News  News brief: SSMU consultations on higher education summit

SSMU has begun a campus-wide consultation process in preparation of the upcoming summit on higher education, planned by the provincial government for the spring.

SSMU VP External Robin Reid-Fraser has been meeting informally with faculty association executives, and plans to hold a series of strategic summits open to the entire University community in the upcoming weeks.

Reid-Fraser has also been in talks with the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) about the upcoming summit they will be hosting in early December.

The provincial government has released few details regarding its summit’s program. At the last SSMU Council meeting, councillors outlined the themes they hoped would be addressed in their internal consultations, as well as at the summit itself.

These themes include tuition fees and alternatives, research, financial aid and student debt, university governance, the role of university in society, out-of-province and international student needs, anglophone students in Quebec, quality of education, and structural barriers to postsecondary education.

“After last year, it seemed like people were pretty divided around the strike and the hike, or there were people that didn’t seem to engage with that particular issue,” said Reid-Fraser. “So I’m hoping this will be a broad enough range of issues that there will be people that haven’t participated in the past.”

Following the consultation process, recommendations will be brought to Council and sent out to faculty associations for feedback. Reid-Fraser plans to submit a preliminary reflection document to the Table de concertation étudiante du Québec (TaCEQ) – the provincial student federation that represents SSMU members – by December.

“Relating to quality of education, classroom sizes seem to be of particular concern,” added Reid-Fraser. “I’ve already heard back from a couple of faculties that this is something they would like to see brought up.”