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No Consultation, No Consent: An Update on Bill 33

March 29th, 2021

As Bill 33 continues to move quickly through the procedural steps to becoming law, the Provincial Government has not consulted the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association yet. The UWSA has not consented to the proposed overreach of power to take control of our student fees and our tuition rates.

“This bill has added extra stress for those students that would be negatively affected by this legislation. These students deserve and have the right to be heard regarding this bill. The negative impact could see many students that rely on the services provided through the UWSA be a huge factor if they can further their education or not,” says Jonathan Henderson, UWSA Vice-President of External Affairs. “Especially through the pandemic, there are already uncertainties in many of our futures, especially those that have been placed in even harder situations due to this pandemic. For the Minister to ignore us is unacceptable.”

The UWSA questions the vagueness of the Bill and calls on Minister Ewasko, who oversees post-secondary education in Manitoba, to provide clearer language that excludes student union fees from being affected. 

The UWSA strongly opposes the Bill’s current wording that gives the government new and absolute power over student fees. 

“There has been no willingness from the Minister to meet and hear from students and their concerns. The lack of effort, the dismissal of Student leader’s voice and the Minister’s decision to delegate communication to his office staff is disappointing,” says Shawna Péloquin, UWSA President. “We want meaningful consultation, and we will not stay silent when the Minister chose to call us pawns.”

We call on the Minister to Scrap Bill 33. Without consultation, there is no consent. We call on the Minister to establish meaningful dialogue and consultation with student unions and include them at the start of any process when setting directions and priorities for post-secondary education.

Get involved by signing up to speak when the bill goes to committee hearings and sign this petition at cfsmb.ca/bill33.

Report to the membership on structural reforms at the UWSA

March 8th, 2021

This report to the UWSA general membership provides background information on the incidents that occurred in 2020 at the UWSA that highlighted the need to restructure the organization. It includes recommendations made by an external consultancy firm, Catalyst Research and Communications, to facilitate the process and the resulting reforms implemented by the UWSA.

Please click here to download the report: UWSA Reforms Report to the Membership

Please click here to download the UWSA Reforms Graphic

This report is meant to be the beginning of a long process of restructuring the organization to make it truly decolonial and create a safe space for discussion. The implemented reforms will be periodically reviewed by the Board and updated as needed. Please review the report and provide your feedback here: UWSA Reforms Feedback

Black History Month Resources

February 23rd, 2021

To celebrate Black History Month, we have compiled a list of black resources recommended by UWSA directors and staff. You can find different local organizations and businesses to support, books to read, influences to follow, and much more!

Read:

  1. The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole
  2. Black Life by Walcott & Abdillahi
  3. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  4. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
  5. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
  6. The Journey of Little Charlie, Bud, Not Buddy, and more by Christopher Paul Curtis

Buy:

  1. Vintage clothing: Velvet Tundra Vintage
  2. Silk masks: Clems Studios
  3. Hair and beauty:
  4. Ethnic foods and hair products: Dino’s Grocery Mart
  5. Art: Tanisha Salakoh

Watch:

  1. The Skin We’re In
  2. When They See Us
  3. Moonlight
  4. 13th
  5. Time: The Kalief Browder Story

Listen:

  1. Ordinary Black Girl Podcast
  2. Gentler by Maya Fleming

Follow:

  1. @pegcitylovely
  2. @kendramorous
  3. @iharterika
  4. @adriennemareebrown
  5. @migrantscribble
  6. @sandymhudson
  7. @strategiccharmboutique
  8. @stylemydreams
  9. @miss_chi_fitness

At UWinnipeg:

  1. Student organizing: Black Students’ Union
  2. Courses: ENGL-3708: topics in Canadian Literature: Black Canadian Writers

Attend, Donate, and Support:

  1. blackownedmb.com: Black business director
  2. west.afrobiz.ca: Black business directory
  3. bhmwinnipeg: Fundraisers, events, and training
  4. Pilgrim Baptist Church: Black History Month Events
  5. @theblacklabelwpg: Winnipeg’s Black Creatives’ Collective
  6. Black Space Winnipeg: Events, artist demonstrations and workshops
  7. QPOCWinnipeg: Events for Queer and Trans Identified Black, Indigenous & People of Colour
  8. Justice4BlackLivesWPG: Community Organizers in Winnipeg

For a PDF copy, click here: Black History Month Resources

 

 

 

Justice for Eishia: A message and call to action on ending police brutality towards Indigenous youth

February 5th, 2021

On Thursday, January 28, 2021, the Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) of Manitoba recommended that no charges be filed in the murder of 16-year-old Eishia Hudson.

