Exclusive: Students holding unsanctioned naloxone training on Tuesday

Staff | Report

In an event not sanctioned by the administration or the student union, members of the Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber community are holding a nalaxone training session at North Campus on Tuesday, The Avro Post has learned.

“We are holding the event because two overdose prevention sites in Toronto permanently closed since roughly a week ago, despite the fact that CBC reports that over 600 overdose-related deaths happened during the first half of 2018,” one of the organizers, Hannah Derue, said.

Though the training starts at 12:30 p.m. on North Campus, the exact location of the session has not yet been disclosed because “volunteers of the group are concerned that the institutions will actively try to dismantle the session”, Derue, a campus activist, added.

Those interested in attending the training session are encouraged to get in touch with Derue on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

The group of concerned students previously approached IGNITE, staff at Humber College and Student Life at University of Guelph-Humber to hold a session with the aim of training students to use the life-saving naloxone kits, but all three campus institutions denied their request.

“We understand that there is a serious need for grassroots intervention due to the inaction of this government and our respective institutions. We’re doing this to save lives,” an organizer added. Naloxone kits are used to treat those experiencing opioid overdoses.

Derue, graduating from psychology program at Guelph-Humber in the next few weeks, explained she understood part of the rational on Humber and Guelph-Humber’s denial is that there is already a security guard in place at all times who can administrator the kit.

“They do not condone training students in the safe handling and administration of naloxone, even though it is harmless even when used on an individual who has not initiated an overdose or consumed opiates whatsoever,” those planning the training told The Avro Post.

The concerned students requested to have external healthcare practitioners brought on campus to carry out the training but they faced rejection with that suggestion. It is not uncommon for post-secondary institutions to offer naloxone training to student leaders and their peers.

There is a nurse at Humber College that is equipped to train staff and faculty to administer naloxone, but it is unclear how many of those employed have utilized the training.

The Avro Post has reached out to IGNITE, Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber’s Student Life department for comment. The Avro Post’s Arnold Samson will be reporting on the training session as it happens on Tuesday.

Image of Humber College from The Avro Post.

President candidates define their vision

Melissa Lopez, Eli Ridder | Report

Two candidates vying for the IGNITE presidency worked to define their vision in front of hundreds of students watching a live stream or in person at both Humber College North and Lakeshore Campuses on Wednesday.

Link: Go In-Depth On This Forum

Incumbent President Monica Khosla of North and her challenger Margarita Bader of Lakeshore are going head-to-head, and while some of their responses to questions were similar, there was differences in how they answered questions from students at the end.

Link: Live Tweets From Event

Khosla is looking to keep her position because her “work is not done” she told the approximately 10 gathered students in the Student Centre — she wants to continue her work with IGNITE’s “strategic plan” and her work with improving accessibility.

Bader dove into a detailed description of her campaign items off the bat — including new spaces for students, lowering textbook prices, digitizing campus and connecting health and wellness to outside campus with mobile carts offering food.

Bader went into all the details of her platform and ambitions as president in an interview with The Avro Post published on Wednesday morning, and Khosla responded with her own plans of action.

Image of the president Mix and Mingle from The Avro Post.

Erika Caldwell vows to be transparent, accountable

Eli Ridder | Report

Erika Caldwell, running for one of two seats the University of Guelph-Humber has on the IGNITE Board of Directors, promises to bring transparency and accountability if she is elected, she said in an interview with The Avro Post on Tuesday.

“I believe in open, honest communication, I hold myself and others accountable and I will continually advocate and be a voice for what the students of Guelph-Humber want, the third year Kinesiology student said.

Link: Elections 2019

Caldwell said her varied experience have shaped her into a “strong, honest and inclusive leader who treats everybody with dignity and respect”, adding that she has a “strong ability to liaise between executives and students”

During the voting period from Feb. 25 to Mar. 1, Caldwell will be up against Afifa Abbaszadeh, Drake Foo, Jim Hung and Julia Ciampa for the board seats.

Caldwell looks to distinguish herself from the others with her transparency efforts and drive for accountability.

She told The Avro Post she will continue to maintain an online and on-campus presence as a director and is open for any student to email her at ecaldw01@guelphhumber.ca or speak to her in person.

The platform

Erika Caldwell broke down her platform into four unique items she hopes will benefit students across all campuses.

