The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, OUSA, is concerned that McMaster’s administration didn’t seek student input before suspending MAPS from collecting fees last week.
A motion to stop the part-time students association from collecting students’ money was announced last Monday on the Daily News. The motion was brought to the Board of Governors meeting last Thursday and passed without student input. The administration reasoned that the new MAPS board had not met expectations of transparency and accountability, and therefore should not collect any fees from students this fall.
Three days after the Board of Governor’s decision, OUSA blogged about their concern over the way the situation was handled, with the understanding that the new MAPS board was working to address the administration’s concerns.
OUSA, which represents 8 student organizations including the MSU, says McMaster’s decision to impose the suspension goes against the autonomy of a student organization:
“Most concerning is the fact that the decision […] was motioned and passed by members of the University Administration, rather than by the actual student membership of MAPS. This sets a dangerous precedent in which an institution has chosen to withhold fees independently of student input or support.”
Ken Seville, a part-time student at McMaster and a Hamilton resident, commented on the post and expressed disappointment in the way the decision unfolded.
“I was shocked at how quickly this motion was brought forth and passed without any discussion or even questions from the BOG,” he wrote. “I also find it disingenuous that the admin. claims to be protecting pt students but made no effort to consult them on the decision.”
“The university has an email address for every MAPS member. Even something as simple as poll daddy would have sufficed,” he wrote in an e-mail. He says he doesn’t know what other part-timers think of the suspension.
“That’s the problem about being a pt student, you are disconnected from campus life but decisions are made on your behalf without any consultation. For my part, I don’t mind paying MAPS fees because I have confidence in the new BOD and them making the organization accountable,” said Seville.
MAPS President Andrew Smith said the new board “has always been in agreement with strengthened accountability and transparency measures. He continued, “The MAPS board will not, however, agree to unrelated issues being attached to the resumption of fee collection.”
A McMaster representative could not be reached for comment before this article was published.
MSU President David Campbell said he agrees with OUSA that an effort should have been made to reach out to students before the decision, even if that meant a non-binding question to part-time students over e-mail.
“We understand the reasoning behind it but [getting student input] would have set a different tone,” he said.
However, Campbell also expressed some skepticism that the University would have received a large or unfavourable response to suspending MAPS, given the spending scandal that has severely impacted student confidence in the organization.
“Getting input would have been more of a symbolic decision,” said Campbell, who noted that context plays a role.
The MAPS annual meeting in February was poorly attended by members. Several confusions came up because by-laws were not present at the meeting. In 2012, MAPS was denied a fee increase and audited by the University. In the weeks and months following, the organization’s executive director was fired and its former board of directors replaced.
This article was last updated June 17 at 17:15 ET.