Important update regarding academic accommodation

The Student Association of George Brown College (SAGBC) discovered a policy titled: “A Statement of Principles and Procedures Regarding Academic Issues During and Following A Disruption of Academic Programming” on the George Brown website. It was reviewed and approved by the Board of Governors on Aug. 31, 2006, as it was intended to support the post-strike period that occurred at that time.

On Nov.27, 2017 the SAGBC executive committee reminded the college of this policy, as it already covered a number of the questions and requests for governing principles the executives posed to the administration, such as fairness to students, student success and academic integrity. In addition, the policy outlined alternative methods that the faculty could utilize to ensure student success post-strike.

This policy outlined multiple alternatives to safeguard students’ learning outcomes, such as:

1. Pass/fail option may be used in limited cases where faculty members have sufficient evidence that students have/have not met the essential outcomes, but they do not have sufficient information to use the standards grading values.

2. Aegrotat standing may be used in exceptional cases (a) where students, for good reason, have not been able to complete the work required for evaluation and (b) where the faculty member is confident that the students are sufficiently prepared to graduation or to the next level of study.

3. Standing Deferred may be used if outcomes have to be postponed to a subsequent semester. This would be used where students will not have the opportunity to learn critical material and cannot reasonably do so in the time available.”

                  – George Brown College, Academic Policies and Guidelines (August 31, 2006)

On Nov. 27, 2017, the SAGBC executive members had wanted to post this policy, for the sake of students’ awareness, as of as they recognize there is still a lot of stress and anxiety coming off of the strike.

On Nov. 28, 2017, after the executives presented this policy to the College, and they were informed that it had been rescinded and it was removed from the website. The executives of the SAGBC asked for the date and minutes from the Board of Governors meeting where this policy was supposedly rescinded.

On Nov. 29, 2017, the College informed the executive that their labour relations staff advised that there was no issue with using the original policy as it was written in 2006 and they will repost it back to the website.

While this is great news, there needs to be recognition of this failing of awareness on the College’s part during the negotiations between the SAGBC and the College. The SAGBC demanded from the College that this policy be reposted on its website, and we are happy to announce that it has been reposted.

In conclusion, the executives of the SAGBC will continue to advocate for the wellbeing of students and the utmost success of their semester. The executive members of the SAGBC encourage students to use this policy as they continue their academic year.

Sincerely,
Riddhi Modi, Director of Communications and Internal
Mercedes Burrowes, Director of Campus Life
Tiffany White, Director of Education
Alex Steward, Director of Equity

Download this letter as a pdf.

Open letter to the Senior Management of George Brown College

Open letter (pdf)

Monday, November 6, 2017

RE: Open Letter to the Senior Management of George Brown College

As we move into the fourth week of strike action, the students of George Brown College have grown increasingly concerned about the implications and impact this strike has on their education.

The Executive of the Student Association met with the President of George Brown College, Anne Sado, and the Interim Executive Dean, Dr. Cory Ross, on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. We presented them with questions sourced directly from students and requested that the Student Association executives be included in future meetings with the senior management when planning strategies that will ultimately affect our students, such as a possible extension to the current semester, financial hardships and cancellation of the next semester’s intersession week.

In this meeting, the questions submitted to the President and Interim Executive Dean were partially answered. The answers we received were presented in an executive update posted on November 3, 2017. The remaining questions, largely revolving around topics concerning OSAP disbursement and tuition refunds, that were left unanswered were given a deadline for response, which was to be November 6, 2017. A full list of the questions asked can be found on the Student Association’s website.

Unfortunately, this was not honoured and the executives of the Student Association were shocked to discover, through a Facebook post from the College on November 6, 2017, that decisions were made impacting the scheduled breaks in the academic year. No consultation with the Student Association occurred.

The Student Association condemns the cancellation of the originally scheduled winter break. There has also been no tangible plan regarding students who have already made travel plans during the originally scheduled breaks that the College has decided to revoke. Other options should be explored with consultation from students, as we are the ones who are directly affected by such decisions.

The students have communicated that, while George Brown College may not be directly responsible for the outcome of the strike action, the College has been lacking in proper planning for and communication of the strike. While the College has been updating students with information as it is released, there has been no notice of what tangible plan is in place to accommodate the missed classes, exams, and assignments upon return to the classroom.

 As elected representatives of our full-time students, we are calling on you, the senior leadership of George Brown College, to develop and share with students a tangible plan for students who have been impacted by this strike.

The Student Association is presenting the following demands to you, the senior leaders of George Brown College:

  • the development and communication of a contingency plan for this semester;
  • the development and communication of a contingency plan for the Winter 2018 semester;
  • maintain the originally scheduled winter break and intersession week;
  • clear, direct communication regarding the strike and its impacts on students with email updates for every update added to the website and/or social media;
  • a formal written statement from the President of George Brown College regarding the state of our academic year;
  • confirmation of special academic consideration for students with prior travel plans during the week of December 16-22 made prior to November 6, 2017;
  • re-commitment to the agreed upon open communication with the Student Association Executive team during the strike; and
  • inclusion of representatives from the Student Association in any and all meetings where strike-related decisions affecting students will be made.

Every day that our students are not in class affects their ability to learn, their financial situations, and their mental health and well-being. Every day is a day of uncertainty and students need to know what plan is in place.

Students should not suffer the consequences imposed upon them because of a dispute between employers and employees, and most importantly, students need more than an FAQ with vague responses that do not address a very real issue: our access to education.

We are committed to ongoing communications on this matter and we will continue to share the concerns of our students.

Sincerely,

Riddhi Modi, Director of Communications and Internal

Tiffany White, Director of Education

Mercedes Burrowes, Director of Campus Life

Alex Stewart, Director of Equity