Caldwell told The Avro Post she will “hold the elected president and vice president’s accountable to the platforms they campaigned with” — and, when questioned whether this was in response to TAP’s report on IGNITE executives largely not following through on platform items, she said it was “purely based on what I believe is important based on students needs and expectations of elected executives.”

Secondly, Caldwell said that, as a director, she would ensure events and and opportunities are tailored to benefit students and that “the approved budget to do this is fair and strategic.”

“I will continually advocate for more opportunities to develop professional and personal skills on campus such as First Aid Training and summer internships.

Caldwell says she will also support services for the maintenance of physical and mental health.

Many at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber are worried about losing services offered by the student union due to the optional student fees introduced by the Ontario government that come into play this fall.

The health plans are considered “essential”, however, and will not be part of the optional student fees, according to what a government official told The Avro Post.

“Finally, I will urge IGNITE executives to continue to make life on campus more affordable by considering innovative initiatives such as introducing a textbook exchange website as well as providing GH students with access to hot water to make their own tea, coffee and foods,” Caldwell added.

Image from Erika Caldwell. More details to follow.

Who will win the Senate race?

Eli Ridder | Analysis

The Avro Post is dedicated to impartial but in-depth coverage of elections this year and beyond, so let’s break down a prediction on who will win the Senate race based purely on the factors we know make a winner in student elections.

One of the largest indicators of a winning candidate is social media impact. We’re mostly talking Instagram, maybe Facebook, and people sharing candidates in their stories.

If other candidates share a candidate’s campaign posters on their story, that is an indicator they have support within the inner circles of student politics — which has appeared to signal a winning campaign. We don’t have data — yet — on how many times a candidate has been endorsed by another candidate and won, but it has to be high if the last two years say anything.

Then again, we have seen underdog situations, such as the presidential race last year between Monica Khosla — a relative newcomer to student politics — and Alisa Lim, the-then IGNITE vice president of Lakeshore Campus and largely considered a traditional favourite to win.

But back to the Senate — who has been active on social media? Genevieve Samlal, Danya Elsayed and Maheen Nazim have been the top contenders in terms of the Instagram game. Samlal is the only candidate to make a dedicated campaign account, which has amassed 70 followers.

Elsayed and Nazim have only posted about their campaigns to their story — which may be the best way anyways as some people view stories more than profile posts.

Justin Mihaly and Jessica Lecques have also kept their campaigns to their stories, but have not kept it up everyday — thus, anyone curious about their campaigns may not necessarily find anything on their profiles.

As for Nora Elgharbawy, we don’t have access to her social media at this point so it’s unclear what she’s doing for her campaign there — which means most people don’t as she has a private profile. Hooria Katal is an unknown and we can’t find anything social media-wise, which does not allow for much of an Internet presence when one is a political candidate in 2019.

Of course all of these candidates have posters up near the elevators in Guelph-Humber — however, the effectiveness of the crowded papers taped to every inch of space has been questioned by nearly every candidate.

A third way to get the word out beyond social media and physical posters is through word-of-mouth and name recognition.

Maheen Nazim is the clear winner in this category as she was elected vice president last year has had a large reach within the community in her IGNITE role.

Who comes second? Arguably Genevieve Samlal, as an incumbent senator, should be there at the top with Nazim in terms of name recognition.

Danya Elsayed is an active member of the Guelph-Humber community and has been engaged with on-campus activism in the past. She’s had her name in GH360 for further confirming that the university is overcrowded and is an IGNITE staff writer.

Jessica Lecques has put out a bold presence with an in-depth platform — which could give her a strong name recognition as a newcomer.

Nora Elgharbawy and Justin Mihaly are present on social media but do not appear to have the same boost as the name recognition frontrunners. We were told after this was published that Elgharbawy’s campaign posters have been shared multiple times on students’ stories digitally. Her reach may be further than originally known.

Hooria Katal could’ve used her by-election Senate run to her advantage, but she was just as much as an unknown then as she is now.

There is also the fourth way to build a candidate up — media attention. That’s an easy one because the only student press covering the Guelph-Humber Senate election is The Avro Post.

So how does The Post cover the candidates? It’s fairly straightforward. If a candidate talks to us first, or we establish contact before they publicly announce, then we have an exclusive story on their candidacy, such as in the case of Danya Elsayed.

We also are actively looking for candidate campaign accounts, and, if we find one we share it instantly and put up a story announcing their candidacy.

After initial stories on candidates like this one on Jessica Lecques, we do a follow up with interview questions — the same for each candidate to start — and publish something like this.

