Chayton Allen, a second year Media Studies student, was denied access to strike relief funds by the University of Guelph-Humber, who claim he is ineligible due to a Ontario student loans assessment.
Mr. Allen applied for the funds in the final week of classes and clearly provided documentation that he did not receive money from the Ontario Student Assistance Program and pays for school himself by adding his credit card statements.
“The letter states that the expense has been calculated within my OSAP assessment, but I do not understand how there can be an assessment on something that is not there”, said Allen.
“It’s difficult to work almost full time while going to school, I have no time to myself just work and school. Missing five weeks of my education which I paid for out of my own pocket is an injustice.”
The Guelph-Humber student received an email from one of the university’s financial aid advisor on Monday stating that the information in his application is not eligible according to the ministry and that his expenses were calculated in his OSAP assessment.
Allen, frustrated and confused responded to the rejection that the institution is wrong for not giving him the $500 after the five weeks of strike.
“This is clearly a business and you take money very quickly but are reluctant to give any back when you guys are in the wrong. I am not happy with this school, financial services or this strike relief fund because it did not do anything for me,” Allen wrote in an email response.
“At best you guys are sleazy businessmen, good job exploiting thousands of innocent students all while taking minimum $28,000 dollars after [four] years.”
Allen said he rejected a soccer scholarship from Algoma University to come to Guelph-Humber because of its degree and diploma program, a move he said he now regrets.
“So therefore as a 20 year old student I am now further in debt due to a strike that I had no control over and now I am receiving this letter saying that I am ineligible for a portion of my tuition.”
Allen plans to appeal the decision to Guelph-Humber’s financial aid advisor, followed by a student strike relief fund panel.
The Avro Post reached out for comment from Guelph-Humber but has not received a response.
Guelph-Humber’s strike relief fund was set up late in November, mirroring the program launched by the provincial government following the five-week-long faculty strike that affected all 24 public colleges in Ontario.
The fund, announced on Nov. 28 of last year, was created in partnership with the Ontario education ministry, IGNITE and Humber College to help students who suffered with “specific unanticipated expenses” because of the strike, which lasted for over a month.
“The Student Strike Relief Fund provides assistance for students who have experienced unanticipated hardship as a result of the strike,” reads a description of the program given by the university’s financial aid office in its email to Allen.
“The fund is consistent with the framework developed by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development in consultation with student leaders and colleges.”
On Oct. 16, over 12,000 faculty, librarians and counselors went on strike, leaving the 24 public colleges and some 500,000 full and part-time students without classes due to collective bargaining negotiations not meeting a 12:01 a.m. deadline.
The University of Guelph-Humber decided to close campus due to not being able to offer all of its programs in full and with the building being behind a picket line, administrators couldn’t ask students to cross it.
University faculty-taught courses started up again online by Oct 30, with full on campus classes returning Nov. 20, and college courses resuming the day after.
More coverage to follow. Image of the University of Guelph-Humber by Leonardo Yokhana/The Avro Post.
Reporting by Kaela Johnson and Eli Ridder.