All Posts Tagged With: "social work"
College students who transfer to university do well
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
Kristy Normore, 23, grew up in L’Anse-au-Loup, Nfld., and was one of 16 in her high school’s graduating class. (L’Anse-au-Loup has a population of 600.) She left to attend Memorial University in St. John’s, but found it wasn’t for her. “Some of my classes had over 300 people,” she says. “I absolutely hated it. No one knew your name.” Formerly a straight-A student, Normore found her marks began to drop. After her first year, she went back home and spent the year planning her next move.
Intent on a career in social work, Normore enrolled at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) in Sydney, “one of the best decisions I ever made.” Classes had 30 people—tops. Tuition was cheaper. She got As again. After two years, diploma in hand, Normore transferred to Cape Breton University (CBU), right next to NSCC, into the bachelor of arts community studies (BACS) program. She graduated in June. Starting university the second time, she felt better prepared. “I was used to helping myself. I found it much easier.”
Elderly GLBTQ face safety risks and alienation
A grad student wants to try to give gay and lesbian retirees in British Columbia a comfortable place to spend their golden years.
Alex Sangha is trying to raise $25,000 dollars for a feasibility study for a retirement home catering to the gay community.
It’s part of his masters degree in social work at Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University.
Sangha, who is from Vancouver, says gays and lesbians often face and fear discrimination in retirement homes, forcing them to go back into the closet during their twilight years.
Wants $15,000 from Ryerson University
A master’s graduate has filed a complaint asking for $15,000 from Ryerson University because she says she was discriminated against for being a “Racialized Ethical Vegan.” Sinem Ketenci, a 37-year-old from Turkey, says that a senior professor at Ryerson disagreed with her comparison of maltreated animals with marginalized people, which caused another professor to withdraw his recommendation of her for a PhD in social work. “This systemic discrimination and harassment that silences marginalized minority peoples’ voices, such as me as a Racialized Ethical Vegan, is a serious threat towards freedom of speech and freedom of belief,” Ms. Ketenci wrote in her complaint to Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal, which will now decide whether the complaint should move ahead to mediation. It’s unclear what this has to do with race, but Ketenci told the National Post: “If I were white, born here, this case would not have happened.” Ryerson has not yet responded.
After weeks of protest, social work students will get full funding
York University backpedalled on its decision to reduce funding to graduate students in the Master’s of Social Program late last week. Just weeks ago, students were informed they would receive only $6,600 of $10,000 promised in their letters of acceptance. After weeks of protest, graduate studies dean Douglas M. Peers sent an email confirming that students would be awarded the full amount.
York originally told students that they must have misinterpreted their acceptance letters, and that they would only receive $6,600 during their second year of study because the year only consisted of two semesters. However, the acceptance letter (click here to view letter) does not contain any mention of prorated funding. The letter reads, “In recognition of your excellent academic record, York University will award you a minimum of $14,000 in Year One of your full-time master’s study, and $10,000 in Year Two of your full-time master’s study, in the form of a tuition scholarship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship or graduate assistantship.”
In his email to students, Dr. Peers wrote that “normally the funding is prorated for students registered in five-term programs.” But because of the lack of clarity in the admission letters, he wrote, the Faculty of Graduate Studies would make an exception for master’s of social work students and award them $10,000.
“I am very happy that York has decided to honour our funding package,” says master’s of social work student Erinn Michele Treff. “It’s unfortunate that it had to come this far—petition, letter writing campaign, legal advice, and an article in Maclean’s—however, I can buy books and groceries again.”
Students allege awarding less funding than promised is a breach of contract
Erinn Michèle Treff had an A average when she applied to graduate programs in social work. Not surprisingly, she was accepted by four of the five universities she applied to. In considering her options, one university stood out: York University, which offered her significantly more funding than any other program.
“I don’t have a lot of money and I already have a significant OSAP loan,” Treff says, “so when I was offered a funding package for $14,000 first year and $10,000 second year, it seemed like a no-brainer.”
So imagine her surprise when a few weeks into her second year, rumours circulated that social work students wouldn’t receive their full funding package. Treff emailed her department head asking for clarification, but received no response. A few days later the rumours became reality when a meeting was called: the students must have misinterpreted their acceptance letters, the university said, and they would only be paid $6,600 because the second year only consists of two semesters instead of three.
With the surprise cut to the funding she expected, Treff doesn’t know how she will afford to get through the year. After paying tuition she, like other students affected, is left with about $2,000 for everything else. She doesn’t have time for an extra job because she is already working the equivalent of two part-time jobs as part of her program: as a graduate assistant at York (for which she is paid with the funding package York rolled back) and as an unpaid intern at the Ministry of the Attorney General. The result? She hasn’t yet bought any books because she can’t afford them.
“I was absolutely livid,” Treff says, who added that she had planned to apply for two PHD programs at York. “When this happened, I shredded my applications.” In an online petition started by Treff, her anger is mirrored by over 300 students and sympathizers who have signed in the past six days.
“The university admin should be ashamed,” one commenter Cameron Campbell wrote. “I will not be donating any money to the University when I become an alumni over actions such as this,” pledged Graham Potts. “My family will also be doing the same.”
The anger seems not only in response to this series of events, but attached to resentment that has been simmering under the surface since last year’s strike, which kept 45,000 students out of class for three months. “I will never let any of my family members ever to go to York. First the strike and now this?” wrote Arvinder Singh, adding his voice to a number of petitioners who interpreted the strike and this move as a sign that the university mistreats students.
Treff says that although the strike was horrible, she understood it was necessary and didn’t hold a grudge. “Having our promised money taken away is another story.” She blames the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the administration of the university—not her specific program. “I love my professors and I love my program,” she says. “But it’s such a shame to have such a wonderful program dirtied. It’s embarrassing.”
York University did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails before deadline.
Treff was “dumbfounded” when she was told students misunderstood funding levels promised in their acceptance letters. Other students echoed this sentiment. “There was no letter misinterpretation of any kind. Bottle [sic] line is a contract was breached and we deserve our PROMISED money!!” wrote petitioner Josie DiPlacito. Treff agrees that the acceptance letter constitutes a written contract, and she alleges that York is breaching that contract.
From viewing one of the relevant acceptance letters, it’s easy to understand the students’ frustration. The letter, signed by the dean and associate vice-president of the Faculty of Graduate Studies Dr. Douglas M. Peers, reads, “In recognition of your excellent academic record, York University will award you a minimum of $14,000 in Year One of your full-time master’s study, and at least $10,000 in Year Two of your full-time study, in the form of a tuition scholarship, teaching assistantship, research assistantship, or graduate assistantship.” There is no mention of funding being subject to the number of semesters in each year.
Students also lamented the decision because they have already informed the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) that they would receive $10,000 in funding this academic year, so they don’t qualify for student loans. “I am not eligible for OSAP becasue OSAP believes I will be recieving $10,000 of funding that was in my contract [sic],” wrote petitioner Amanda Rose. “I can no longer continue to pay my rent, food and necessities on my VISA!”
In addition to the online petition, social work students and sympathizers have launched a letter writing campaign. As of the evening of October 20, there had been no response from the Faculty of Graduate Studies. But in an email that summarized an October 20 meeting with students and administration in the faculty of social work, a student wrote that it appeared that the social work administration “has taken a turn and is now supporting us.” However, whether the funding is restored is up to administration in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Both faculties will meet Monday, Oct. 26 to discuss the situation.