That’s not necessarily the same system we use for IGNITE, but it works for the Senate which has a very short time period between candidacy announcements and voting.

So, in terms of media attention in The Avro Post, Jessica Lecques has given the most amount of detail and thus has the most published words on her campaign. However, Maheen Nazim has several stories on her IGNITE vice presidency dating back to last year that take the win with the most words published about her.

But Nazim’s coverage has not always been favourable in terms of public perception. Articles on her have included actions and statements that were both supported by students and criticized by students.

It could also be argued that the IGNITE website counts as media attention, especially with its social media presence of over 8,000 followers. There, all mention of Nazim has been at least shared in a positive light, which boosts her name recognition and exposure.

Hooria Katal has been mentioned in the past as a Senate candidate during the by-election — but again — was an unknown.

Of course, platforms also matter in an election, but, as it usually is with student politics, many are very similar with a few standout platform items. The issues at play in this election and the platforms candidates have can be read here.

So who will win?

Again, to stay away from bias, we have compiled the four factors — apparent social media influence, poster presence, prior name recognition and media attention — to analyze a probable outcome. This is not an endorsement in any way.

Maheen Nazim, on most counts, is the front runner overall and has the experience to campaign hard for a win.

Genevieve Samlal is an incumbent, though she was not technically elected by students as there were only three candidates for four seats last year. She follows Nazim in these categories overall.

Danya Elsayed is close behind as she has the support of many in the Guelph-Humber community which is evident in those that endorse her on social media.

Jessica Lecques has come forward with bold statements and has gone in-depth with her platform, and appears to stand out from the lesser known newcomer candidates.

Nora Elgharbawy, Justin Mihaly and especially Hooria Katal will likely have to step it up in the four factors to bump up their presence and snag a seat, as shown by how winning candidates in the past have found votes.

One never knows how an election will turn out in the end, however, and it is always possible for any of the seven Senate candidates to take one of the four seats.

All seven have platform items they want to take to the Guelph Senate on behalf of Guelph-Humber, and these issues could potentially resonate past social media influence and posters and give a candidate the ballots to win.

Stay tuned to The Avro Post for the latest on these candidates and for the final results. Voting continues until Friday via a link sent to students on GryphMail.

Image of ballot from Pexels

Campus is closed

Staff | Report

Humber College announced earlier that the North and Lakeshore Campuses are closed due to inclement weather, including the University of Guelph-Humber.

Residence, L Building at Lakeshore and the LRC at North remain open.

The University of Guelph is also closed.

More details to follow. Image of campus from files.

Monica Khosla running for re-election

Eli Ridder | Report

IGNITE President Monica Khosla, who won her position in a tight race a year ago, is running for re-election this year.

She will face off against Margarita Bader, who started putting up her election posters on Monday morning when IGNITE candidates were allowed to launch their formal campaigning.

That will make it so there are at least two female candidates. If they are the only two running, then it will be identical to last year when just Khosla and Alisa Lim — two female students — ran for the presidency.

Link: Elections 2019

The candidate who is elected president will be leading the student union into the fall when optional student fees are scheduled to come into play.

IGNITE will be fighting to get student support as those enrolled at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber could have the option to defund several of their services, clubs and the student government itself.

The Avro Post has contacted both president candidates with the same interview questions and will report further details as they are received.

More details to follow. Image of the 2018 executive team from The Avro Post.

Elections: It all starts on Monday

Eli Ridder | Analysis

IGNITE election campaigns and voting for the University of Guelph-Humber’s four representatives on the main Guelph campus Senate both start on Monday — marking it as the launch day for everything student government.

For those interested in learning who is running for IGNITE will have to wait until at least Wednesday during the elections “Mix and Mingle” event to find out who the candidates are, unless the student union release the names beforehand.

As for the Senate, we only have details on four of the seven candidates running, and physical posters were only spotted for three of the them as of Saturday. That means exposure for candidates has been remarkably low ahead of voting and will likely lead to a small turnout.

Students can vote online via an email sent to their GryphMail on Monday. For many students, that will be their first look at the names who could represent them on the Senate, a body of student government that deals exclusively with academic issues.

Link: What Do Senators Do?

The candidates that we do know about haven’t released much in terms of platform items, with the exception of incumbent Genevieve Samlal, who promises to explore options for adding more program-specific facilities and reduce course repetition, among other goals.