UWSA President, Shawna Péloquin says, “This is a clear message to Indigenous people in Winnipeg and beyond from the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), which is that there is no transparency or empathy when an Indigenous life is taken as a result of police intervention. The show of force demonstrates that as Indigenous people in this city, our life is not a guarantee but is subject to police approval. It a reminder for all the Indigenous student in this institution and myself that we are surviving a genocide in action, and that our Indigenous youths and elders are disproportionally targeted.  The opportunity to attend University was stolen from Eishia Hudson, yet the WPS continues to defend that the officer who was armed and trained to serve and make him a victim in this tragedy somehow. Why should this police officer be given another chance to open fire at an Indigenous youth? This is not a tragedy of police intervention. It a recurring pattern of power and violence imposed upon Indigenous families and communities empowered by the colonial nature of police services.”

The University of Winnipeg Student Association stands in solidarity with the Hudson Family, our Indigenous students and Indigenous youth. We support Hudson’s parents’ call for an inquiry, which would be broader in scope than the inquest required under the Fatal Inquiries Act and examine issues of systemic racism.

Support Eishia’s family by following the results of the upcoming inquest and raising awareness on social media using the following hashtags: #JusticeforEishia #JusticeforEishiaHudson and #NotAnotherIndigenousLife, or by donating to the family in their fight for justice through this Go Fund Me page.

Notice of Resignation for UWSA VPSA, Melanie William

February 4th, 2021

On January 27, 2021, The UWSA Board of Directors accepted and ratified the resignation of the 2020-2021 UWSA Vice President of Student Affairs, Melanie William. In August 2020, former UWSA President, Jibril Hussein and VPEA, Breanna Belisle had also tendered their resignations to the board.

Over the summer, former executives shared several experiences of harassment and discrimination while at the UWSA, following which the 2020-21 Executive team were placed on administrative leave. During this period, they experienced significant mental harassment and threats on social media from the UWinnipeg community as well.

The UWSA acknowledges the experiences shared by the former executives in their letters and strongly supports the decision to center their mental health. As an organization, we commit to doing more to prioritize students’ well-being and safety over institutional expectations.

We recognize the role UWSA plays in protecting and nurturing the well-being and potential of UWSA members. Oppression or harassment in our communities – online or offline – is never okay and we plan to work towards creating safer and non-violent spaces for discussion.

We recognized that we are working and learning in racist and colonial system, and that we have to be uncomfortable, transparent, and resilient to outroot these realities from our communities. For information on the steps we’re taking to address institutional racism at the UWSA, please refer to our previous post here.

To review Melanie’s letter of resignation, please click here: January 27 BOD Open Session Minutes (Draft)

Responsibility, Decolonization, and Integrity in the UWSA Election Process

January 29th, 2021

Over the past few months, the UWSA has been working to restructure our bylaws and policies to minimize the harm caused by our election process. To guide us through the process and figure out the best path forward, the UWSA Board of Directors have been working with an external consultant at Catalyst Research & Communications.

On October 15, 2020, we released a statement outlining some emerging conclusions, where we acknowledged the need to increase transparency, encourage safe and open discussions, and address racism and oppression. One of the ways that the UWSA committed to doing this is to restructure the elections process to make it safer for candidates and voters.

To ensure that the harm done during the 2020 General Election is not repeated, and work on creating an anti-oppressive election framework, the UWSA Board of Directors voted to postpone the 2021 General Elections from February-March, 2021 to March-April ,2021. This change shifts the nomination period, where candidates can apply to run for a director, senator, or regent position to March 1 – 11 and moves the voting period to March 29-31.

The UWSA has also restructured the role of the Chief Elections Commissioner and created two Elections Campaign Facilitator positions to increase accountability and support the elections better. Interested candidates can apply for both roles through the UWSA website by clicking here.

The UWSA will release some election reform proposals with new campaign rules, director roles, and a safer complaint process in the upcoming weeks.

While these are just the initial changes, creating structural change at the UWSA is a continually evolving and collaborative process. To facilitate this, a student feedback process will be available by February 12.

All UWinnipeg students are welcome to attend the UWSA Board of Directors Meeting on February 10, where the election reform proposal will be presented before final approval on February 24. To register and receive the Zoom meeting link, please email Administrative Assistant, Thomas Hanan, at t.hanan@theuwsa.ca by 4:30 PM using your UWinnipeg webmail address and your Student ID Number.

