What you need to know from February’s Senate meeting

Bus pass fee remains mandatory, admin welcomes provincial Homecoming changes

Journal File Photo

During the Feb. 26 Senate meeting, the University expressed plans to support student enrollment next year through direct communication and financial support programs. 

The Provost’s official recommendations for the University’s response to the reduction in tuition revenues are still pending. However, preliminary recommendations have been made to the Principal and will be presented to the board this weekend. Comprehensive updates about the university’s response will be made available to Senate at the next meeting.

“The Provost doesn’t determine what the responses will be, the provost recommends to the principal what the responses will be,” Vice-Principal (Academic) Tom Harris said at Senate. 

Additionally, the University said it was taking proactive steps to help students with financial need following the cuts to OSAP, beginning with contacting students directly. Harris added Administrationis looking at their own financial support programs to determine where adjustments can be made to better support students, but no specific details were presented.  

“The Office of the Vice-Provost of Student Affairs will be contacting students with the highest financial need through email this week to start a discussion with those students, rather than waiting for them to come to us,” Harris said. 

While the administration is waiting for more information about the student activity fee, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs Ann Tierney will be meeting with student society executives this week to discuss the changes.  

Principal Woolf also affirmed student bus passes will be categorized as a mandatory student fee. 

“The bus pass seems like a small issue, but is in fact a big one for the AMS, SGPS, and the municipality,” Woolf said.


Homecoming Schedule

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) announced homecoming football games and celebratory events across the province will be confined to two weekends in the Fall semester.

Principal Woolf explained this change came at the request of the police association, and is designed to limit “the rotating [homecoming] schedule going across five or six weekends,” wherein students attend homecoming events at other universities than their own.

“We know from our experience at Queen’s and more recent experience at Guelph, Laurier, Waterloo, McMaster, and particularly Western, that this issue has been growing,” Woolf said.

Woolf believes the changes are “a moral victory” for the University and align with Kingston’s University District Safety Initiative. 


Martha Whitehead leaves for Harvard

Harris announced Vice-Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian Martha Whitehead will be departing to serve as the vice-president and university librarian at Harvard.

“It’s an incredible recognition of her trajectory, thoughtfulness, and leadership, and I know they will benefit from her experiences,” Harris said. 

Associate University Librarian Michael Vandenburg will continue in his acting role until June 2020, at which point the hiring process will be discussed with the principal designate.


Other Announcements

Senate approved the introduction of a MA and PhD in Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies in the Department of Film and Media, effective Sept. 1, and a Graduate Diploma (Type 3) in Water and Human Health, Beaty Water Research Centre, effective May 1. 

The Senate also approved major modifications to the Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science (BBCS) field in the Department of Psychology’s graduate programs, effective April 1.

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