All the known Senate candidates have been sent interview questions, and we will hopefully know more about their platforms and what they stand for by Monday morning — which The Avro Post will release as soon as we receive responses.

So, strap in, grab some student-funded IGNITE popcorn and follow the election fun from the comfort of wherever you are. We will have all the latest news, biggest platform items and the breakdown analysis here on The Avro Post Elections page.

Image of ballot from The Avro Post files.

GryphMail plagued with scam email

Eli Ridder | Report

Potentially hundreds of students, staff and faculty at the University of Guelph and Guelph-Humber’s GryphMail were sent a scam email on Wednesday afternoon from an individual claiming to be from “Travelex Currency Trading Co.” with an employment offer.

The company can be found online via an address listed in a digital form attached to the email and listed on Google Maps as based at Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport. The emails were sent from other GryphMail addresses, not from an outside source.

An individual working in information and technology told The Avro Post that it appears to be from a localized infected computer.

“Good day! My name Steve Moore,” the email reads, which traces its existence to varying addresses, asking recipients if they would consider “a part-time job opportunity to be our Purchasing Manager in your region?”

“I understand you might have busy schedules with your current job/school activities, but I want to let you know that this service is not time consuming, it will be like you are working from home,” it continues.

Moore, likely a fake name, says he is “currently interested to emply your services with lots of benefit,” promising readers that they “will be entitled to earn $500 weekly”.

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 9.44.07 PM
One version of the email sent to at least one student.

The email then prompts recipients, if they are interested to learn more,  to visit a link to a Microsoft Office form.

The email was sent at 3:41 p.m. on Wednesday. Scams sent to GryphMail addresses are not uncommon, university staff told The Avro Post.

The Avro Post has reached out to the University of Guelph and Guelph-Humber, as well as multiple staff members, to find out how many email addresses were affected by the scam.

Company from ‘Turkey’

The form linked in the email sent to those using the University of Guelph’s GryphMail gives a description of the position being offered by the scam and has a signature indicating the “Travelex Currency Trading Co.” company is based in Turkey.

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 9.51.05 PM
Form via The Avro Post

The address is listed as “Yeşilköy Mah. AHL Yeni Dış Hatlar Terminal Binası, 34149 Bakırköy/İstanbul, Turkey” — an address at Istanbul Ataturk Airport tied to the listed company.

The Avro Post has reached out to the company for comment.

The form attached asks recipients for their full name, specific work history in relation to the offered position, age, primary bank name, length of time with their bank and contact information.

Image from Pexels files.

IGNITE asks Lakeshore students what they want in candidates

Eli Ridder | Report

IGNITE asked students at Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus what changes they would like candidates to address in the upcoming elections — food, events and social media made up the seven answers.

Link: Elections 2019

The question asked to students by IGNITE staff writer Ally Buso — What changes would you like this year’s IGNITE candidates to address in their election campaigns? — were met with a narrow range of responses.

Three responses gave the suggestion of improving the food options on campus, including making generally more “healthier” choices, “more vegetarian” and adding more establishments.

Two students — second year Jose Gomez and third year Nikoo Salehirad — said that they would enjoy more social and cultural events to meet others at.

Digital Communications third year Kimone Smith suggested candidates take over IGNITE social media for a day, saying that “I think a takeover would be good so we can learn more about them.”

Another student complained about her early morning starts at Humber, saying that “in three semesters I have had classes at 8 a.m.”, but added that “I really love this campus” and does not want any other changes.

IGNITE’s student union does not have much say over class start times, according to those knowledgeable with student government affairs, but it is instead an academic decision-making body that would work those changes.

Humber, like colleges across the province, does not have an academics-focused Senate. If Guelph-Humber looked to change the practicalities of class start times, it would largely be a charge led by senators.

The University of Guelph-Humber has four representatives on the main Guelph campus Senate, who are elected on a yearly basis alongside the IGNITE elections, and work on academic issues.

Image of students interviewed by IGNITE — Stephanie Camargo and Venus Saini.

Campus is closed

Eli Ridder | Report

Due to inclement weather, the University of Guelph-Humber and Humber College campuses closed at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Residence remained open. LRC 3rd Floor at North Campus and L Commons at Lakeshore also remained open.

No new classes or activities began at or after 12:30pm. For classes that were in progress, faculty were asked by college administrators to use their discretion regarding dismissal time.

The Business Awards event, meetings and other activities hosted on Humber campuses are cancelled for the day. Humber asks individuals to check with event organizers for any updates.

