IGNITE Board discuss faculty strike, student presidency, winter term

Dec 17, 2021 | Campus News, Headlines, News

Alex Sein, an IGNITE director, is just as worried as any other Humber College student about a possible student strike, student advocacy and the Winter 2022 term.

“We’re all students. We’re worried about the strike as well, and IGNITE has always worked to support students,” Sein said. “We’ll deal with the issue as it comes along.”

In preparation, Humber has already created a Student Strike Relief Fund. It was created in 2017 to assist students with unexpected or incremental expenses as a result of the strike. The fund has more than $90,000 to support students.

To further help students with financial difficulties, IGNITE has reduced its fees to pre-pandemic costs. The students can now opt out of the fees for social events and opportunities as well.

“Moving forward, we are looking to offer more financial support for international students through bursaries,” said Gabi Rana, IGNITE director at the University of Guelph-Humber.

The board is also planning to create more part-time jobs on campus to help students balance their work and school schedules more easily, Rana said.

Sein said IGNITE added more than $200,000 in student support and scholarship funds.

“We’ve talked to students, and their concerns regarding the services we offer, and of course financial aid, are their biggest concern,” Sein said.

Student advocacy has been discussed many times at IGNITE board meetings, and just like previous times, the majority of voters have opted against having a student-president or vice-president represent the board.

“As a governance, we narrowed down major points that we feel the students are the most worried about,” Sein said. “The topics are either regarding the delivery of the Winter 2022 term or finances, and we seek to prioritize those first.”

The idea of a student president has been brought up in previous years, but it is always rejected.

“We have established democratically through the voting process on our board governance committee that there is no institutional memory,” Sein said. “The discussion about the presidency is not important at the moment. We’ll see how next year’s board decides.”

On Thursday, Humber announced all classes and labs for the next term will be held online for the first two weeks of the Winter 2022 semester. The decision was based on a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

The province recorded 3,124 new cases on Friday, with 759 in Toronto, 209 in Peel Region and 215 in York Region

“I want to recognize that this has been a challenging year and we remain committed to supporting a great start to the Winter term for all students,” said Chris Whitaker, Humber’s CEO and President.

The province ordered 50 per cent capacity to venues that can hold 1,000 or more people. Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore indicated there may be additional health and safety measures implemented in the next week for Ontario.

“If there is a reason to further alter our current course, we will respond, adapt and communicate with you [students],” Whitaker said.

The finance and audit committee has agreed to use IGNITE board members’ feedback on student investment priorities to create a proposed operating budget for review and approval.

“IGNITE is looking to address student issues and proposals to life on campus,” said Maksym Botte, North campus IGNITE director. “The board discussed opportunities for the advancement of services that IGNITE offers, on-and-off-campus, to be included in next year’s budget.”