In solidarity,
The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association

An Update on Alternate Grading Options for Fall 2020

December 23rd, 2020

On December 22, 2020, the University of Winnipeg Senate voted to pass the UWSA Motion on Alternate Grading Options for Fall 2020.

For Fall 2020 courses, University of Winnipeg students will be able to make a request to exclude a grade from the calculation of their GPA.

Additionally, students who have received a passing grade for Fall 2020 courses will also be able to request a grade of ‘S’ (Standing) for their course instead. A ‘Standing’ grade will not be included in their GPA calculation.

Before making a request to exercise either option, interested undergraduate students will have to consult an academic advisor and graduate students will have to consult their program advisor. Your request must be submitted by February 12, 2021, and their choice(s) will be noted in your transcript.

Students who have been found guilty of academic misconduct in 2020-21 will not be eligible to make use of either option.

Please note that:

  • Grades excluded in the calculation of their GPA will not be used to calculate GPA for program progression and/or graduation GPA requirements. Students who require a certain grade for program progression must not choose the ‘Standing’ option.
  • Where specific course grades other than ‘Standing’ are required to satisfy UW pre- requisite requirements, for entry into other courses, or admission to other programs, and to satisfy any other program requirements, course grades will continue to be used. A grade of “Standing” cannot be used to satisfy a pre-requisite where a specific letter grade is normally required.
  • What constitutes a passing grade will be determined by the specific faculty.

Academic and Career Services Advisors are there provide guidance on these alternative grading options. Students can contact them at 204.786.9257 or advising@uwinnipeg.ca.

Please visit UWinnipeg’s list of frequently asked questions on final grading options for further information related to alternate grading options.

Motion for Alternate Grading Option for UWinnipeg Students to be Voted on by UWinnipeg Senate on December 22, 2020

December 16th, 2020

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association President, Shawna Péloquin is working with UWSA Senators and UWinnipeg Faculty towards providing students with a flexible grading option for the Fall Winter 2020/21 Term. An amended version of the GPA Calculation Motion that was passed by the UWinnipeg Senate on April 8, 2020 will be voted on by the Senate on December 22, 2020.

If passed, students will be able to access this option when their grades for the current term are released up until February 12, 2021.

We recognize the academic, financial, and personal challenges that many UWinnipeg students are facing due to the pandemic and the impact it has on their education. UWSA is working with UWinnipeg departments and boards towards providing students with options to alleviate some of your hardships.

Updates on the motion will be available at the UWSA website on December 23, 2020. Until the motion is passed, we would like to strongly encourage students to access support if and when they need it. Some of the available supports are listed below:

  • Academic and Career Services Advisors are there to provide guidance with appeals and exam accommodations. Students can contact them at 204.786.9257 or advising@uwinnipeg.ca.
  • UWSA Staff can help you with academic advocacy or appeals. Please email vpsa@theuwsa.ca for more information.
  • Student Counselling staff are currently working remotely and would be pleased to assist you via phone or Zoom video counselling. Student can reach them at 204.988.7611 or studentwellness@uwinnipeg.cafrom Monday-Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
  • UWinnipeg’s Remote Teaching, Learning, and Research Hub provides valuable tips and resources to help students and educators succeed while working remotely.

In solidarity,
The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association

Five Years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report and Calls to Action

December 15th, 2020

On December 15, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its Final Report – a report that laid the foundation for a path forward towards “establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.” On June 2, 2015, more than 700 community members gathered in The University of Winnipeg’s Riddell Hall to witness Senator Murray Sinclair deliver the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report and read out the 94 Calls to Action. After listening to the experience and learning of the trauma caused by Canada’s residential school system, it was clear that education would play a crucial role in moving towards healing.

“Education got us into this mess,” Justice (now Senator) Sinclair had said, “and education will get us out of this mess.”

Over the last five years, the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association has been honouring the recommendations of the TRC Report and 94 Calls to Action as it works toward creating an equitable campus at UWinnipeg that both acknowledges and works to dismantle systemic racism.

