Minister’s Student Advisory Council Update
In September 2016, the Premier directed the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development to “establish a permanent Minister’s Student Advisory Council with students from all parts of the post-secondary education system and regions of the province.” We soon learned that the intention of the Ministry was to give one seat each to the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (of which the UTSU is a member), the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, and the College Student Alliance. This was cause for concern. We have long criticized the CFS for failing to advocate for the needs of students in professional programs, who pay higher fees (examples of professional programs at U of T include law, medicine, engineering, computer science, and Rotman commerce). We therefore had reason to fear that professional students would not be properly represented on the Student Advisory Council. Fortunately, the Ministry was receptive to this concern.
We explained that U of T has the most professional students of any university in Ontario, and that the UTSU is the only undergraduate student government in the country with a dedicated Vice-President Professional Faculties. Today, in response to our Tuition Brief and Policy Proposal, the Minister herself offered the UTSU a seat on the Student Advisory Council, and we are honoured to accept. This is a victory for students, and especially for professional students, whose needs have long been overlooked by student organizations.
These meaningful relationships are how we make progress for students.