Hitchcock, students seek Common Ground

Principal Karen Hitchcock focused on broad student issues during Monday’s student feedback session.
Principal Karen Hitchcock focused on broad student issues during Monday’s student feedback session.
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Principal Karen Hitchcock held her first student-specific “Engaging the World” forum at the Common Ground on Monday.

The forum was attended by approximately 30 students, including a large turnout from the executives of various faculty societies.

EngSoc President Chris Zabaneh, Sci ’06, said the event was the first meeting in the series he has attended.

“The entire purpose is to provide student feedback and give focus for the University,” he said. “Specifics I did have were answered, [but] it was about raising a series of broader points for discussion.”

The event was moderated by AMS President Ethan Rabidoux, and focused less on Principal Hitchcock’s paper and more on general student issues.

ASUS President Bradley Hammond, ArtSci ’06, said he’s concerned the University offers fewer entrance scholarships than other competing universities.

“Not offering entrance scholarships does turn some students away,” he said.

“Does not offering entrance scholarships take away from our comparative advantage?” he asked.

Hitchcock agreed that not offering as many scholarships is an issue that has to be remedied if the University is to continue to attract the best students.

She didn’t say how these changes could be made.

“If we increase merit-based [scholarships], then we don’t [want to] decrease bursaries,” Hitchcock said. “[Having fewer entrance scholarships] is affecting our competitive position, and will down the road.”

AMS VP (University Affairs) Shiva Mayer raised the issue of deregulation, expressing his concern that the University would raise tuition fees.

Hitchcock said she is in favour of “locally-set” tuition.

“Each institution knows better the situation of their students,” she said.

Zabaneh responded to Hitchcock’s comments about the importance of a liberal arts education including both arts and science.

He said he feels that engineers don’t have the same access other faculties have to a broader learning experience.

“We can’t always access all the classes we want to, because we have such a strict schedule,” Zabaneh said.

Near the end of the meeting, several faculty society members invited Hitchcock to attend their society assemblies.

Zabaneh said EngSoc will release a response to her “Engaging the World” discussion paper.

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Upcoming Town Hall Meeting: Nov. 30, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Policy Studies, Room 202

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