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SRA passes four policy papers this term The MSU is advocating for mandatory faculty AOP training, accessible pedagogy and investigation into racial profiling

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Graphics C/O Sukaina Imam

By: Neda Pirouzmand

Health and Wellness

One of the key issues that the MSU points out in the “Health and Wellness” policy paper is that referrals from the Student Wellness Centre are not tailored to the needs of students.

The MSU suggests that the SWC neglects to account for how students will reach community referrals or how much it will cost them.

The policy paper brings forward a number of recommendations to combat these issues, proposing the SWC connect with MSU peer support services to provide support for McMaster’s diverse student population.

The MSU also recommends that the SWC offer harm reduction services and feedback opportunities to students.

The policy paper also includes recommendations for other university stakeholders, suggesting that professors and teaching assistants be required to undergo mental health first aid training.

 

Student Rental Housing and Near-Campus Neighbourhoods

According to this policy paper, McMaster off-campus resource centre resources are underused by students. The OCRC has not posted on Facebook since April 2017.

Another issue is that demand is overtaking supply in the student housing market. The quantity and quality of available housing opportunities is on the decline.

In light of these issues, the MSU recommends the city of Hamilton to proceed with its proposed investment of $347,463 to hire three full-time employees for a two-year rental licensing pilot project beginning in 2019 to annually inspect buildings in Hamilton.

The MSU also suggests that McMaster seek more public-private partnerships to improve the supply of nearby student housing.

 

University Accessibility

This policy paper first notes that McMaster has a ten year plan to make its campus “car free,” which would reduce accessibility by moving the HSR bus stop from University and Sterling Street to the McMaster Go bus station.

According to the paper, another accessibility concern lies in the fact that most McMaster professors neither consider nor actively incorporate strategies and recommendations outlined in McMaster’s accessibility resources.

The paper also points out that learning materials are often inequitable and the university has significant work to do when it comes to promoting and implementing accessible pedagogy.

The MSU puts forward a number of recommendations to improve the university’s accessibility practices.

The paper argues that all professors teaching in rooms fitted for podcasting should post podcasts and use accessible formats for supplementary class material.

In addition, the paper suggests that intramurals reduce their pre-playoff participation requirement from 50 to 30 per cent, as students with disabilities may not be able to make all games.

According to the paper, student accessibility services should have an open catalogue for student notes, where students in need would not be limited to resources from one student.

 

Racial, Cultural and Religious Equity

The dominant issue highlighted in this policy paper is the fact that faculty staff and many student groups do not receive mandatory anti-oppressive practices training.

In addition, according to the paper, McMaster Security Services has been involved in the excessive carding and racial profiling of students.

Another issue concerns the fact that there exists no record-keeping system of student demographics in relation to enrollment and dropout rates by faculty.

Students are also largely unaware of the McMaster Religious, Spiritual, and Indigenous Observances policy.

Some recommendations in the paper call for McMaster to explore alternative enrollment application streams for underrepresented groups.

The paper also suggests that applicants looking for research funding from Mcmaster identify how their research will appeal to or account for marginalized populations.

According to the paper, McMaster should mandate equity and diversity requirements for all undergrads.

Chairs of hiring committees, security staff, teaching assistants and faculty members should undergo mandatory AOP training.

Another recommendation calls for the EIO to investigate carding and racial profiling trends centered around McMaster Security Services.

 

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