Senate Recap: January 29

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Senate addressed the potential hit to revenue stemming from Ontario’s recent OSAP changes in Tuesday’s meeting. 
 
Prinicipal Daniel Woolf and Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris opened up about the provincial government’s Jan. 17 announcement pertaining to tuition reduction, changes to OSAP, and the Student Choice Initiative. 
 
“I need to stress that a 10 per cent reduction in tuition, which represents the majority of our revenue stream, is not a small problem. While we have to take this very seriously, on the whole, we are not in a bad position to be able to deal with it,” Woolf said.
 
While the specifics of the changes are currently unknown, the administration is concerned about the affordability of Queen’s education with the cuts to OSAP. 
 
According to Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney, 1,716 undergraduate students at Queen’s last year received an OSAP grant equal to tuition. The University plans to launch a private fundraising campaign to increase the funds available for student financial assistance bursaries, both short- and long-term. 

Woolf also released his guiding principles as to how the University will proceed with the cuts to its budget. 
 
According to Woolf, the University will remain focused on their core mission of providing “excellent teaching, research, and service to the community, with an unwavering commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, including socio-economic accessibility.” 
 
They will also maintain their commitment to faculty renewal, though the hiring process will likely be slowed. 
 
“We are one university; the impact will not fall disproportionately on one faculty,” Woolf said.

Financial Impact

Last year, the total revenue for the University was approximately $638 million, with $356 million coming from tuition fees. Harris projects that the university will lose $32 million in the first year because of the proposed tuition cuts, accounting for both the 10 per cent reduction and loss of the annual 3 per cent increase to tuition that was expected in upcoming years. 
 
They will lose an additional $7 million each year. The university plans to use a combination of cost reduction and revenue generation strategies to ensure the quality of the institution isn’t compromised. 
 
“We cannot cut our way to excellence,” Harris said. The University will provide an official recommendation for the budget within the next six weeks.

Safety Report

Woolf announced the University has signed an agreement with International SOS, the world's largest medical and travel security services firm, to support students, faculty, and staff travelling internationally on behalf of the institution.
 
More information about the service will be available to the Queen’s community in the coming weeks.

Other Announcements 

The Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering is seeking to add another teaching day to their Academic Calendar in the 2019-20 year to make up for Thanksgiving Day.
 
As previously announced at a meeting of the University Council on Anti-Racism and Equity, the University is designating a space on campus for equity-seeking groups. With plans to open the building this spring, groups can apply for access to the “yellow cottage,” located at 140 Stuart St.
 
Additionally, the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health released the annual Student Wellness Services report. The report, found on the Student Wellness Services website, provides an overview of their operations for the 2017-18 academic year, noting the increase in student appointments during this time. 
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