One of the things that makes bringing together a full magazine each week is an issue of timing. To have the time needed to edit, layout, choose photos when necessary plus all of the other administrative work is that it means it’s difficult for us to bring late-breaking news.
But that sometimes means that we have almost no immediate coverage on important, late-breaking issues. We try to compensate for this by bringing fuller coverage later, but some things need to be talked about while the issue is hot.
In this case, there are two very important issues that you need to be aware of. The first is that the possibility of a work-stoppage at Athabasca University is looking very real now, as faculty have gathered together and started making picket signs in preparation. This means there are a lot of questions you probably have, questions about the effects this will have on you and your studies, what will be your student unions’ response, what the timing of this all might be and others. The truth is, we don’t know yet, but I’m hoping over the next week to be able to get a lot of answers and bring them to you.
The second issue is the recent changes announced in Ontario by Premier Doug Ford. These range from adjusting student finance in ways that are going to have an adverse effect on many students, particularly those dealing with lower incomes, as well as on the universities themselves, as forced tuition reductions are being brought in without any indications of some sort of backfill funding to make up for the loss of cash. In addition, other changes will make it so that vital checks and balances, such as student newspapers and media, or even entire student unions, may be in danger of losing funding, preventing them from operating and from advocating for student issues such as lower tuition, preventing them from keeping a watch on government and university actions and raising the alarms when those actions could adversely affect a lot of students.
Again, what kind of effects will this have on AU, being an Alberta institution that operates in Ontario? Probably very little, although the effects it will have on the students in Ontario is significant, and again something I’m hoping to bring more information to you about over the next few weeks. To do that well, though, I need help from you, to dig into these issues, particularly from an Athabasca University student point of view. If these changes concern you, if you’ve got an opinion about them, let me know. This is something we all need to be talking about, even if we’re not from Ontario, because now that precedent has been set, it can easily travel.
So if you have thoughts on these issues, questions you think need to be asked, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can be sure to try to get them answered for you. In the meantime, as always, enjoy the read!