Humber says it expects campus to resume normal operations and re-open on Thursday. Ryerson University is also closing but other institutions such as York and George Brown College remain open.

Image from The Avro Post.

IGNITE says it has budget watchdogs

Eli Ridder | Staff

IGNITE Vice President Jeremy Alfonso, who represents Humber College North Campus, told student publication Skedline in a story posted Tuesday that the student union has budget watchdogs.

Aflonso was reflecting on a report by The Eyeopener that revealed elected representatives with the Ryerson Student Union had spent over $250,000 via union credit cards.

“Personally I think that is was very unfortunate that something like that happened, and obviously that’s an extremely worst-case scenario as to how any student union should be allowing its student executives to run about and spend money like that,” Alfonso said.

The Avro Post has reached out to IGNITE for a description of the “watchdogs” that Alfonso told Skedline about in the report released Tuesday evening. There have been multiple requests for a line-by-line budget from The Avro Post that have gone ignored.

IGNITE currently only releases overview budgets in simple graphics that do not go into much detail regarding where the $10 million they have access to a year goes.

The story was on the March for Students’ Rights that took place Monday in Toronto that saw hundreds rally against the moves made the Ontario government to cut Ontario Student Assistance Program grants and put in place optional student fees for the fall.

Image of IGNITE from The Avro Post files.

Water main to be fixed overnight

Eli Ridder | Report

Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber students in residence at North Campus will experience a water shutdown overnight for several hours as final repairs are completed on the broken pipeline that closed campus over the weekend.

In an email to students, officials said that there would be a water shutdown from 11:30 p.m. to 4 a.m., advising students to fill up water bottles and shower early, adding that the R Building will have bottled water “should you require”.

The ban on overnight guests will continue, but visitor policy “will return to normal” at 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

More details to follow. Image of campus from The Avro Post.


Iconic photos: March for Students’ Rights

Staff | Report

The March for Students’ Rights, which saw thousands of students across the province rally on Monday against the changes to tuition grants and optional student fees, had iconic photos captured on social media and by reporters — these are some of the best.


Ontario NDP support rally.



Via Tyler Watt on Twitter.

Images from across social media users.

‘Scattered’: Humber’s communication over residence closure

Emily-May Werginz | Special Report

The Avro Post’s correspondent Emily-May Werginz is a student living on residence, and provided timely updates over the course of the weekend — in this special report she details her experience.

Humber College North Campus students were informed on Friday that their residence could be potentially closed for the weekend due to the fact that they had to shut off the water for the building.

The spread of information and updates were scattered and many students were left concerned and at a loss of information.

Once it was confirmed that the residence would be closing, students had approximately 25 minutes to pack for the weekend before gathering in the cafeteria to wait for the buses.

While waiting for the buses, students were concerned with room and food arrangements, where the hotels would be located and how long they would be relocated for.

Most questions were left unanswered until students got onto a bus because of the chaos that was taking place. Multiple buses arrived to the residence to take the students to separate hotels where they were told to get a partner to room with.

Rooming arrangements were different for each hotel ranging from one to two beds per room and one in room bathroom.

In order for the students to eat they had to make their own arrangements but will be reimbursed $50 per day until Monday.

On Sunday at 7 p.m. students were brought back to residence where they signed in individually and could return to their rooms.

I found that many students believe improvements could be made to the communications system for emergency situations like the one that has taken place on residence.

Image from Humber College residence.

Residence to re-open at 7 p.m., North Campus open Monday

Eli Ridder | Report

Humber College residence students currently staying at hotels due to the water main pipeline break at North Campus are headed back to residence on Sunday night and the entire campus will be open as of Monday morning.

A student at Four Points hotel near the Toronto Pearson International Airport told The Avro Post that residence dwellers received an email early on Sunday afternoon from Humber saying residence would re-open at 7 p.m.

Humber publicly confirmed later on Sunday that the rest of campus, including the University of Guelph-Humber, but stressed that the rest of campus is closed until 6 a.m. on Monday.

An email seen by The Avro Post sent to the students in hotels at 3:05 p.m. requests residence dwellers to ready their luggage by 6:15 p.m. for the trip back to campus.

The email from Humber says that the pipeline break has not yet been fixed and that repairs are “still underway”.

Students are not allowed to have guests overnight as it “will be a very busy evening”, Humber Residence staff wrote. Visitors are banned until the water main is fixed.