Today, UWSA 2020-21 President, Shawna Péloquin acknowledges the impact of the TRC on the people in her life. Péloquin says, “To Our Cocoums (also spelled as ‘Kookum’ in Manitoba), our mothers, aunties and all our resilient matriarchs that have carried the heart of our identities through generations of hardship, hurt and violence: We are forever grateful for your perseverance in the face of genocide, for your resilience in raising your voice for the Truth to be heard, and for the love you’ve guided us with.  Today as we acknowledge the Truth and Reconciliation report and the accomplishment and improvement that happens since in our Indigenous collective, it’s important to me to remind us that without our Elders’ determination we would not be who and where we are now, and where we need to be for our next generation. Kizagin Cocoums.”

The UWSA would also like to acknowledge the work of the UWinnipeg Aboriginal Student Service Centre (ASSC) and of the Indigenous Students’ Association for creating space for Indigenous students on campus and for the crucial supports that they provide.

UWinnipeg is home to several Elders who have supported Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike in taking the steps necessary to engage in the process of reconciliation all while managing their own experiences, including inter-generational trauma. Today, UWSA would like to acknowledge the work of all the past and current Elders on campus. Their contributions are immeasurable and their names are listed below:

  • Dan Thomas
  • Sharon Pelletier
  • Margaret Osborne
  • Ruth Christie
  • Calvin Pompana
  • Larry Monkman
  • Robert Green
  • Hector Pierre
  • Clara Hart
  • Levinia Brown
  • Linda McEvoy
  • Robert Apetagon
  • Barb Nepinak

Since the TRC report was published, we have seen many new initiatives by UWinnipeg like the establishment of the Urban Inner-City Studies Department at Merchant’s Corner, Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre, Indigenous language courses, Indigenous Summer Scholars Program, Indigenous Advisory Circle, and much more.

Some of the initiatives started and supported by the UWSA include the student-led initiative of implementing the Indigenous Course Requirement at UWinnipeg, campaigns like Divestment, ReconciliACTION, the creation of a UWSA Indigenous Advisory Circle, and more. None of this would be possible without the contributions of UWSA Indigenous Executives, Directors, and staff who have persevered despite the challenges of working in a colonial institution.

Today is also a time to reflect that although we have made progress, there is a long way to go towards achieving reconciliation. Undoing the trauma of generations will take much more than five years. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff of the UWSA and UWinnipeg to educate themselves on the 94 Calls to Action, and to think creatively and introspectively regarding how the Calls to Action can be applied to their personal and professional lives. For Non-Indigenous UWSA members, we recommend the TRC Reading Guide by Manitoba Harm Reduction Network.

To commemorate this event, the UWSA will host a de-colonization focused workshop in the 2021 Winter Term. More details will be available in January 2021.

 

In solidarity,

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association

UWSA Transit Subsidy Program - Winter 2021

December 14th, 2020

UWinnipeg students who purchase a Post-Secondary Semester Pass can apply for the UWSA Transit Subsidy Program by mid-December. Please find details of the program and application process below:

Name: UWSA Transit Subsidy – Winter 2021

Description: The UWSA Transit Subsidy is provided to full-time University of Winnipeg undergraduate or graduate students who purchase a Post-Secondary Semester Bus Pass for the winter term of the 2020-21 academic year. This subsidy is available for the Winter 2021 term only and is provided by the UWSA in partnership with the University of Winnipeg to help UWSA members with the cost of local transportation, in the absence of the U-Pass.

Eligibility: All full-time UWinnipeg students, who are taking nine or more credit hours in one term, can apply for the subsidy. This subsidy is not open to English Language Program (ELP) or Professional Applied and Continuing Education (PACE) students.

This subsidy is only available on purchase of the Semester Post-Secondary Pass worth $283. Monthly and Weekly Post-Secondary Pass owners cannot apply for this subsidy.

Application requirements: Applicants will be asked to provide proof of purchase (i.e., upload a copy of their semester pass receipt) and must also demonstrate financial need through the University of Winnipeg’s online award application.

Subsidy amount: $83 per student. This subsidy will cover the cost difference ($83) between a Post-Secondary Semester Pass and the U-Pass.

Application period: December 15, 2020 – February 1, 2021

Funds disbursed: mid/late March 2021

How to apply: Please follow the below steps to apply:

  • Log in to UWinnipeg’s online award application using your UWinnipeg webmail ID and password.
  • Complete the General Application for Awards.
  • If you meet the criteria (financial need and full-time undergraduate or graduate student status), you will see the UWSA Transit Subsidy in the list of Recommended Opportunities. 
  • You must then apply directly for the subsidy by uploading an image of their semester pass receipt.

 

University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg