening classes, and one near and dear to myself. They’ve contributed financial support towards an Indigenous Symposium which myself and some faculty/students organized to acknowledge 1492-1992 500th year of Indigenous / European contact. The history around BUSU support for this symposium came about after a newspaper cartoon focused on political correctness was published. While BUSU respected academic freedom of the newspaper (Mr Ford is incorrect when he states freedom of speech is being stifled in post-secondary institutions) they also committed to hearing all sides of the story, including mine. This was just some of the things BUSU offered. I’m sure their services have increased!
I often peruse the Brock website and BUSU site and I’m so amazed how this institution has grown. Student fees are paid to provide students with as much financial assistance in numerous ways, dental, lower cost food services, entertainment and emergency aid. The government’s decision regarding post-secondary funding and student fees is not based on the realities of most post-secondary students. Post-secondary institutions have evolved in the past 20 years to a for profit business model. Your student fees are directed to supporting you. Eliminating mandatory student fees will not offer you savings. It is likely to cost students much more in the long run and to the detriment of the majority who rely on these supports.
*** This Letter to the Editor was submitted by Bev Fiddler — graduated from Brock University in 1994 ***