A water main broke on Friday afternoon, closing campus that evening and sending those living in residence to hotels.

Students were transported via Greyhound buses to the Four Points hotel near the Toronto Pearson International Airport and Delta International further east, and each student will be reimbursed up to to $50 per day for food.

Students picked partners for their hotel rooms, though some stayed overnight solo. The rooms were described by three students as “very nice”.

Students earlier expressed frustration at the communication by Humber, saying since Friday that they have been “confused” and “left in limbo”. Others said the college has done the best they can considering the circumstances.

Image of North Campus residences from The Avro Post.

Pipeline break closes campus until Monday, sends residents to hotels

Emily Werginz, Eli Ridder| Report

Humber College’s North Campus and the University of Guelph-Humber closed at 5 p.m. on Friday due to a water main break and will not re-open until Monday — and students on living on residence are being moved to hotels, The Avro Post has learned.

The main pipeline at the front of North Campus needs to be fixed, which requires turning off the water, according to The Avro Post’s correspondent in residence.

Humber gave a statement at 5:55 p.m. saying that the North Campus will be completely closed for the weekend, and expects to open at 6 a.m. on Monday.

The Avro Post has learned that residence buildings closed at 7:30 p.m. and students were gradually sent to various hotels in groups but more details are yet to be known.

Two groups of students left soon after 7:30 p.m., and remained in residence awaiting transport and did not yet know how they will be divided amongst hotels and rooms, the last update The Avro Post received just before 8 p.m. from a correspondent in residence.

Students are continuously saying they feel stressed, rushed, and that the communication is not effective, The Avro Post’s correspondent says.

Students are being compensated $50 per day for food if they keep receipts.

An email seen by The Avro Post sent from the administration earlier on Friday to students in residence say the pipeline break is a “significant issue”.

Associate Director of Campus Services Susan Miller encouraged students to “consider going home or to a friend’s place off campus for the weekend.”

The Avro Post has reached out to the administration of Humber for comment. The college told students to get updates from their website.

Images from The Avro Post.

Nominations now closed ahead of elections for Senate, IGNITE

Eli Ridder | Report

Nominations closed for the University of Guelph Senate races and the IGNITE campaigns at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Friday respectively, setting the stage for a critical election period over the next several weeks.

There are 13 races taking place — one for president, three for vice president, nine for the Board of Directors and four seats representing the University of Guelph-Humber on the Guelph Senate.

No candidate has yet openly declared but those that are running will be publicly announced next week — though The Avro Post can verify that there is at least one student running for Senate.

Last year, there were only three candidates for four seats in the Senate, forcing a September by-election when five students entered the race.

With the context of the upcoming Ontario Student Assistance Program grant cuts and optional student fees, this election season is set to be critical for student unions across the province. The Senate deals with academic advocacy and thus will largely be unaffected by the optional fees.

IGNITE’s elected executives, who are paid from student fees, have ignored The Avro Post since August 2018 without explanation.

Vice President of Guelph-Humber Maheen Nazim said last year that the publication was “not sanctioned” — the only reaction by an executive. It remains to be seen whether the new IGNITE executive will act the same way.

The campaign period will start next week and IGNITE will host three election forums at the University of Guelph-Humber, Humber College North Campus and Lakeshore Campus.

There are no public events slated for Senate candidates, but The Avro Post will be hosting a candidate forum for those that choose to attend.

Image of elections podium from files.

Campus closes over weather

Eli Ridder | Report

The University of Guelph-Humber and Humber College campuses closed at 6 p.m. on Monday due to severe weather conditions hitting parts of Toronto and southern Ontario.

Classes that started previous to closing continued at the professor’s discretion, but all classes starting at 6 p.m. or after were cancelled, according to the college statement early on Monday afternoon.

The closing included the Child Development Centre, Humber services and all facilities. However, residences remain open and operational for students who live on campus.

Inclement weather has also caused delays for the TTC, Brampton Transit, MiWay and the York Region Viva. For specifics, the transit authorities suggest visiting their social media and websites.

A decision for Tuesday will be made public at 5 a.m. via Humber College’s social media. The Avro Post will also have the latest updates online and via social media.

Image from The Avro Post.

‘Devastated’: IGNITE president slams optional student fees

Eli Ridder | Report

IGNITE President Monica Khosla said in a statement posted on Friday evening that the non-for-profit student union was “devastated” by the optional student fees initiative announced by the Ontario government.

“What you may not know is that these fees are how IGNITE receives funding, which in turn goes right back to you, our students, through all of the services, leadership opportunities, events and clubs we provide to you,” Khosla wrote in the release.

“The Premier and his government fail to recognize that over 31,000 students use resources like IGNITE not simply to better their experience on campus, but as a lifeline.

Khosla lists a series of services that could be threatened by the optional student fees initiative such as financial needs bursaries, the tax clinic and emergency menstrual kits.

She lists the health and dental insurance plan, but Member of Provincial Parliament David Piccini told The Avro Post on Friday that those would remain untouched as “essential services”.

“This move by the government is silencing students that need IGNITE and what we offer the most. By not having student unions, you no longer have a voice,” Khosla writes.

“What we want you to know is that we are here for you. We will continue to fight for you to ensure that none of our resources are taken away from you.”

Khosla goes on to say that IGNITE will be taking action by sending a letter to Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford and his administration “to educate them on how important these services are to you both on and off campus.”

However, Khosla adds that the executives will need help from students, and encourages her peers to reach out to Ford via his Twitter to inform him how IGNITE services impact their lives.

The president, who was elected last spring along with three vice presidents who represent the campuses of Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, added that she would be working with the two schools to “minimize the impact” of the optional fees.

The optional fees initiative was announced by the Ontario government on Thursday and has since been slammed by student unions, national organizations and student publications as a threat to services.

MPP Piccini, however, told The Avro Post earlier on Friday that it was meant to “empower the students”, essentially placing the choice of what they find essential in their hands and “putting students first”.

It is not exactly clear what the set up for students will be when they choose what to support in their student fees. Piccini said the government would leave it mostly up the institutions themselves.

This means that students could have a system where they choose where their money goes club by club or have bundles of services.

IGNITE executives did not respond to a request for comment and for an in-person interview.

More details to follow. Image of executives from The Avro Post.

Exclusive: ‘Putting students first’: MPP says on Ontario tuition cuts

Emily-May Werginz, Eli Ridder | Report

David Piccini, a top official of the post-secondary institutions file, told The Avro Post in a campus publication exclusive on Friday that the Ontario government is “putting students first” with its tuition cut, optional student fees and other changes to student life.

The sweeping changes announced on Thursday included a 10 per cent tuition cut, eliminating free tuition for students from low-income families, giving choice to students over what student fees they want to pay and changing the rules around the Ontario Student Assistance Program.

Mr. Piccini, member of provincial parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South, said that all the changes would be come into effect by August, in time for the start of the new school year.

On June 7 of last year, the Progressive Conservative Party swept to power in Queen’s Park.

On student fees

One of the main concerns raised by organizations such as the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian University Press is that the optional student fees would threaten the existence of student governments and clubs, including campus publications.

Piccini said that he had written for the Fulcrum while at the University of Ottawa and had been a coach of a university team, saying that he understood the importance of both clubs and student newspapers.

With the changes, however, Piccini explained that the Progressive Conservative government was “empowering students to make the decisions that are important to them”, noting that if students found the clubs and publications important, they will choose to fund them.

“I’m confident in the value” of student publications, he told The Avro Post.

Beyond that, Piccini confirmed that health and dental services, tagged as “essential”, would continue and would not be affected by the “Student Choice Initiative”, the title given to the optional fees.

Piccini did not go into details on how exactly the student fee options would look for those paying tuition, saying that it would mostly be left up to the post-secondary administrations themselves.

The student union for the University of Guelph-Humber and Humber College, IGNITE, is funded by student fees from both schools and has a budget of around $10 million per school year.

The Avro Post reached out for an interview with IGNITE over email and in-person regarding the new legislation that allows students to choose what student fees they pay, but they declined to respond.

Changes to tuition

Part of the announcements given on Thursday by the government under Premier Doug Ford was several changes to how tuition loans and grants work across the province.

Mr. Piccini stated that because “our commitment here, is to provide relief to Canadians” that international students will be ineligible for the 10 per cent tuition cut. 

One of the more contentious moves by the Ford government was to force students to take out loans for second-entry programs, such as law and medical school. Piccini said there was a lot of inaccuracies around that part of the announcement.

According to the new rules set to come into play this August, second-entry students will still be able to access certain grants, there will just be less of them in lockstep with post-secondary grants.

Students will still have the six month grace period to pay back their loans after they are finished school but it will no longer be interest free. 

Image provided by the office of David Piccini.


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